Child sexual abuse knows no race, creed, gender or socioeconomic status. Children from any background could be victimized. According to the nonprofit advocacy group Darkness to Light, 1 in 10 people are sexually abused before they turn 18. That includes 1 in 7 girls, and 1 in 25 boys.
One of the reasons child sexual abuse is so rampant is because it’s often so hard to recognize. There are signs to look for when it comes to sexual abuse, but they can often go unnoticed, especially if the victim is going through puberty and is already experiencing emotional and behavioral changes. However, sudden changes in mood or behavior should never be ignored. Even if they aren’t linked to sexual abuse, they could be linked to other serious issues.
While it’s impossible to prevent sexual abuse on a grand scale, there are steps you can take to protect your child. It starts with knowing the facts about sexual abuse.Who’s Most Likely to Be Victimized?
As we mentioned before, young girls are much more likely to be sexually abused than young boys. However, any child can be victimized. There are other risk factors besides gender that can increase a child’s risk of being sexually abused:
Perpetrators of child sexual abuse come from every background. There is no specific profile to watch out for. What many people don’t know is that children themselves are often the perpetrators. There are some common factors when it comes to sexual abusers:
In addition to adult perpetrators, 40 percent of victims are abused by an older or more powerful child.
Family and trusted individuals who sexually abuse children have reported they look for passive, quiet, troubled, lonely children from broken or single-parent homes. Moreover, perpetrators often look for trusting children, then build a relationship with them (and often their family) before abusing them.Can Children Be Protected from Sexual Abuse?
It’s the sad, unfortunate truth that all children are at risk for being sexually abused.But there are actions parents can take to lessen the risk, according to nonprofit advocacy group RAINN.
The most important thing parents can do is to be involved in their child’s life. This can help you more easily detect when something seems off with them. It can also help you identify certain risk factors while preventing others. For instance:
Parents should also empower their children to speak up. Let them know you take their opinions and experiences seriously, and they can always talk to you if something is wrong. Here are a few tips about encouraging your child to speak up: