Child sexual abuse is a pervasive issue that transcends community, demographic, and social class boundaries. It has spread rapidly across the globe, necessitating the collective responsibility of every individual to combat it. Families, communities, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) all share an equal responsibility to ensure the protection of children at all times.
Unfortunately, despite the gravity of this issue in recent years, many societies allocate insufficient resources and effort towards meeting the needs of children and creating safe environments for them. This lack of action stems from a combination of a lack of will and capacity within communities to prevent and respond to child abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Consequently, children continue to suffer the consequences.
However, it is never too late to make a change. Take a moment to observe your surroundings—do you see children who have endured sexual abuse? Are you willing to extend your help and contribute to the creation of a society that is safe and secure for them? Together, as a society, we can take a stand against child sexual abuse and demonstrate community engagement to empower survivors and their families.
Speak Against the Root Cause
To combat any issue at a societal level, we first need to understand the root cause of it and talk about it openly, instead of brushing it under the carpet. The root cause of child sexual abuse is neglect, influence of the abuser over the child, prevent child abuse and the child’s vulnerability. Many children, who are abused, are neglected by their families and want to be loved and unfortunately, end up thinking that the offender is the only person they have close to love. This influences them in such a way that most children never confess about what is going on with them, because they don’t want to cause any trouble. As a society, it is our responsibility to address this neglect and show love to children, more openly.
Have Zero Tolerance
Abusers are encouraged when their behavior is tolerated and not spoken about. It is important that we establish policies of zero tolerance for child sexual abuse, so that no abuser gets away easily. It must be ensured that everyone upholds to these policies and that there are no exceptions.
Educate About the Signs
Most children are too scared to share what they are experiencing with their parents or people they trust, which is why many cases go unnoticed and unreported until years pass. To change that, we need to educate people about the signs of sexual abuse within children. This needs to be done, both at an individual level as well as a societal level, so that families, caregivers, teachers etc. can identify when a child is experiencing sexual abuse.
While physical signs are easier to identify, it’s difficult to pick on emotional and behavioral changes, as most children react to sexual abuse differently. They can either get anxious, suffer from withdrawal or depression, show unexplained anger, rebellion or act ‘too perfect’.
Support Prevention Programs
Too often, we wait for the abuse to happen before we take an action. If we want to make a real difference, we need to cater to this problem, before it even occurs. The best way to do this is by supporting prevention programs that work to stop child sexual abuse with the help of family counselling, sex education, teaching consent and boundaries etc.
Helping child victims is not just the responsibility of their families, it is in fact, the duty of the entire society to stand up for them and fight against this crime. If you, too, want to make a difference, educate yourself, examine your behavior and work together to create a safe space where children can thrive. Are you looking for professional help? Get in touch with Sana’s Stars; a charitable organization with a mission to combat child sexual abuse. Our team aims to create a safe, comfortable and healing environment for child sexual abuse survivors, so that they can have bright future ahead.