It is disappointing to look at the increasing number of child sexual harassment cases, every day. Did you know that violence against children of under 18 years old, especially of sexual nature, occurs in countries at all levels of development? This means, it’s a universal problem and indicates how we, as adults, have completely failed children.
When children go through these traumatic events, it impacts them for life. Most of the times they end up living with trauma, suffering in silence and unable to share their feelings with anyone. But do you know what is worse? With most child sexual abuse cases, there is always a risk of further revictimization, either with the repetition of what originally happened, or any other form of abuse.
Unlike what most people imagine, revictimization is not always abuse. In fact, at times, even when you mean well, you could be contributing to revictimization without even being aware of it. So, before we discuss the strategies to break the cycle of child sexual abuse, we first need to understand what exactly revictimization is and how we may be contributing to it.
Revictimization; What It Is and How You Contribute To It
To put it simply, revictimization is experiencing abuse more than once. People of all ages can suffer from revictimization, but children may have the highest rate of repeat occurrences mostly because they are vulnerable. So how does, revictimization happen? Here are some of the way, you as a family member, can be revictimizing your own child:
Minimizing Their Abuse
If you are minimizing abuse or completely denying it to distance yourself and the child away from reality, you might be contributing to revictimization.
Refusing to Listen
Refusing to listen to your child when they try to talk to about their experience is also a form of revictimization.
If you or any other family member has started leaving the child sexual abuse victim out of family events and gatherings, they will feel lonely and blame themselves for what happened.
How to Prevent Revictimization?
It is never too late to make a difference. If you know a child who has suffered sexual abuse and want to protect them from revictimization, here are a few important strategies to work on:
Minimize Opportunity for Abusers
As a parent or guardian of a child sexual abuse victim, you need to make sure that your child is in a safe environment. Most abusers often target children in isolation and are people you trust the most, like your family or friends. So, avoid leaving your children alone with anyone.
Sometimes, when a child is being revictimized, the signs could be obvious. You could look out for any evident behavioral or emotional changes, or even physical ones. While physical signs may be easy to detect, emotional ones can be complicated. A child may not always show how they feel inside, which is why you need to establish trust and communicate openly so that they can discuss what is going on with them.
A sexually abused child is extremely vulnerable, so make sure that when you speak to them, you are kind and empowering. Teach them that it’s okay to not do something they don’t like, even if an adult asks them to do it. Give your children the right to make decisions about whether they want to physically engage with someone, i.e. hug or kiss them.
Get Involve With an Organization
The problem is bigger than one child; there are thousands of children who face sexual abuse on a daily basis. If you want to stop child abuse and break the cycle, you need to look for a greater solution. Volunteer with an organization or make donations to provide prevention education to children and their parents as well as survivor care.
If you want your child to overcome the trauma of abuse and start a fresh life, you need to make sure that there is no risk of revictimization. The above strategies will help you with that.
Are you looking for professional help for a child sexual abuse victim? Sanaa’s Stars is a charitable organization that has a mission to combat child sexual abuse and make a positive impact on the lives of vulnerable children. So get in touch with us and help us in our mission to heal all child abuse victims.