Child sexual abuse, is a form of abuse in which an adult or older adolescent engages a child (0-18) in sexual acts. This can occur in various forms e.g. child grooming, sexting, indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.), or using a child to produce child pornography.
It is refuting to think child sexual abuse doesn’t happen in our community. Sometimes, when people think about child abuse, they picture an old rickety man in an abandoned building signaling on a child by the road side to come take biscuit. This is a myth! Sexual abuse doesn’t to the less privileged children alone. Child sexual abuse can occur in a variety of settings, including home, school, and work. The perpetuators of this abuse are usually the caregivers (people we entrust children to; to protect and care for them) e.g. Fathers, Uncles, Aunties, House-helps, Teachers, Gatemen, neighbors etc. Statistics have shown that over 90 percent of sexually abused children are abused by someone known by the child or family. Other statistics of Child Sexual Abuse are:
1 in 4 girls and 1 in 10 boys in Nigeria experience sexual abuse before the age of 18years
Every afternoon, no less than 5,000 boys in Nigeria experience Sexual Violence
61% of boys in Nigeria who experience Childhood Sex Abuse do not know where to seek help
84% of girls in Nigeria who experience Childhood Sex Abuse do not know where to seek help
20 percent of childhood rape attempt occur in school
The effect of child sexual abuse is devastating as some can be short term some of which may include sleep disturbance, bed wetting, eating disorders. The long term effects are depression, low self-esteem, feelings of betrayal, abnormal view of sex, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, withdrawal, propensity to further victimization in adulthood, complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical injury to the child the list is endless.
A good number of people shy away from talking about child sexual abuse, perhaps we believe if we do not talk about it, it doesn’t exist or perhaps many cases has to deal with incest and we are afraid of bringing ‘shame’ to the family. Whatever the case may be we need to talk about it. We need to take report.
As active citizens we have a role to play in curbing child sexual abuse. It is our responsibility to ensure that every child in our environment is safe and free from child sexual abuse. It is our role to ensure that every child enjoy their childhood without been sexually abused.
How can we ensure this? We will be looking into this in our next series!