Protection of our children from the risks of sexual and physical violation is a topic which needs to be discussed more openly. Protection of young children is the number one priority of any society.
April has been designated as National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The aim of this month is to create widespread awareness about sexual abuse, assault, and educate our neighbors, schools, friends and families about how we can keep our youth safe from such risks.
There have been rising cases of sexual assaults in children. Such sexual violence at such an impressionable and young age can lead to children experiencing physical, emotional, sexual trauma later on in their life. This is a trauma which can affect a child at many different levels all throughout their childhood as well as into their adulthood.
Initially, prevention was aimed at empowering and educating children to protect them from any kind of abuse. However with the passing of different laws and the practice of National Child Abuse Prevention Month, the responsibility has now shifted to the community.
It is believed that children are most vulnerable to sexual attacks by people they are most close to. This includes neighbors, friends, and even relatives (parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, cousins, etc). This fact is a difficult pill for many families and parents to swallow.
Responsible adults need to be aware of this and ensure that children are under their supervision at most times. Adults should watch out for certain behaviors from when adults are with children, which includes respect for personal space, boundaries, and rights of children, even animals.
Adults should watch for warning signs and keep appropriate boundaries. Parents should be in open discussion with their children about these issues and look out for any signs like depression or sexually aggressive behavior in children that may indicate towards the child experiencing some form of sexual abuse.
Child Abuse Prevention Month also focuses on children who have been a victim of sexual violence and teaches how support from a caring adult and with the help of high-quality treatment, children and parents can effectively recover and feel strong in the aftermath of a traumatic experience.
Many adults who have experienced abuse in their youth recall that not only was their abuse traumatically impacting them, but HOW their parents and guardians responded to the abuse that affected them just as much, if not greater.
There are numerous organizations that observe National Child Abuse Prevention Month and offer different resources to help educate families and communities about the profound impact of sexual violence on children and their families.
EMDR is the most renowned therapeutic treatment for trauma and PTSD, but other therapies such as play therapy and sand tray can be beneficial as well.
Find a local therapist here.