If You Think That Your Child Has Been Abused:
- Believe the child. Children rarely lie about sexual abuse.
- Praise the child for telling you.
- If the assault occurred within the past 5-7 days, it is worthwhile to take your child to the emergency room. If the assault was longer ago than that, contact the authorities and wait to find out what sort of medical attention might be necessary.
- Show your support for the child. A child’s greatest fear is that he or she is at fault. Eliminating this self-blame is very important.
- Remember your child assumes your reaction to the abuse is about them. Children do not understand your anger, rage, fear, and other emotions about what happened as not being about them. Your greatest challenge may be to not convey your own horror about the abuse.
- Do not go to the person accused or suspected to talk about your concern. Instead, report the concern immediately to a social service agency or the police.
- Remember that taking action is critical!! If nothing is done, other children will continue to be at risk and your child will continue to be hurt. Child sexual abuse is a community interest and concern.
- Stay calm!! If you are angry and in a rage, the child most likely will think you are angry with them, no matter what you tell them.
- Finally, do not blame yourself! Sexual abuse is a fact in our society. Many individuals who molest children find work and community activities that give them access to children. The vast majority of abuse occurs in situations where the child knows and trusts the adult.
Remember— a community and national consciousness is needed before we can stamp out sexual molestation in our society. Not talking about it openly and frequently allows it to continue!