If there is something I feel quite strongly about, it is about childhood abuse and any kind of sexual abuse really.
I just can’t fathom in my mind how you could hurt a little child as young as age 0. It actually sickens me to the core that someone would gain sexual pleasure from doing something so vile.
And it’s getting worse.
Here are some facts:
– A report of child abuse is made every ten seconds
– Approximately 5 children die every day because of child abuse.
– 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused before they reach age 18.
– 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way. 68 percent are abused by a family member.
– Most children become victims of abuse and neglect at 18 months or younger.
-In 2010, 1,537 children died of abuse or neglect.
79.4 percent were under the age of 4.
47.7 percent were under the age of 1.
-Boys (48.5 percent) and girls (51.2 percent) become victims at nearly the same rate.
-3.6 million cases of child abuse are reported every year in the U.S. And the number of children involved in these reports is 6 million.
– Abused and neglected children are 11 times more likely to engage in criminal behavior as an adult.
– About 80 percent of 21-year-olds who were abused as children met criteria for at least one psychological disorder.
– 14 percent of all men and 36 percent of all women in prison were abused as children.
-Abused children are less likely to practice safe sex, putting them at greater risk for STDs. They’re also 25 percent more likely to experience teen pregnancy.
Pretty shocking right? The thing that gets me the most, is that these abusers are more often than not close relatives or family friends.
I was abused as a child myself from age 7 to 11 by not just a close family friend but multiple other people. It’s something I have struggled with for nearly 2 decades, and I have gone through all the motions that most victims go through. Perhaps I still am not over it completely yet. One of the first things that I learned early on was to lie convincingly and to hide it from my parents as I was told something bad would happen if I did tell of ‘our little secret’. My parents never realized anything was wrong until I told them at the age of 19, when my abuser died of a fatal car crash.
I was, for so many years, certain that I had done something wrong, that I had deserved what I had gotten. And I am not alone in this. Almost all victims feel this way and are made to feel this way by their abusers. Not to mention the damage it does for future relationships.
I was abused at a time of my childhood where I was going through so much shit that my mind was only set to ‘survive’. My 16 year old sister had ran away from home pregnant, leaving the family home in chaos. Parents fighting until the early hours of the night. Throw in some genderdysphoria. In hindsight, I can understand why my parents didn’t see what was happening to me. Perhaps they attributed my excessive weight gain to the former turbulent years. Or perhaps I was just a super good actor from an early age. Whatever it was, it has haunted me even to this day. I used to think that I walked away relatively mildly damaged because I suppressed it so hard to the point where I experienced regular black outs daily. It was the only way of coping. Now I can see that it has majorly fucked me up.
Depression, lack of self-esteem, fear of sex, nightmares, trust and abandonment issues, eating disorder (overeating to the point of excessive weight gain),severe mood swings and outbursts of anger. Oh and did I mention I actually am pretty good at lying my ass off? All these things combined have wrecked havoc on my life for quite a long time but thankfully I have been able to overcome a lot of them. However, I have done most of my therapy myself. Because of my trust issues I was never able to see a therapist, thus I never really have spoken in depth about my abuse. I recognize that this was a much harder road to go on than if I had been offered help. By the time I came out with the ‘secret’, I was too old to be forced to see anybody. I am positive my parents would’ve dragged me to a therapist had they known earlier.
So parents, please look for these signs & symptoms:
– Acting out in an inappropriate sexual way with toys or objects
– Nightmares, sleeping problems
– Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
– Becoming unusually secretive
– Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
– Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
– Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
– Outburst of anger
– Changes in eating habits
– New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
– Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
-Self-mutilation (cutting or burning) in adolescents
– Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises around genitals or mouth, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy
– Running away
– Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Any one sign doesn’t mean that a child was or is being sexually abused, but the presence of several suggests that you should begin to ask questions and consider seeking help.
As I mentioned earlier, my main abuser died when I was 19, so in a way I feel that he deserved what he got as cold as that may sound. I never got the chance to confront him for what he did and I am not even sure if I would’ve been able to.
Thankfully I’ve had some very special people in my life who’ve been with me to help me work through the trauma. I love them to death for that.For example; my girlfriend wasn’t able to touch my neck for the longest time, because it would trigger some serious panic attacks.
I am not trying to gain any sympathy, I am simply trying to help other victims by speaking out and letting people know that this is a much bigger problem than you might think. And it is growing by the minute.
My advice is, if you think you see abuse signs or symptoms, to not wait for ‘proof’ because it might already be too late. Children don’t tend to lie and they cannot beat this thing by themselves. They need YOUR help. You as a parent or relative are supposed to protect them.
So please pay attention and don’t wait for ‘proof’.