The abuse of minors (children, adolescents) can be noticed in various and different forms that can affect them causing physical, social, mental and emotional consequences on their life. At the same time, it shatters the right to live with safety in a protected environment that can give and receive love and respect. According to the World Health Organization, sexual child violence is about the child's participation in sexual intercourse for which there is lacking of conscious understanding of the concept and content of the act. Sexual violence is considered among the most serious social problems, occurring against any person, regardless gender, age, race at any place, at any time.
More specifically, there are many consequences to the life and to the personality of the child depending on the age and on the stage development of the child. At the pre-school age we can notice anxiety, lack of sleep that can affect negatively the daily life of the child and a sexual attitude that it does not suit with the age. During the school life, they characterized by emotions of fear, aggression, they have often nightmares and sometimes they present learning disabilities and hyperactivity. This is happening also because they are afraid of speaking to someone and they do not know how to express the situation in which they are and they do not know how to react.
So, what can we do to avoid this unwanted situation? First of all, we have to recognize the signs and the symptoms of the sexual violence against children. Even though there are specific forms and attitudes of this phenomenon, maybe someone can notice the combination of them, according to the child’s personality. Usually, the most appropriate people who can do this or they are the first that could notice that’s something goes wrong, are the parents and the teachers. That’s because spend a lot of time during the day together. Second, the parents have to support their children and to spend time together as a family. The most important thing is to talk and to discuss about the problems that might have.
It’s essential that the recipient of the violence has to be provided by psychological support. Psychotherapy is very important, especially in such cases, because children who are the “victims” tend to have a lack of confidence and support from their environment. By this way, the person that receives the psychological support will have a better relationship both with him/herself and with the other people.
More information and awareness of relevant issues is needed at least for teachers, physicians and professionals in general who may be in contact with people involved in abuse situations.
Finally, each of us can help to avoid sexual violence incidents with a simple way of not ignoring violent situations and report them to someone expert or to a competent body.
Ιστογραφία – Sources
This article has been written by Vasilis Tsalos about the project React Act Prevent Sexual Violence, which is co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union. The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.