WITH the recent disclosure by the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR) that child sex abuse cases have increased by 40 per cent, parents are advised to pay special attention to their children, listen to them and ask questions where doubts exist.
From January to June last year 1,968 cases of sexual abuse were reported against children younger than 16 years. Of this number, 1,808 were girls and 155 boys. Fifty seven cases of buggery were reported, 196 rapes, 193 were fondled, 55 cases of incest, 61 children were forced into oral sex and 10 cases of exhibitionism reported.
Studies have shown that the impact of sexual abuse can range from no noticeable effects to very severe ones. Typically, children who experience the most serious types of abuse —abuse involving family members and high degrees of physical and sexual force — exhibit behavioural problems ranging from separation anxiety to chronic depression. This can result in children being distracted in school, becoming withdrawn and even suicidal.
Survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings. These may include feelings of fear, guilt, shame, low self-esteem or self-hatred, sleep disturbance, lack of trust for anyone and sexuality or intimacy issues.