Tips for family around sexual abuse

0022Family support is needed

Unfortunately family’s don’t always support a child when it starts to talk about sexual abuse, even if the abuser isn’t part of your family. It’s uncomfortable to discuss, suppose the neighbours find out… Besides, as long as you keep everything hush-hush they, as parents, sisters,brothers etc., you don’t have to own your own part in this. It’s hard to believe parents or siblings never noticed anything, when abuse happened right in your own home, isn’t it?

But as a familymember how can you tell?

Until recently we didn’t even know sexual abuse existed. Yes, it was some vague bad thing that happened somewhere very far away. The man with the candy on the playground that you warn your kids about. Nowadays we know this is not the case. It’s fairly accurate to say that every family knows someone who is or has been sexually abused. So time to wake up!

Family: Here’s a few tips:

  • Sudden behavioral changes in your child (regression, agression, becoming quiet)
  • Opportunity: Who spends time with your child, including familymembers since about half of all the abusers are familymembers of the victim
  • Who has a special bond with your child.
  • Who has a more than passing interest in your child
  • How does someone react to stories about sexual abuse in the media
  • How does someone react to the law?

Not every one is suspect

Of course this doesn’t mean that everybody spending a little time with your child is automatically an abuser. It’s good to be aware, though, who is actually spending time with your child. Monitor and check people out.

Abused by a familymember

The man who abused me regularly scorned the law in presence of my family. He also appeared to have a special interrest in me. He wasn’t a familymember in the true sense of the word, but he became part of inner circle. He was a trusted adult who had easy access. He repeatedly abused me in my own home, his mother’s house and later on in the house he shared with his wife. He got and created plenty of opportunity.

Did my family know or suspect?

I think, but I’m not absolutely sure since I was in the middle of this, that my family must have suspected something was going on. Nobody ever acted on those suspicions though. Nobody ever asked me. I went from being an obedient child to a completely unmanageable teenager overnight. Nobody took action. Nobody even questioned the fact a 35 year old man showed that much interest in a 12 year old girl. Everyone allowed this to go on for years.

I dare you to be aware

I don’t know if things improved much, since the media got involved somewhat regularly. I fear we still close our eyes, pretend this will never happen to our children, instead of taking appropriate measures to protect them. The truth is too uncomfortable. The truth hurts too much.

That doesn’t make the truth any less true.

I double dare you

The child you save may be your own.