“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?” Hebrews 13:5-6
Sexual abuse is a very degrading transgression against the purity of a young child. Sadly, many young girls under the age of 5 years are sexually abused by people they trust, including dads. Child Sexual Abuse is similar to emotional and verbal abuse in that the abuser forces control through dominance. Child Sexual Abuse includes a wide range of activities involving contact and non-contact activities. According to Medscape Reference some contact activities involved in child sexual abuse include "sexualized kissing, fondling, masturbation, and digital and/or object penetration of the vagina and/or anus, as well as oral-genital, genital-genital, and anal-genital contact. Noncontact activities include exhibitionism, inappropriate observation of child (eg, while the child is dressing, using the toilet, bathing), the production or viewing of pornography, or involvement of children in prostitution." Digital Commons at Providence College, Rhode Island, reports in a study aimed for educators to identify and report sexual abuse that preschool aged children can suffer from long term effects that include emotional and psychological behavioral problems; substance abuse behavior; and criminal behavior. The South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault organization says other long-term effects and short-term could include: Other Long-Term Effects
- trouble sleeping
- eating disorders
- depression and anxiety
- vulnerability; and
- social isolation
Short-Term Effects might include:
- aggression towards other children and animals;
- psychological effects such as isolation; fear; anger; sadness; flash backs; shame and guilt, responsibility; and betrayal
Being that sexual abuse is very shameful experience by nature, it often goes unreported like emotional/physical abuse especially in children under 5, because it can be hard to identify. A child is often not able to explain what happened; therefore, typically preschool age children are unable to testify in court. Restoration and healing is critical in the long-term, well-being of a sexually abused child. They need extra support, understanding, patience and love more often than usual from their parent or guardian. Here are some tips that can help through such a horrendous ordeal. Although the process may seem indescribable at times and painstaking difficult, a sexually abused child is able and can fully recover from the offense by the Authority in the Power of the Blood of Christ Jesus, Yeshua Ha'Mashiach, if one believes. Christ says, "with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10:27). By the Holy Spirit given to us, the PERFECT LOVE OF GOD is poured into our hearts. Hope in God is not hope that does not disappoint. (Romans 5.5) By grace we have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves; it is the gift of God. We are God's workmanship created in Christ "for good works which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them". (Ephesians 2:8,10) " "Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints…" Ephesians 6:13-18
Pray: Invite the Holy Spirit inside You, Your Child and Your Home
Father, according to Hebrews 4:16, we therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need, in the name of Christ Jesus.
Create a Comfortable and Trusting Atmosphere
"Sharing" is a term most often used in therapy with a child to make them feel comfortable about giving information. Because sexual abuse can make a child feel shameful and guilty, it can be very difficult to share the events as they unfolded. One of the most important things a parent or guardian can do is to not show any emotion. Showing emotion sends signals that can shut a child down and cause them not want to disclose anything else. A Negative emotions/remarks and facial expressions that show disapproval, anger, sadness, etc. can have adverse effect on a sexually abused child who may already feel responsible, fearful, anxiety, depression, etc. The best thing for the parent or guardian to do is stay calm when the child is "sharing". Listen and to praise the child for sharing information. Making the child feel good about sharing information. Giving them examples of how you've "shared" information with loved ones or friends will help make them feel more comfortable. What the child may "share" may be shocking; therefore, the parent or guardian must reserve feelings and refrain from showing them; this is imperative. The goal is to create a comfortable and trusting atmosphere for the child. Another way a parent or guardian can do this is by letting the child know how important it is to share things we may feel self-conscious about with someone we trust. "He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly." Proverbs 14:29 "…if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." 1 Corinthians 12:26
Don't Ask Questions: Listen
Always let the child talk whenever she/he is ready. Its not good to ask questions. Authorities may view it as the parent/guardian "suggesting" information and/or "leading" the child. This can be used against the parent/guardian in a possible court case. The parent/guardian's job is to comfort the child and make her/him feel safe at all times. It is a good for the parent/guardian to say such things to the child as "its ok to talk to mommy/name if and whenever you want to talk"; "sharing information with people we can trust is a good, because they care about you and can help you"; "when mommy want to talk she shares information with (name someone you both know and trust)"; "mommy loves you and cares about you very much". The point is the make assuring statements that comfort the child and that makes them feel like they can trust you. The parent/guardian must be calm; this helps the child to relax. Children watch everything parents/guardians do. They can react based upon body language and facial expressions. This is why it is extremely important for the parent/guardian to be cautious of their interpersonal relation with the child. Its best to almost appear as if everything is normal. This is hard to do with feelings of anger and hurt on the surface. However, the well-being of the child must come first. "If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless." James 1:26 "The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, But the mouth of fools pours forth foolishness." Proverbs 15:2
Keep a Log
Keeping a log of everything you can remember the child tells you is a good idea. List the date, the information shared and any emotion(s) the child expressed while sharing information. It could be helpful at a later date; but, it better to have it than not. "How much better to get wisdom than gold! And to get understanding is to be chosen rather than silver." Proverbs 16:16
Talk About "Inappropriate Touch"
Talk to the child about what "inappropriate touch" means. Explain that "good touches" are and what "bad touches" are on the body. Be gentle. Do not scare the child or the child can"clam up". Be sensitive in the way you explain this. Sometimes, abused children can withdraw for various reasons which may cause them to withhold information, because they are frightened. One way to explain "inappropriate touch" is to make a game out of it by using dolls to physical show which places on the body are not suitable for others and which places on the body are suitable to touch. "…love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you?" Matthew 5:44-46
Sing Gospel Songs Anointed with the Power of the Holy Spirit
Singing gospel songs that have an anointing from the Holy Spirit to the Father. They can be very much healing, joyful and comforting at a time the child needs it most as the words can uplift and encourage.
Tell Her/Him Positive Things
Saying positive things helps the child build belief in themselves within. Practice negating negative emotions the child may be holding inside. Everything bad the child may have heard or felt about her/himself will need to reconditioned. Positive feedback about good characteristics in the child or good behavior build and rebuilds self-confidence. You might say, "You are more than conqueror"; "You are an awesome child of God." ; "God loves you and so do I."; and "Jesus love you, because the Bible tells me so". "Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing." 1 Thessalonians 5:11 "And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching." Hebrews 10:24-25
Never let the child see you cry. This is a critical time for building and rebuilding. This can bring about stress in the child as she/he may become confused, frightened and worried. If the parent/guardian breaks down, the child could very well do the same for reasons other than their own that could end up compounding existing emotions. If you must, go into another room. Children often times follows the lead of the parent/guardian. In order to help the child through the experience the parent/guardian must be strong. Teach the child to rely on the Father. "The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalm 18:2
Seek Therapy for Her/Him
Time is of the essence when dealing with the nature of this type of unfortunate circumstance. The parent/guardian must be sure to use it efficiently. They should shop around for a therapist that best fits the comfort zone of the child and you. Take a little time to interview a few therapists before making a decision. This is a person the child will see over certain a period of time. This person is someone whom the child will build a relationship so she/he must feel comfortable with them enough to talk about their experience. Invite the Holy Spirit to guide you to the "right" therapist for the child. "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Possibly Seek Therapy for Yourself
If needed, it may be a good idea for the parent/guardian to seek therapy as well as the child. This experience effects everyone in the household. A good suggestion might be to start at church. Dealing with tragic situations is very painful. The parent/guardian needs time to heal as well. Trying to process what happened to your child can be difficult.
Speak the Word
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21
- According to Romans 8:37, (say name) am more than a conqueror through Him who loved me, in the name of Christ Jesus.
- According to John 3:16, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that (say name) believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life, in the name of Christ Jesus.
- According to John 3:17, God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that (say name) through Him might be saved., in the name of Christ Jesus.
- According to John 14:21, (say your name) who loves Christ Jesus will be loved the Father, and Christ Jesus will love (say name) and manifest His-self to (say your name).
- According to1 Corinthians 12:25, (say name) have the same love for all the members in the body of Christ, in the name of Christ Jesus.
References 1. Child Sexual Abuse: Background. Medscape reference. 2. Sexual Abuse in Preschool Aged Children: Teaching Childcare Professionals to Identify Signs and Symptoms. Providence College. 3.About Your Child: What are the effects of CSA?. The South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault.