My son disclosed child sexual abuse to me (his mom) at the age of nine. The abuser was a “friend” and colleague of my husband. Our family was quickly thrown into a world that was not familiar to us. Here are some things I learned that I didn’t want to know:
- Those who abuse children are not strangers. It’s someone you know. And trust.
- Child sexual abuse is devastating to the child and their family.
- There is no typical way for a child to respond to the trauma they’ve experienced. Every day can be a new adventure.
- Healing is a journey; you are often taking two steps forward and one step backward. And repeating the process over and over and over.
- There are many people who do not understand what child sexual abuse is and how it impacts the victim. You become an educator. Or maybe you don’t have the time or energy to accept that role. And that’s OK.
- Victims and families feel isolated because we don’t talk about child sexual abuse. The stigma is there and it’s real.
- Being the parent of a child who is abused is overwhelming. There are so many questions, so much self-doubt, guilt, and anger. The grief over what has been lost can be all consuming.
- Suddenly you become an advocate for your child in a system that is unfamiliar. Advocacy is a long tern commitment because the system often moves slowly.
- You do find support and information from Child Advocacy Centers and advocates along the way that empowers you to advocate for your child and all children.
- There is an award-winning child sexual abuse prevention education program from Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children, that trains adults to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to sexual abuse. My desire for you is that you learn all the above before you need it! Take the training. Protect your child.
The good news is that there is hope and healing. Together we can end child sexual abuse. www.D2L.org.
Darkness to Light