One in five children under the age of 17 will be sexually abused, according to the World Health Organization. And, above all, it should be noted that only 2% of victims will tell their mother or father that something is happening at the moment it happens. This is what Carolay Alvarado, founder of Mamisalva, activist and victim of child abuse: “This means that only that percentage of children will ask for help at that moment and will be able to be rescued.” “And this must be emphasized, because when we talk about communication ties, this statistical data makes it clear to us that these ties are not being entirely solid in the family,” he adds. And parents can have the tools to prevent these horrible events. A terrible fact that the expert wanted to highlight this Tuesday, June 1, which is World Fathers and Mothers Day. This day was decreed by the United Nations General Assembly, with the aim of paying tribute to the great work and responsibility that parents have in the upbringing and education of their children, who represent the future of humanity.
How to realize that our child is being sexually abused
“First of all, we have to take into account the specific, physical indicators that we can observe, in the vast majority of cases, when abuse is happening. in situ, at the specific moment ”, emphasizes the expert. “We are talking about bruises, redness in the genital area, all these characteristics that are altered and that as a mother or father they have to call our attention and make us turn on the alarm to ask for help and go to the pediatrician. When this happens, that is when that 2% will be helped ”, he adds.
As Alvarado maintains, many times we overlook certain indicators and when we want to ask for help, those specific signs are no longer there: “I always say that parents must become faithful observers of everything that happens to our children. Being super dependent and although it seems very obvious, the statistical data of 2% makes us see that this is not really the case. That many times the rush, and all the hustle and bustle that we carry from day to day, make certain things go to the background ”.
As for the psychological behaviors of children who suffer sexual abuse, the most striking thing is that they will change completely, they will make a very striking change in their behavior: “It depends on the child, some will become more introverted, more shy, others more aggressive. The important thing here is to understand that children are going to make a drastic change in behavior. Being faithful observers will make us realize what happens at school, what happens where I leave him when I cannot take care of him ”.
Educating parents to prevent sexual abuse
Currently, it is necessary for parents to be educated in the field of child abuse because we have had this topic as a taboo for a long time, according to Alvarado: “And it is important that we know that we have to do a job of raising awareness. That it exists. Know that more than 85% of the abusers are in the family and close environment of the child. That it can touch us and that we must work calmly and naturally, without paranoia, without living in a constant state of alert, in which our fears are passed on to the minor ”.
The goal is to get prevention to avoid abuse. “All fathers and mothers, especially women, have an innate protective instinct from the time our child is born, all of them, and this has been silenced by society, by the environment that tells them how they should protect or raise children. This instinct is silenced. And many times we get carried away, ”Alvarado emphasizes. “Many times, in order to empower our children, it is necessary for the mother to be truly empowered. Society must be reeducated. What is clear is that you cannot empower something that you have not previously empowered. How do I give my child tools if I don’t have them? How did he talk about love, self-respect, autonomy, if I depend pathologically on others? ”, Continues the expert.
A healthy, empowered and strong mother will help her child. “If you have done all that work, it is not necessary to instill it, the boy acts as a mother, the girl imitates, it is natural. On the other hand, if the mother is full of fears, complexes, the child also imitates and also takes that part naturally ”. “Conscious parenting consists of becoming aware as parents, first of what all of us have absorbed during our childhood. We have all had a childhood scenario that could have been better or worse. And this has led us to be the type of parent we are today, ”says Alvarado. “If we see something that is preventing us from giving presence, or empowering our children, we have the obligation to go back to the beginning, to that childhood scenario, and become aware of it and name it. For example, if your father was authoritarian, if your mother abandoned you emotionally, and know that maybe that has affected us, ”he says.
And, as he maintains, when we become aware and repair it, we are moving towards a conscious parenting: “With the percentage of mothers who have been abused in childhood, we have a responsibility and an obligation to go to heal that, at our own pace. If we don’t, we won’t be able to protect our children. ” “You have to do it first for you, but if you don’t have the strength because you think that doing so can destroy your world, you have to have the strength to do it for them, for your children, and for those who will come after them. This is the turning point at which child abuse is cut, not only sexual abuse at home, but also that which can occur at school, in their friends’ environment, anywhere ”, concludes the expert.