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Sexual abuse of children is a heinous crime. Victims of child sexual abuse are often left with long-lasting trauma that affects them both physically and mentally. What many people do not realize is that around 90% of children who are victims of sexual abuse know their abuser. According to RAINN, around 34% of child sexual abusers are family members, while about 59% are other family acquaintances. While it does occur, strangers are rarely the perpetrators of child sexual abuse.
As a parent or guardian, you need to be careful of which adults you allow in your child’s life. There are various signs you should be aware of that could indicate possible sexual abuse attempts.
Does an adult in your child’s life do the following? If they do, you may have alarm bells going off:
Does an adult in your child’s life do any of the following?
The following are inappropriate and are signs an adult may be grooming a child:
As a parent or guardian in your child’s life, you need to be aware of which adults have access to them and how any time is spent between them and other adults. You cannot be with your children every moment of their day. That is why we depend on other adults in our child’s life to care for and protect them, such as school teachers, youth sports coaches, clergy members, and other mentors. However, as we mentioned above, perpetrators of child sexual abuse are usually known by the child and the child’s family.
Be aware of any of the above signs, as they could be grooming behaviors designed to slowly move your child to a sexual relationship. You should also be aware that these behaviors could be displayed by other adults in your own family. Each year, child protective services throughout the U.S. report that many perpetrators of child sexual abuse are parents, other relatives, or siblings. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse can be men or women.
Finally, make sure your child knows that they can tell you anything and they will not be blamed. Have open conversations with your child about appropriate adult behavior, including areas of their body that are off-limits to everyone.