When faced a case of child sexual abuse, the first thing to do is to report it
Child sexual abuse is an increasing problem affecting children under the age of 18 around the world. Global figures for this type of abuse are alarming, reaching millions only in Latin American countries.
Such situations can cause a great deal of damage to a child’s growth and development, so in most cases psychological care and therapy is required to help overcome the traumas that such situations can leave behind.
A major concern about child sexual abuse cases around the world is the fact that most victims remain silent, either because they do not want to talk about it with an adult for fear of how they will react, or because they are threatened by the abuser.
As per the report “Hidden in Plain Sight” published in 2014 by the United Nations Children’s Fund, known by the acronym Unicef, an estimated of 120 million girls under the age of 20, at a global level, have suffered from an episode of sexual abuse in their lives.
This means that 1 in 10 girls in the world have been abused at least once during their childhood. Given these figures, it is critical to know how to respond to a case of violence against a child, in order to contribute to the fight against child sexual abuse.
Why is it important to report child abuse cases?
A large number of cases of child sexual violence and abuse around the world have remained hidden for a long time, due to the fear and sense of shame that victims may have about speaking out about the situations of abuse they have suffered.
Further, in most cases, perpetrators often threaten victims with retaliation if they ever mention anything about the act of abuse they are committing.
It should be noted that silence in the face of this type of situation only benefits the aggressors and most of the time contributes to the fact that this crime continues to be committed, causing the number of victims to grow more and more.
As parents, it is important to always be attentive to any type of sign that indicates a possible case of sexual abuse in a child and to talk to the victim about what happened, and then file the corresponding report with the competent authorities.
The case of the U.S. gymnasts is an example of how speaking out is important.
In one of the most recognized cases of child sexual abuse worldwide in recent years, Larry Nassar, a former U.S. national gymnastics team doctor, was accused in September 2016 by a group of gymnasts of committing lewd acts against them under the pretext of providing medical care.
Since then, there have been more than 256 women who have reported having been victims of child sexual abuse by Larry Nassar, among them well-known U.S. sports stars such as Olympic medalists Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles.
After this scandal came to light thanks to victim reporting, Larry Nassar pleaded guilty in July 2017 to charges of child sexual assault, and is currently serving a life sentence.
Furthermore, last Monday, December 13, it was announced that victims of the former doctor will receive $380 million as compensation for the pain and suffering caused by Larry Nassar’s actions, thus ending the 5-year legal battle against the former doctor who also was a child molester.
Don’t stay silent. Speak out and be part of the change
Regardless of the age under which the events occurred, if you were a victim of a sexual abuse case, reporting is always the first step to get justice in this type of situation, regardless of who the perpetrator was and the family relationship he may have had with the victim.
The best ally of an abuser is silence. Do you have any experience to share? Share it with the #YoDigoNoMas movement and be part of the change. Join this movement so that together we can raise our voices against child sexual abuse.