Resources for Parents of Survivors
Parents — There is help and support
As a parent, you have an important role in helping your child recover from sexual abuse. Contrary to popular belief, sexual abuse is not a rare occurrence nor is it confined to any one social class, ethnic group or religious background. It can occur in any family and it happens more than we would like to think.
You may wonder what are the special needs of my sexually abused child and will you be able to meet those needs. What about you? You are not only the parent but the secondary victim and your feelings are real and common in parents of child abuse victims.
The following information takes a brief look at the child sexual abuse’s definition, what your child may be feeling, how you can help and the feeling you may have as the parent/guardian. This may be a difficult experience but there are many resources in our community to help through this crisis.
Links to Topics:
Child sexual abuse is any forced or tricked sexual contact by an adult or older child with a child. Usually the adult or older child is in a position of power or authority over the child. Physical force is generally not used, since there is usually a trusting relationship between the adult or older child and the child who is abused.
There are various types of sexual activity which may take place. They can include open mouth kissing, touching, fondling, manipulation of the genitals, anus or breasts with fingers, lips, tongue or with an object. It may include intercourse. Children may not have been touched themselves but may have been forced to perform sexual acts on an adult or older child. Sometimes children are forced or tricked into disrobing for photography or are made to have sexual contact with other children while adults watch.
Siblings who are aware of a brother or sister's victimization, but are not actually abused themselves, may also suffer many of the same effects as an abused child.
Helping your child recover from abuse:
As a parent, your role is to help your child and yourself through this difficult experience. Your role in helping your child recover is crucial. They will need your ongoing support, belief and protection. It will help if you:
The most important message to get across to your child is that you do not blame them for the abuse.
Look after yourself
This is a very difficult time and you need to take care of yourself so that you can cope and be there to help your child. It may help if you:
Know your feelings are normal. Some of the feelings include:
These feelings are common in parents of child abuse victims. You may ask yourself, “How did I not know?” You may have been home or out, it would not have mattered. If the offender is intent on abusing a child, they will find the time to do it.
Where to get help
Things to remember