Who Abuses Kids?
Sometimes strangers abuse kids, but, victims often know the person who is abusing them. That person can be almost anyone; a parent, a stepparent, an uncle or a babysitter. About 90% of the victims know their abuser.
An abuser can be a man or woman, an adult or a kid, someone the kid knows really well or hardly at all.
Abusing kids, or anyone for that matter, is just wrong. Being abused can make someone feel frightened, or worthless, or so worried that they can’t sleep, study, or play.
It is important to know that there is help out there for kids who are being abused!
Kids must learn how to tell if someone is being abused and what they can do about it.
What is Child Abuse?
Child abuse is when an adult hurts a child and it is not by accident.
There are four kinds of child abuse:
- Physical Abuse When an adult hurts you by hitting or beating you.
- Emotional Abuse When an adult says things that make you feel like a bad person.
- Neglect When an adult hurts you by keeping food, care, and shelter away from you.
- Sexual Abuse When an adult touches the private parts of your body. It also can happen if an adult tries to get you to take off your clothes or touches or kisses you in a way that scares you.
What is the Difference Between Safe and Unsafe Touching?
Some touching is friendly, loving or helpful such as hugging Mom or Dad, holding hands with a friend, play wrestling with your brother, or giving your sister a shoulder massage.
Some touching is not friendly or loving. Here are some examples of Unsafe Touches:
- Touches you when you do not want them to
- Touches you in a sexy way
- Touches you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, confused or scared.
Trust Your Feelings:
Listen carefully to what your body tells you about being touched.If you are unsure in anyway about SAFE and UNSAFE touching, talk to an adult that you trust.
How Can I Stop It?
The way to stop abuse is to talk about it. Child abuse is against the law. Even if the abuse only happens once or seems like it is over, it is important to tell someone you trust. Child abusers may tell kids that something bad will happen if they ever tell anyone. If the abuser is a family member, kids may be afraid the family will break apart if they tell the secret.
Remember, the way to stop abuse is to tell someone. You DO NOT have to keep it a secret!
Will Anyone Believe Me?
YES! There are adults who will believe you and who will help you. Some adults may not want to believe that you have been abused. If an adult tells you to forget about it, tell someone else. Keep Telling Until Someone Listens!
What Will Happen to the Abuser if I Tell?
A person who abuses children needs help. Most abusers need special counseling. If the abuser is someone in your family, you may see less of him or her for a while. The abuser may get the kind of help he or she needs to stop hurting children. Because child abuse is against the law, some abusers may go to jail.
There are some important things to remember if you are abused:
It’s Your Body
– No one has the right to touch you. You can say No.
Abuse Is Never Your Fault
– Even if you don’t say no, it is NEVER your fault.
Abused Always Hurts
– It can hurt your feelings or your body.
Keep Telling Until Someone Listens
– Even if the first person you tell doesn’t help you, someone will. Telling the right person is how to stop abuse.
What Happens Next Is Not Your Fault
– When you tell someone about the child abuse, things may be difficult for awhile, but the abuse will end and you and the abuser can both get help.
What if someone I know is being abused?
If a friend is being abused, you can help him or her decide which adult to tell. If you think a friend is being abused, but you’re not sure, talk with your parent or teacher. If a week goes by and no one does anything to help, tell another adult. Keep telling until your friend gets help. If you can’t get an adult to help, there are telephone hotlines you can call for help, any time of any day, that are free.
- Believe your friend.
- Offer support.
- Try not to appear shocked.
- Encourage them to tell an adult they trust.
- Don’t keep it to yourself – tell a trusted adult.
- Help your friend to keep on telling until they are safe.
How can we prevent this?
Don’t ever put children in a position for this to happen. Many instances occur in isolated events. Try choosing group settings with adults and children.
One-on-one contact with a trusted adult is healthy for a child, so drop in on your child and a trusted adult so they both know you are advocating for their safety.
Ask questions if you are a parent or an adult. Give your child many opportunities to tell you!