Child sexual abuse is a very traumatic event to endure. There will be many questions that both children and their parents will have.
If your child has been sexually abused, they will experience many different emotions. Some of these include:
Fear of Punishment
Fear of retaliation
Shame or humiliation
Relief that they told
Fear of losing love
Over the course of the investigation, parents my feel many different emotions as well. They may also have many different thoughts and reactions. These feelings are natural. Some of the common emotions that are experienced are:
|Sense of failure
Many times, children do not first report abuse to their parents. Many parents feel hurt if this happens and start to doubt their parenting skills. Do not allow your anger or hurt to get into the way of future communication with your child. There are many reasons children do not tell their parents. Oftentimes, children are afraid that their parents will overreact, so the child will try to protect their parents by not telling them. Sometimes children do not want to burden their parents. They may be afraid that their parents will not believe them, especially if the alleged abuser is a close relative or friend of the family.
One major challenge that you and your family will face is what to say to others about the abuse. If there is no publicity about the case, you will be able to tell only who you wish to tell. If you feel close to your family, you will probably want to discuss it with them because abuse can affect the entire family. It is important to remember that the reactions you get from relatives and friends will be different. If you know they will react in a negative or hostile way, then you may decide not to tell them. It is important to protect your child's privacy, but be careful not to make the abuse a "dirty secret" because this may cause more shame for your child.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you talk to others:
The protection of your child's privacy is extremely important.
You don't "owe it" to anyone to explain what has happened.
Your child has the right to know whom you have told.
You have the right to ask people you tell not to duscuss this topic with others.
Having responses in mind can help you feel more comfortable when the topic of abuse comes up.
It can be helpful to give your child responses that he/she can use if someone else brings up the molestation.
It is okay to firm, abrupt, or even rude to help people understand how important your child's privacy is.