The term generally used for the person who is sexually attracted to children is a pedophile. The person who sexually abuses children may be an adult, adolescent, or even a child. Mostly, we equate abusers with males. However, females can be predators too.
The abuser can be anyone, but research shows that in most cases, the abuser is related to the child — a relative or someone they know.
It is very difficult to find out about child sexual abuse or offer any kind of support because in 90% of the cases, an abuser is a trustworthy person who is a part of the family.
Statistics show that:
Those who molest children are regular, ordinary people; just like all of us, they look ordinary and act like other people. The abuser can be found in families, schools, churches, recreation centers, or any other place where it’s easier to groom a child. They can be anyone, from neighbors to family members.
Age plays an important role in who the abuser is and if there is a relationship between the abuser and the abused. It has been observed that the younger the victim, the more likely it is for the abuser to be a family member.
Generally, we fear that a child can be abused by a stranger while teaching them about the same. “Don’t take candy from strangers”, “Don’t get in a car with a stranger” is what we often tell them. We are always taught to be careful with strangers, but who knows there are ‘strangers’ in our own houses ready to pounce on the innocent souls.
We ignore the most common child sexual assault situations, danger from none other than the people we trust. A child prepared to steer clear from strangers is not prepared to cope with advances from family members and friends, as they don’t know how to react to the situation. This can leave them confused about realising the mishappening before it’s too late.
It’s never too late to act on a situation and make it right, for it might not make an impact today, but it will yield benefit in the future. It’s important to teach children about safe and unsafe touch, teach them to build a circle of trust, and be vocal to the people within the trust circle while teaching them preventive measures to help them become their own heroes. It’s important to teach them about this vital topic to protect them because only when they’re aware, they dare!
If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.