parents warn their children about talking to strangers or accepting
sweets from strangers,
but force the child to say hello to a shopkeeper or the neighbor,
who is also a stranger to him. This leaves the child extremely confused.
Further, often a parent will even force the child to kiss an aunt
he has never seen before, thereby teaching the child that it is
alright for adults to force their attention on him. The child also
learns that her body is not her own and she does not have the right
to say no.
75% of abuse cases involve relatives or servants or neighbours
or a person known to the child.
You may believe that something like sexual abuse could not happen
to your child. Certainly such abuse should not happen to any child.
However, as in all matters of safety, constant vigilance and prevention
are the best guarantees :-
Don't avoid the issue by believeing it couldn't happen to your
child. Confront the facts and find the right ways to protect your
leave an infant alone with anyone unless a parent or grandparent
is with her. Remember she can't talk so you have to be extra cautious.
Keep checking on the maid.
demand or force a child to show physical affection in the form
of kisses to you or anyone else. He must know that he has the
right to say no.
time to listen properly to your children especially when they
make any remarks about servants, grown ups and older children.
Always believe and trust what your child tells you.
engage a maid without reliable references.
engage a man servant to look after a little girl or even a little
boy for that matter.
let a change in behaviour such as a reluctance to be with a particular
person, pass without finding out the reason.
your children plenty of hugs and kisses. Lots of genuine loving
can help a child to distinguish between that and a false kind.
time with your children getting to know about their day, their
perceptions of people and situations - not through question and
answer but through casual sharing.
a safety list - a list of safe people to ask for help from, a
list of safe houses to go to, a list of safe telephone numbers
contingency plans with the school (if you can't reach in time
to pick the child up) .
rely on devices or supervision alone, to keep your child safe.
Teach them the skills they need so that they are able to look
after themselves. Start early.
what if games (what would you do if a monkey came to the door?
Ans. If you don't know the monkey don't let him in!) & build
up to serious hypothetical what if discussions.
your children to:-
Avoid going anywhere with anybody (however well known) without
coming to tell you or your spouse.
not talk. If a stranger speak to her, she should pretend she
hasn't heard and must keep walking.
to answer the door on his own.
to play in deserted or dark places.
to go out alone after dark.
Never accept money, sweets or a gift without your knowing.
go with anyone who says Mummy or Papa sent them to bring her
home, without checking on the phone first. You could also
set up a secret family code word to be used in such situations
and the child must not reveal that word to anyone. In case
of emergency she is to go only with the person who knows the
to keep secrets of a kiss, hug or touch even if an older person
asks him to.
anyone tries to touch or kiss her in a way she doesn't like,
promise her that you won't get angry if she says 'No' as loudly
as she can.
a child that her body belongs to her. Follow this up with
giving her choices in food, Clothes, etc so as to make
her feel that she has a right to her own judgement and
of abuse you should watch for
redness or soreness in the genital area
sudden occupation with their own body especially the
sudden change in behaviour.
disinclination to stay with a person sudden or otherwise.
tendency towards nightmares.
you think some signs are applicable
get professional help. Talk to your paediatrician and contact
a child psychologist for
help. For a list of helplines manned by professionals click
keep quiet or suppress such incidents, however well you
may know the abuser. It could scar your child for life.