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Child sexual abuse is a serious and widespread problem. An estimated one in 10 children is sexually abused before their 18th birthday. Many more incidents go unreported.
Sadly, the abuser is usually someone a child knows and trusts. As many as 93 percent of child sexual abuse survivors know the abuser. Abusers may be family members, relatives, teachers, coaches or instructors, caretakers and others, often in positions of authority.
What else should parents know about child sexual abuse?
The damage abusers inflict is utterly devastating. Without treatment, a child who has suffered prolonged sexual abuse usually develops low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and a distorted view of sexual and romantic relationships, among other physical and mental health issues. Child sexual abuse exploits and degrades children, and it must end.
How can you protect your child from sexual abuse? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) offers tips:
All children deserve to feel safe and protected as they grow up. As parents, we need to be vigilant about protecting our children from sexual abuse. They deserve a childhood. We need to do everything in our power to guard it.
Care Center for sexually abused children, teens, special needs adults
Since 1991, the Care Center at Edward Hospital has provided medical care in a calm and caring environment for children, teens and special needs adults who are known or suspected to have been sexually abused. Our compassionate and knowledgeable staff uses a warm and empowering approach to restore your child’s sense of dignity and well-being. For more information or to make a referral to the Care Center, please call 630-527-3288. Learn more about the Care Center.
To talk to someone anonymously, call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 800-4-A-CHILD (422-4453), anytime, 24/7.
If a friend says they were sexually assaulted, start with “I believe you.”
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