Abuse is something that is extremely uncomfortable for most people to talk about. Particularly when it comes to children.
Physical signs of sexual abuse are rare as well so detecting it can be hard unless you are very observant.
Lois is a survivor of Child Sexual Abuse. Her situation was unimaginable in that it was not only her father that was the perpetrator, but he was a Preacher. Her journey was a rough one and after being completely shattered by the experience she was forced to separate herself from her entire family and move away.
Abuse like this is far reaching in its damage as it not only destroys the relationship of the parent and child but also strains all the other relationships in the family. After her bold move to separate herself from harm’s way, Lois went through bouts of depression but eventually found the courage to reach out to new friends, share her story and eventually find healing. Her ability to find a support system that she could speak freely to was instrumental in her progress.
Sometimes it is people like Lois who have experienced so much that are able to give so much back later on. After years of healing, Lois’ Journey took her to new heights. She is now a Hospital Response Worker for the Niagara Region Sexual Assault Centre. Her passion is helping others and her firsthand experience in dealing with sexual abuse has equipped her with the understanding of dealing with clients.
Her advice to the world is: when you experience sexual abuse, NEVER stay quiet. Reach out to family, friends and caring professionals. Lois says, “It’s not your fault and you should not feel shame because these are circsumstances that were out of your control.”
Thank you Lois for sharing your inspiring story of surviving childhood sexual abuse. God bless you as you continue your Journey in helping others. Take the first step… BELIEVE
Warning signs in children and adolescents of possible child sexual abuse
Children often show us rather than tell us that something is upsetting them. There may be many reasons for changes in their behaviours, but if we notice a combination of worrying signs it may be time to call for help or advice.
What to watch out for in children:
- Acting out in an inappropriate way with toys or objects
- Nightmares, sleeping problems
- Becoming withdrawn or very clingy
- Becoming unusually secretive
- Sudden unexplained personality changes, mood swings and seeming insecure
- Regressing to younger behaviours, e.g. bedwetting
- Unaccountable fear of particular places or people
- Outburst of anger
- Changes in eating habits
- New adult words for body parts and no obvious source
- Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts
- Self-harm (cutting, burning or other harmful activities)
- Physical signs, such as, unexplained soreness or bruises Running away
- Not wanting to be alone with a particular child or young person
Signs that an adult may be using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons
The signs that an adult is using their relationship with a child for sexual reasons may not be obvious. We may feel uncomfortable about the way they play with the child, or seem always to be favouring them and creating reasons for them to be alone. There may be cause for concern about the behaviour of an adult or young person if they:
- Refuse to allow a child sufficient privacy or to make their own decisions on personal matters.
- Insist on physical affection such as kissing, hugging or wrestling even when the child clearly does not want it.
- Are overly interested in the sexual development of a child or teenager.
- Insist on time alone with a child with no interruptions.
- Spend most of their spare time with children and have little interest in spending time with people their own age.
- Regularly offer to baby-sit children for free or take children on overnight outings alone.
- Buy children expensive gifts or give them money for no apparent reason.
- Frequently walk in on children/teenagers in the bathroom.
- Treat a particular child as a favourite, making them feel ‘special’ compared with others in the family.
- Pick on a particular child.
- Niagara Sexual Assault Crisis Line 905-682-4584
ADDED SOURCE: Parent Protect
Permission granted to use this story by Lois in the hopes of helping others.