When innocence and security are stolen from a child, they can never be returned. Even more damaging is the reality that most children are abused by someone they know who has regular access to them; many perpetrators are close family acquaintances such as babysitters, neighbors, and family friends, and more than a third of offenses are committed by family members themselves. Countless cases go unreported because these children remain embroiled in confusion, fear, and shame.
Signs of sexual abuse vary according to age and can be hard to pin down. Strong indicators include sexual knowledge that is developmentally inappropriate, which can manifest itself via inadvertent comments, sexual aggression towards younger or more naive peers, explicit drawings, and sexualized play behavior with toys.
Prevention is the best cure, and all adults have a responsibility to watch for signs of possible sexual abuse in their families, communities, and workplaces.
Pledge today to learn more about the realities of child sexual abuse. Educate your children, keep your eyes open, and support professional intervention programs. Your awareness could help rescue a child from this nightmare and give them the normal childhood they deserve.
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