Sexually abused child usually finds it difficult to talk about the abuse. Possible indicators of sexual abuse include observable evidence of physical distress to the private parts and the mouth, genital bleeding, pregnancy and complaints of discomfort of the private parts. A professional medical practitioner during physical examination is able of noticing such symptoms. However, most incidences of sexual abuse lack physical indicators. It becomes difficult for the medical examinations to produce positive results which would provide a solid corroboration of the claim of sexual abuse.
In most cases, victims of sexual assault show certain behavioral and emotional changes that may suggest distress. The existence of these characteristics does not automatically point out occurrence of sexual abuse. The explanations from the children are always made to trusted friends and older people such as therapists, teachers and pastors. The reaction of the people to whom the disclosure of sexual abuse is given has the effect of significantly shaping the way the abused child would adjust to the abuse.
A shocking or emotional response would impact negatively on the child’s ability to adapt to the devastating effects of the abuse. Most children often put blames of sexual abuse on themselves. Therefore, the response should indicate that the abuse is not a child’s fault and appreciate the child’s disclosure of the information. It is therefore important to prepare the abused child for the repercussions of the disclosure. For instance, if the disclosure of the information is made to a reporter, it is critical to notify the law enforcement agencies.
Conversely, if the disclosure is made to a non-offending parent, then necessary steps must be taken by the parent to prevent any further abuse including notify relevant authorities. For instance, in Texas, failure by non-offending parents to report cases of sexual abuse makes them liable for charges against sexual abuse (Faulkner, 1996). Effects of sexual abuse The effects of sexual abuse on minor children are so severe and devastating.
Since most children are sexually assaulted by those people who are close to them and should trust, they are not able to recognize whether the abuse is inappropriate which is not their fault is. Children who are sexually abused always tend to report feeling that there is something amiss with them, blame themselves for the abuse arguing that the abuse occur as a result of their fault Most of them experience dismissal of their sexual accounts because the adults fail to acknowledge the occurrence of the abuse.
As a consequence, the victims may feel embarrassed, shameful, and isolated (Faulkner, 1996). Due to such reasoning most of them suppress sexual abuses they consider shameful until a later stage in life. The effects of sexual abuse remain powerful over a long period of time. Among the long term effects of sexual abuses include reduced self-esteem, lack of trust for others, feeling of depression and stigma and drug abuse (Finkelhor & Browne, 1986). Several research studies have reported cases of sexual abuse among adult females prior to reaching the age of 12.
Most of these females conceded that the sexual abuse they suffered during their childhood had negative effects on their completion and performance in secondary school, lack of trust for others, depression, lack of sleep and eating disorders (Hughes, et al. , 1998). These findings reinforces the results of other research studies indicating a clear connection between the past history of sexual abuse during childhood and the high rates of depression, eating disorders and anxiety in adult life (Mullen & Fleming, 1998). The most common type of sexual abuse is incest and negatively affects family relationships.
This can be further made complex by the reactions of the members of the family during the child’s development life. For instance, the abused child may be blamed by the survivor siblings because of the strong belief of the denial by the perpetrator or because of the damage the report has caused to the family. In circumstances where the abused child blames the female parent for doing nothing to stop the abuse despite having adequate knowledge, the child might completely lose trust in the parents (Sheinberg & Fraenkel, 1998).