Most of the time, children bear the brunt of abuse. Statistics show that abuse (whether physical, sexual or psychological) does not come from strangers, but more often from people that children know. Studies show that 65% of child molestation or incest come from homes where there are more than 6 or people inhabiting the same household, live below the poverty line, and share a communal room with either the father, foster father, and brothers or cousins. Children are very trusting and innocent, that most abusers prey on it. And they are oftentimes led to believe, or threatened by the predator, that they do not report the abuses done to them. And it is because of this that they repress the bad experiences. Repressing this, however, manifests in other forms. Here’s how to spot the signs of abuse:
- Nightmares of monsters – children’s experiences are more animated than that of adults; which is why when they have bad dreams, the perpetrator is sometimes referred to as monsters or bad creatures. When children have these recurrent nightmares, it could mean that the child is having a repressed experience, or is experiencing some trauma due to an unwanted experience.
- Increased clinginess, or the need to be beside one or both parents – Children who have been molested, or are being physically abused, will tend to gravitate towards the other parent who is more nurturing and loving; and will avoid being near or be afraid of the person who is abusing him/her.
- Unusual sexual behavior for a child’s age – Oftentimes, children who have been molested, will tend to associate that “touching”, or “caressing” is a form of affection, and will somehow manifest this towards persons of the opposite sex.
- Withdrawal symptoms or extreme sexual overtures towards the opposite sex – Children who have usually been cheerful and bubbly, but become morose and withdrawn or quiet in a matter of days is something to be concerned about. They either become very irritated when touched, or approached by members of the opposite sex; or too inquisitive and adventurous for their age in terms of sexuality.