Sexual Abuse

There has been an increase in the rate of sexual abuse cases all over the world to a percentage of 29% from 2010 and there are a lot of agencies and organizations that exist to help the abused victim get help and keep living.

This article is targeted at all you need to know about sexual abuse, the forms, the signs to watch out for, the way out, and help to prevent it, even though sexual abuse can not be prevented.

What is sexual abuse?

Sexual abuse or assault is any type of sexual activity that aims majorly at using force to perpetrate sexual activity or taking advantage of another person sexually, it's also called molestation. It also involves any behavior towards a child to stimulate or involve them sexually by an adult or older person.

Sexual assault can be visual or even verbal, it could also be a force that makes someone join in unwanted sexual activity, attention, or contact. Examples of these include;

• Unwanted inappropriate touching 

• Vaginal, oral or anal penetration 

• Child molestation 

• Rape and attempted rape

• Voyeurism (when someone watches sexual acts that are deemed private)

• Exhibitionism (when someone exposes himself or herself in a public setting)

• Sexual harassment 

• Incest (sexual activity or contact between family members)

Sexual assault or abuse isn't limited to only strangers in an isolated place, it could happen with someone you know on a date or even in your house.

Rape is a very common form of sexual abuse and it is committed in many situations by both random people and people that the victim is familiar with. Educate yourself constantly on date rape and the drugs that are used to incapacitate the victim. When you go out no matter where you are you must ensure you're cautious and aware of your surroundings. It's not advisable to leave your drink unattended when you go out or you're on a date. Some date rape drugs even make the victim lose their memory of what happened and so they can't give a correct account of the incident.

It's important that know that any form of violence against women is wrong either you're in a relationship with the abuser or he's your ex, you might even be married to the person or they may be a stranger. You must understand whatever happens you're not at fault. You didn't cause the abuse or violence, it's not your responsibility that they chose to abuse you.

Some signs that may show that you've been sexually abused or violated most especially in children are included below:

• Pain or itching in the genital area

• Bruises or bleeding in the vagina

• Venereal disease

• Loss of appetite 

• Sleep disturbances and nightmares 

• Persistent stomach aches with no identified reasons

• Torn or stained underwear or clothes 

• Frequent genital or urinary tract irritations

Behavioral issues and signs are

• Increase in physical complaints

• Fear of some certain people around 

• Fear of getting to sleep or disturbed sleeping patterns 

• Regression to infantile behaviors like thumb-sucking or bed-wetting

• Masturbation

• Weird abnormal interest in sexual matters inappropriate for the child’s age

• Sexual activities with toys or among other children, for example wanting to have sex with dolls or wanting other children to behave sexually

• Using new words to identify private body parts

• Refusing to talk about a ‘secret’ they have with somebody else.

Emotional signs

• Unexplained fear or dislike of some people 

• Depression or withdrawal from people

• Sudden or gradual lack of confidence

• Sudden mood swings: rage, fear, anger, etc.

The above are signs to look out for especially with children, when you notice consistent signs listed, spend time with them to know if someone has assaulted or abused them sexually.

Getting help for sexual assault

If you know someone or you've been sexually abused, it's not bad to seek help and forget about the stigma that comes with it.

You can take these steps you've been sexually assaulted

• Find a way to get away from the abuser to a safe place as fast as you can. After then, you can call your parents or the police as the case may be.

• You can also call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. The feelings of fear, guilt, shame, and shock are normal in this situation. It is important to get counseling from a certified and trusted professional.

• This may be hard to do but do not wash or clean any part of your body. You may not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence to prove that the assault happened, if possible do not change anything at the scene of the assault.

• Go to the nearest hospital to you as soon as possible. There will be a need for you to be examined and treated for any injuries, then tested for the possible transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). The doctor will collect evidence from your body using a rape kit for hairs, saliva, semen, or any means of identification that the attacker may have left behind.

• After all, you or the hospital staff can call the police to file a report of the assault. You can also ask the hospital staff about the available support groups you can attend for help.

• You can help someone who is abused or who has been assaulted by listening to them and giving comfort even though you may not truly understand how they feel.

• You may be required to go with her or him to the police or the hospital, or counseling. Be there to remind them that it is not their fault, that it is natural to feel angry, fearful, guilty, and ashamed, and that they can come out of it.

• You may try to prevent sexual abuse or assault by being conscious and taking necessary precautions even though it is around someone you should feel safe with it. Regardless of what happens, the victim is not to be blamed and they shouldn't be treated as the cause of the abuse.

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