On Child Abuse
While I was having a conversation with a mother whose child had been sexually abused, I started thinking about something which most of us neglect to address.
We talk and talk about child abuse prevention and how to support the victim when it happens. Most of them are too afraid to talk to anyone about it and many keep it a secret their whole lives. But when they do open up to their parents, do you ever wonder about how incredibly difficult it would be for them to hear that their child, who is deeply cared for and loved, had been hurt in such a way that it is not easy to get over it?
It will understandably take a tremendous effort for the child to talk about it, but imagine what the parents would be going through as well, as they sit there listening to their child relate how they have been violated. And in most cases, by someone that they trusted.
It can take a toll on them as parents. Shock, anger and sadness are just a few of the emotions they would be experiencing. It is important to understand that just like the victim needs emotional support and help to get through with the trauma, the parents will need it as well.
When their child comes up to them and tells them about being abused, it is imperative that they listen and believe the story. The child is depending on the parents for support. But how can they help if they do not take care of themselves first? It is vital that they work through their feelings and stay calm in order to attend to the child.
Dealing with the trauma and emotions can be time consuming and draining. It can take a lot of effort and energy but parents need to bear with it. Parents may need psychological help from family, friends and sometimes, professionals.
Why do we tend to overlook this matter? Simple. We are so focused on helping the child that we forget about the parents who might not be in the most stable state of mind after such a traumatic incident. It is up to us to understand how necessary it is that just as we work towards creating child abuse awareness, we should also work towards creating awareness among parents on how to react, accept and find self-help and strength to cope when their child has been abused.