Although sexual harassment is not a completely new phenomenon, its prevalence and frequency has clearly increased in recent times, this dangerous phenomenon and its spread in our schools has become threatening the future and hopes of our children, as the human wolves destroy the innocence of our children without mercy. It happens to one of their children.
How can a family protect its child from this danger threatening him? What should it do to provide and activate this protection?
What is meant by sexual harassment of children:
Sexual harassment is defined as every excitement that a child is exposed to and is usually between two unequal people, where the child is attacked by a person in order to satisfy his sexual desires, and the child is in a state of inability to defend himself, which causes him to a state of terror and panic. The child also becomes ashamed of expressing and disclosing to his parents what happened, for fear of blaming him and reprimanding him, which further complicates the problem.
This danger faces the child at any time and every time he may be absent from the parental control. Perhaps this fact may startle many and think it exaggeration, but what has been proven by the real cases of children who have been subjected to this matter is that the matter is not fictional and the forms of harassment are varied and extend from hidden attempts to touch Boy or girls for sexual purposes, to reach direct sexual exploitation, to different degrees and for different periods. There are cases in which young boys and girls are forced to appear naked, or photographed naked, or forced to endure lustful gazes and signs that have implicit meanings, or they are touched and examined, and they are coerced into seeing pornographic images and demanding that they satisfy adult sexual desires.
What parents should do when they discover that a child has been molested:
The guardian in this case must understand and deal with the situation calmly, so the father and mother must act cautiously and maintain calm nerves, and not blame the child because he is in dire need of a sense of safety and psychological support. Working on the comfort of the child is the most important thing in these difficult times with psychological calm and a sense of confidence and strength and that the victim is able to accurately tell what happened with him. Its negative effects do not remain within it. Parents must also be careful in noticing the child, but without feeling that way, so that he is protected from any influences and noticing his behavior while trying to always distract him when he wanders off his mind and work to always keep him among his family members and prevent him from being alone. Parents should also not leave the criminal unpunished and present him to the competent authorities, because concealing this gives the criminal an opportunity and room to do it again with another child, and reporting on the aggressor is an important part in the improvement of the child’s psychological state when he thinks that the criminal has received his due punishment for His crime. Parents should help the child to overcome this stage by practicing types of activities or hobbies that are useful or that the child loves, in order to distract him from thinking about what he has been exposed to.
How to know if a child is harassed:
A child who has been subjected to sexual harassment suffers from several symptoms and indicators that warn parents that their child has fallen victim to an assault by one of them, and here it is important to pay attention to and know her, especially as we know that children rarely disclose what they were exposed to by speaking, but there are behavioral, psychological and physical indicators that explain to parents what happened to their child.
Behavioral and psychological indicators:
Rejection of parental feelings and discomfort.
Sleep disturbance and frequent bad dreams and nightmares.
Insist on keeping the lights on during sleep.
Finger sucking or urination while sleeping.
Strong attachment to parents and fear of moving away from one of them.
Fear of anything, anxiety and straying.
Change in the child’s personality and behaviors.
Lack of trust in others.
Unjustified emotions and outbursts of anger.
Extreme sadness and crying.
Jealousy and selfishness
Torn and bloody clothes.
Sensation of pain.
The emergence of some venereal diseases.
Hence, emphasis should be placed on these indicators that indicate that a child has been subjected to sexual assault, and these indications should never be ignored.
What the family should do to prevent child harassment:
This issue should not be a source of anxiety and panic for families, as the danger, even if close to our children, can be avoided and fought and eliminated by adopting preventive methods to protect our children. The most important thing we start with to protect our children is sex education from an early age, by:
Teaching the child the difference between a correct touch and an incorrect touch.
Teaching the child the privacy of his body parts. Talking about these topics with the child should be automatic and take place in conversations between the child and his parents through which the body parts are explained and then touched on the genitals of his body indirectly and that these organs belong to him alone and should not be exposed to anyone. We explain to the child that the correct touch is the one that does not cause pain, and it is the one that can happen, for example, when the mother changes clothes or the father greets the child or accepts him, and that the correct touch is for the hands, shoulders, arms and without the need to reveal any other part of the body. It is also important for the child to learn that his body parts should not be touched or seen by anyone but himself, and that he also learns how to maintain health and cleanliness in dealing with him. This is when the child is about two years old.
The preventive method develops in educating children from harassment with their reaching the age of six, as they should be taught the necessity of distress in the event of an assault by anyone and inform the parents immediately in the event of any abnormal behavior by anyone, and instill personal strength and self-confidence because it is difficult to be a strong and confident child. He himself is vulnerable to sexual harassment, unlike a weak child who needs doses of self-confidence. It is very necessary at this age for a strong friendship to exist that binds the child to his parents because of the sense of security that protects the child from many problems and opens up a space for dialogue and does not allow the existence of secrets between them.