A lot of cases of child sexual abuse would have been prevented if victims spoke out early and such suspects were apprehended, investigated and punished for their crimes. The following are some of the common reasons victims gave for not speaking early:
1. They blame them selves. They think if they have kept out of the way of such persons, they would not have become victims.
2. Inaccessibility of Parents. Discomfort in speaking about such matters with parents or not having avenue to communicate with parents on such intimate matters can inhibit disclosure of such incidents.
3. Victims may have been pacified with gifts in order not to talk. In a case where the child may want to talk, the molester may have told the child that nobody would believe him/her.
4. Fear of being blamed. A child out of immaturity may have the inordinate fear that the victim is closely associated with the family and as such, he/she would be blamed for damaging the family relationship as a result of the disclosure.
5. Fear of being punished. A child may think he/she tempted the molester; therefore he/she is the bad person that should be punished.
6. Disbelief on the part of parents. A child may feel his/her parents would accuse him/her of lying against a family friend.
7. Threat of what the child abuser will do to them. Typically, child abusers issue threats to their victims in case they disclose their actions to anyone.
8. Fear of being accused of breaking the marriage of their parents in cases of intrafamilial child abuse. Children may think disclosure may breakup the family irretrievably.
9. The fear of a sibling being sexually abused if they do not consent. Some children feel since they consented to the abuse to protect their sibling from being abused, there is no point reporting the matter.
10. Ignorance of the difference between “appropriate and inappropriate touch and play”. This could cause delay in reporting and over time, the child feels reporting may not serve any purpose.
11. The absence of any adult other than their parents whom they can tell their true feelings or who can help them out in their situation. A child needs an adult whom he/she can talk to on such matters if for any reason he/she cannot disclose the matter to his/her parents.
12. A relationship of trust or intimidation with the abuser may prevent the victim from talking about it. The child might think he/she is betraying a friend when he/she makes a disclosure.
13. Stigmatization and social isolation that might follow disclosure of molestation. Thoughts of being laughed at or being the butt of jokes by peers can inhibit a child from making a disclosure.
14. Guilt. Overwhelming guilt that such a thing happened in the first instance can have a paralyzing effect on the victim and prevent him/her from reporting the matter.
15. Fear of what would happen to a “friend” turned molester can prevent a victim from reporting the child molester. A molester when convicted of the crime of sexual abuse usually would end up in jail
This article was written by Dr Francis Edo Olotu, Physician, Family Counselor, Author, Conference Speaker and host of the Blog Empowering Dads. Visit http://www.empoweringdads.wordpress.com for a rich diversity of articles on family and health issues.
Dr Francis Edo Olotu is the Medical Director of Christ Hospital, Ondo. He is also a family counselor who regularly counsels married persons and administers pre-marriage counseling to couples about to marry in his home church of St John Bosco Catholic Church Ondo. He is a frequently featured speaker in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He is married to Catherine and their marriage is blessed with four children in the age bracket of twelve to twenty two. Dr Olotu is the author of the following books: The Amazing Power in Fatherhood; Releasing the Power in Fatherhood as well as Your Guide to Cancer Prevention.