Recognizing The Signs Of Sexual Abuse In Children & What To Do
Tyomi: At what point should a parent seek out help and how does a parent go about finding a doctor or therapist to meet their child’s needs?
Lee Beers, MD: I always recommend seeking help sooner rather than later because these are tough issues and parents shouldn’t feel like they are on their own, so if a parent is worried they should seek help. If they have a concern and they have the conversation with their child and their concern is not alleviated, then they should seek help. They can talk to their pediatrician…that is a great first stop. They can talk to their child’s guidance counselor at school or professionals at the school…that’s another great place. Starting with someone the family knows and feels comfortable with and can have these initial conversations with is the perfect first stop. And if further evaluation or further therapy is needed then those professionals can help those families go where they need to go for help.
Tyomi: If a child has been hurt by someone close to him or her, how can a parent go about separating that relationship?
Lee Beers, MD: This is where a parent or a family really needs to work with professionals because every situation is different. Some can actually be fairly dangerous, and so I think that is where really engaging with the professionals who are involved in the case and in the situation especially with law enforcement if law enforcement needs to be brought in, child and family services if they are involved and really just being involved with professionals because each situation is so different and families shouldn’t be expected to figure that out on their own. They should be able to rely on professionals that have expertise in this area.
Tyomi: What are the statistics on how well adults who have experienced childhood sexual abuse function and behave if treatment was sought early on in childhood?
Lee Beers, MD: Again it varies on the situation, but in general a very accurate statement is that the earlier concerns and issues are identified the better. And when concerns or issues are identified the response is really important. So the child feeling like they are supported and relieved and not blamed all of those things are important for improving long-term outcomes. Even if the child seems to be handling it okay I always encourage therapy because these are difficult, complex issues and therapists can work together with the child and the family to work through it. But in general the earlier the better for outcome and the more supportive the response to the child the better.
For more information on how to handle sexual abuse in children and to find sources to help with this issue, visit the National Children’s Advocacy Center at www.Calio.com.
Glamazon Tyomi is a freelance writer, model and sex educator with a deeply rooted passion for spreading the message of sex positivity and encouraging the masses to embrace their sexuality. Her website, www.sexperttyomi.com, reaches internationally as a source for advice and information for the sexually active/curious. Follow her on Twitter at @glamazontyomi and the all-new “Glamazon Tyomi’s Sex Academy” radio show here.