Detect Early Signs of Sexual Assault to Children

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UNAIR NEWS – Based on the Indonesian Child Protection Commission (KPAI), about 60-80% of sexual assaults happened to children was committed by their close associates. It was based on children behavior which is easy to be influenced or manipulated. The sexual assault usually done by giving them presents or stuff which the children like.

“From the data, we know that people who should provide safety to children did otherwise instead. There is a strange pattern of relations,” said Margaretha Rehulina, S.Psi., P.G, Dip.Psych., M.Sc, as a speaker in seminar “Cegah Kekerasan pada Anak (Prevent Violence to Children)”, on Saturday April 24.

Understanding on the importance of detecting early sign of violence to children should be given early to the children or the parents. It is necessary for parents, especially to make them more sentitive and aware to relations which bring violence to children.

What do we need to know to identify sexual assault to children?

Accordiing to Margaretha, usually, there are a few signs of sexual assault happened to children. First, they behave differently; they become quiet or talk more sexual jokes. Second, they also become more aware of sexuality compared to other children at their ages. Other sign to be aware of is when they feel pain at their genital organs. Last sign of children who experienced sexual assault is they tended to seclude themselves or turn quiet. Those signs should be detected and questioned as signs of sexual assault to children.

What do we need to do to intervene and prevent it from happening?

To intervene, Retha said that parents have to keep their eyes on people and friends close to their children. They should also teach them how to defend from sexual assault attempts.

“We teach them that other people cannot touch them as they like. Children have to know well good touches, confusing touches and bad touches. Good touches are showing affection such as touches on the shoulder or head. Confusing touches are touching any other parts of body or knees and the intention is not only to show affection,” she added.

Bad touches, meant by Retha, are touches to parts of body covered by a swim suit. If anyone touch them, parents should emphasize children to reject them.

“Because it’s impossible to say ‘Don’t make friends with anybody!’to our children. But when they experience some risks to violence, they should be able to understand and report it to parents or other close and trusted adults,” said UNAIR lecturer who is an expert on psychological forensics.

If some violence happens, the effect will be very bad to children’s growth. Not only to their physical health, but their psychological and social condition will be affected severely. According to Retha, children who had the experience would have low self esteem, feel guilty and have other depressive problems. They will have problems in their relations with close associates when they are grown-ups.

“It means, preventive measures are more important, by conducting preventive acts before it really happens,” said the master program graduate on research of Psychopathology Development in Universiteit Utrect, Holland.

On the other hand, what do we need to do if it already happened to children?

If sexual assault happened to children, parents should teach them how to report what had happened to them. Go to the police force, NGO on special child care, or institution under the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection.

“What should be sought are legal, psychological advocation and medical if necessary especially when there is physical trauma,” said Retha. (*)

Author : Binti Q. Masruroh
Editor    : Nuri Hermawan

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