Family sexual abuse is going unnoticed and unheard in several countries all around the world, while abusers escape justice.
Family sexual abuse: An unseen evil that often goes unheard
Family sexual abuse estimates around two-third of all child sex abuse, though the actual figure could be even higher due to cases not being reported. Despite the prevalence of the problem, local and national laws to tackle it are practically not available.
What is family sexual abuse?
Family sexual abuse is a kind of sexual abuse that happens within the family. In this kind of abuse, a family member includes a child or an adult in sexual acts or movements. The “family member” may not be in blood relation, but could be someone who is a member of the family, such as a godparent or a very dear friend.
The feeling that someone you love and believe in has sexually abused you is very stressful. It can lead to intense feelings of trauma, rage, embarrassment, rejection, disbelief, and guilt. Dealing with these feelings and supporting the victim in healing from the abuse requires time and strength. Victims also need all the support they can get from the extended family, the society, and experts in law enforcement, and mental health assistance. But sometimes families fail to do it in the first place.
Here are seven ways in which family members deceive survivors:
- Refusing or depreciating the abuse
- Accusing and humiliating the victim
- Asking survivors to pass on and stop concentrating on the history
- Suppressing their voices
- Avoiding taking sides
- Pressuring the victim to behave nicely with their abusers
Organizations that help these victims
There are a lot of groups that work toward supporting women to fight this permanent threat of violence. They serve towards making the nation safer for women by launching policy level changes and conducting awareness operations that try to educate the public.
These foundations are:
- Azad foundation
- Bharatiya Grameen Mahila Sangh
- One-Stop Crisis Centre or the Nirbhaya Centres
- Lawyers Collective
How Do They Help
Seeking guidance from a counselor who specializes in sexual abuse can help the victim to cope with what has happened to them. Counseling can lessen the anxiety and other impacts of sexual violence on your family members. With special help, the family can win and heal from the abuse and outgrow it. These organizations can:
- Save women from threatening or violent conditions
- Give weak women financial aid or vocational education
- Provide legal guidance to support victims of sexual or physical brutality
- Grant counseling and mental recovery
Parents who are understanding are the single, most powerful support that the victim has after they have undergone intra-familial abuse. It may be difficult to report sexual abuse perpetrated by a family member. But, it is the safest thing you can do to help your whole family heal, including the person who executed the abuse.
There is no doubt that society is recovering from this unseen evil. However, parents need to give their kids a chance to speak openly about their issues and let them understand the difference between good touch and bad touch. A victim should be helped and treated in every way to recover from a traumatic situation.
Special thanks to Dr. Madhuri Mehendale (MBBS, DGO, DNB- Obstetrics & Gynaecology) for the expert advice.