All types of child abuse and neglect leave lasting scars. Some of these scars might be physical, but emotional scarring has long lasting effects throughout life, damaging a child’s sense of self, ability to have healthy relationships, and ability to function at home, at work and at school. There are several types of child abuse, but the core element that ties them together is the emotional effect on the child. Children need predictability, structure, clear boundaries, and the knowledge that their parents and other close people in their life are looking out for their safety. Abused children cannot predict how people in their life will act. Their world is an unpredictable, frightening place with no rules. Whether the abuse is a slap, a harsh comment, stony silence, or not knowing if there will be dinner on the table tonight, the end result is a child that feel unsafe, uncared for, and alone. Child sexual abuse is an especially complicated form of abuse because of it’s layers of guilt and shame. Aside from the physical damage that sexual abuse can cause, emotional problems that can be far worse if not dealt with appropriately. It can lead to self-loathing and sexual problems as they grow older. Just remember, you can make a difference. If you suspect a child being abused, speak up and report it! If talking to a child that has been abused the best thing you can provide is calm reassurance and unconditional support.
You can help a child now