April is National Child Abuse Awareness Month. If you did not read my first post regarding Child Abuse, I shared a brief part of my story.
Who abuses children? It would be so much easier if there was a "type" to those who abuse children. Just as any other crimes or abuses, there is not a "type" when referring to child abusers. As mentioned in my book, Yet Still I Stand (2022, page 60), "Perpetrators are not all from one particular race, religion, color, national origin, marital status, economic status, or age group and can be both males and females. The most important thing to remember about someone who abuses and/or exploits a child is that the perpetrator is typically someone the child knows. The reason why this is so important to remember is because it can help when trying to prevent abuse and/or exploitation." This can also help when attempting to identify child abuse/exploitation.
We were taught for years about "stranger danger". Unfortunately, this teaching does not reflect reality. Teaching children that only strangers will hurt them can cause them to be confused when it is someone they know, maybe a friend of the family or a family member, who has done something to hurt them or make them uncomfortable.
Who are the children being abused? Just as with perpetrators, there is no "type" when referring to children who are abused. "Victims are from every race, religion, color, national origin, and economic status and can be" any gender (Yet Still I Stand, 2022, pg. 60).
Child abuse is also not limited to the abuser being a male and the victim being a female. This is so often the focus and can be harmful because it can cause us to miss opportunities to prevent child abuse/exploitation and/or identify and provided needed safety, services, and healing opportunities to victims, while also holding the perpetrators accountable.
Next up: What if a child in your care shows signs of abuse or has shared with you that they are being abused?