In Mexico, 6 out of 10 parents do not know how to identify symptoms that alert sexual abuse in children, or how to deal with or react to a situation of sexual assault on minors. In fact, only one in 10 people said they knew of any law to protect children.
These are some of the main findings set out by the civil organization Guardians in the report ‘Violence in Early Childhood’, for which 400 people were interviewed throughout the Republic on the occasion of the National Day Against Child Sexual Abuse, which is commemorated on 19 November.
Find out: Of a thousand allegations of sexual violence against children, only one goes into condemnation in Mexico
According to the study, only a little more than half of the parents interviewed, 56%, were able to recognize some psychological symptoms related to possible cases of sexual abuse, such as fear reactions in minors to be with certain people, depression, aggressiveness, or anxiety.
While less than half of the interviewees, 45%, were able to recognize some symptoms related to behavioral or behavioral changes, such as minors isolating therefore, lowering their school performance, or experiencing drastic changes in their personality.
On these results, Rosario Alfaro, executive director of Guardians, explained in an interview with Political Animal it is difficult to distinguish the symptoms that trigger the warning that a case of sexual abuse of a minor may be taking place, «even for professionals».
Therefore, it considered it positive that 40% of respondents did know how to identify some of the symptoms, but also felt that it was «very worrying» that more than half of the respondents, 60%, did not know those symptoms or could not identify the warning signs.
«This also explains why many children do not discuss the issue with their parents, nor do they report that they are experiencing some form of violence,» said Alfaro, who said that many of the cases of abuse remain in ignorance, without treatment, and at a high risk of a repeat ingended generational repetition of the circle of silence.
In fact, according to the report, there are also 6 out of 10 parents who experienced some form of emotional, physical, or neglected abuse during their childhood, that left them emotional lyre that they did not treat or are still working on.
As for what are the main warning signs in cases of child abuse, Rosario Alfaro emphasized that sexual abuse is not just a matter of whether or not there is penetration, rape.
And this is something, insisted the guardian of Guardians, that parents must take into account, and especially the investigating authorities who, in multiple cases, in the case of no penetration or a physical sequelae – bruises, blows, etc. – rule out the abuse and revictimize minors.
«There can be many types of sexual abuse beyond penetration rape. There is contactless abuse, such as showing pornography to a minor, masturbating in front of him, or doing so masturbating,» Alfaro said.
One of the key symptoms, he noted, is changes in the behavior of minors. For example, «children who were once very active, cease to be. Or children who liked spending time with a person are now afraid to be left alone with the person, or have insecurity, fear, anxiety, and frequent nightmares.»
Another symptom is that many of the children begin to show sudden aggressive behaviors.
«Generally, we have the idea that a victim of sexual abuse is going to become a silent, hiding person. And in some cases it happens, but in many others minors begin to develop very aggressive behaviors. They destroy their toys, for example. Either they hit the others, or themselves,» Alfaro said.
And another important symptom is that abused minors acquire «hypersexualized» behaviors and a knowledge of sexuality and eroticism that does not correspond to their age.
«Many of the abused minors show that hypersexuality through their drawings and toys, because they express adult sexual practices that do not know at that age,» said the Guardian Director, who said that during childhood it is «normal» for children to have sex games, although they do not have an erotic connotation, but rather it is a matter of child curiosity.
«We call sex games that kids play moms and dads, for example. Children undress to know their bodies, but without an erotic connotation. Therefore, when minors play explicit sexual situations, one has to wonder where they learned them and who taught them, because there may be a symptom of abuse there.»
The study ‘Violence in Early Childhood’ also reveals that there is a high ignorance of laws and regulations regarding the protection of children in Mexico. Hence only 1 in 10 people interviewed said they know of any laws about it.
However, this contrasts with another one that reflects the study: 98% of respondents said that they would report to the authorities situations of child sexual abuse and violence, of which 29% said they would report for the abuser, or abusers, to pay for their actions; and 27% said they would do it to prevent other children from being abused.
On ignorance of child protection laws, Rosario Alfaro noted the need for the federal Penal Code to be approved throughout the Republic and for the creation of appropriate protocols of action in cases of child abuse «to prevent the re-victimization of children».
The Guardian explained that in cases of sexual abuse a state of amnesia may occur after the abuse, so the victim today may have a version of the story and tomorrow may have another, or not remember anything.
«And many other people,» he added, «feeling very threatened with questions and interrogations, prefer to say that they did not suffer abuse, or that they invented it, so as not to remember any more of that painful moment they lived. This means that if the authorities do aggressive interrogations by putting the victim on the defendants’ bench, the result we’re going to get is going to be very disconcerting, and the victim is always going to be afraid to talk because they think no one is going to believe them.»
Here you can check the full study ‘Violence in Early Childhood’
The ‘Chiquiclub’ against abuse
The civil organization Guardianes, formerly known as Asexoría, has been engaged in the detection and prevention of cases of child sexual abuse since 2001, and to conduct studies in Mexico and other Latin American countries, such as Colombia, on the perception of abuses.
For example, in November last year he published another study in which he documented that one in 10 Mexicans admitted to knowing at least one child sexual abuse case within their family, while another 10% of respondents acknowledged that during their childhood or adolescence they were sexually abused by an adult.
Among the initiatives to combat child sexual abuse, the Guardians association launched a ‘Chiquiclub’, a truck with which they travel to multiple cities in the Republic to interview primary school minors and adults, in order to detect possible cases.
Another tool is the teaching of the educational model ‘Skills for Life’, which directs not only children, but also parents and teachers, whom they train through workshops for the rapid detection of signs of child abuse and also for the non-revictimization of children who have suffered assaults.
Here you can check the Guardians A.C. website.
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