Every parent fears for their child getting raped, as statistics have shown that over 40% of all rapes in South Africa are against children.
Children who are victims of sexual assault are left traumatised and it is every parents’s responsibility to ensure that they make them feel loved.
According to the executive director of Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA), Kevin Barbeau, sexual assault against children includes incest and sexual abuse, the use of a child for sexual gratification – which includes pornography, touching or fondling – and penetrative sexual acts.
“Although it is natural for the parents of a child rape victim to seek immediate medical care, the most practical [thing to do] is often to go straight to the police station. The case can then be reported, forensic evidence be taken and the police can usually provide or arrange direct transport to the hospital in case medical care is required,” he said.
He urged parents not to wash the crime away.
“It is important to convince your child not to take a shower or bathe to wash off semen and blood. Also, try to prevent your child from using the toilet or changing clothes before reporting the rape. Your child’s body and clothes have become evidence that will assist police in finding the perpetrator,” said Barbeau.
He also urged that victims not brush their hair or teeth if they have been forced to perform oral sex.
“Encourage your child to tell you about what happened. Make a note of names, dates, times, and locations. This will spare excessive questioning which can make a child feel that the adult does not believe him or her,” he said.
Barbeau said parents whose child has been sexually abused should tell the child the following:
– I believe you.
– You are not to blame for the rape.
– I still love you.
– I want to be there for you, to listen to your problems and support and protect you.
– I want you to love yourself and look after yourself and make yourself feel good.
– Rape is perpetrated by bad people. Being raped does not make you bad.
– Healing takes time.
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