While my experience of Child Sexual Abuse was definite and occurred for a period of time, the negative impact is of an indefinite quantity.
I think the first causality of child sexual abuse is the attack on his/her innocence.
Innocence is one of the attributes of childhood and it must be preserved by all means strategically necessary for the soundness and sanity of adulthood.
What is innocence in this regard? It is a person’s dominant and balanced reckoning of the goodness, which exists towards him/her in this world. It is the thinking that the world is not a conspiracy against him or her to cunningly mess his/her existence up. It is a trained capacity to attribute a measure of good to everyone he/she comes across, except he/she is given tangible and reasonable reason to suspect otherwise. It is a sense of support from a world closest to the child.
Innocence is not naivety, which is ‘lack of experience, wisdom, or judgement.’ Innocence is a child’s sense of goodness toward persons and institutions he/she comes across.
Innocence is the foundation upon which trust is built in the child’s relationships with primary and secondary parents , peers and the whole world.
Once innocence is attacked by the negative experience of a child with an adult or an institution, the adult and Institution become the mirror through which the child sees the world for the rest of his or her life except there is divine intervention.
Once innocence is altered, particularly through Child Sexual Abuse, the child is sentenced to a life of a doubt of the goodness and love of those around him/her and if people around him/her do not come to his/her rescue either as a result of negligence or deliberate abandonment, he/she sees his/her world as a huge and wicked conspiracy against him/her and his/her well-being.
Once innocence is attacked, it is replaced with Siege Mentality. This means the child feels so insecured in the place and people who he/she should feel most secured. A person with Siege Mentality sees himself/herself as a hostage, earnestly occupied with the desire for emancipation. He/she trusts no one. A person who cannot trust cannot make any meaningful connection and strike an enduring relationships with others, including marriage and parenting relationship with his/her own children.
All of the foregoing do not need to happen in the child’s consciousness or understanding, they happen in his/her psyche to instruct his/her worldview, disposition and his/her attitude towards his/her nuclear and extended world.
Since I know the terror of Child Sexual Abuse and the raw cruelty of its impact through my experience and by working with many precious children and their troubled families over the years, we warn men and women to do all they can within the latitude of a strategic engagement and systems approach to protect the precious children under their care from all forms of abuse, particularly Child Sexual Abuse.
As we mark the Month of Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention, I beseech us as primary and secondary parents to commit or recommit ourselves to the noble cause of ensuring that no child will be sexually abused under our watch and we will not be an agent of abuse.
We must be an ambassador of an oath of Enlightenment is Superior to Enforcement® and push that to defend the best interest of our precious children, particularly as it relates to formulating and pursuing uncommon strategies for preventing Child Sexual Abuse.
Thank you for reading. I will be with you next week.
I am Taiwo AKINLAMI