Until this moment, child abuse remains a menace which has not been wholly curbed. This cruel act has led to physical and physiological trauma for little ones, with some having to pay the ultimate price.
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According to RAINN, a jaw-dropping figure of about 63,000 children suffer from child abuse, with girls being the primary victims.
Every 1 in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys are exposed to sexual acts at the hands of an adult at one point in their life, and this is quite disturbing. Child abuse has grave consequences on its victims.
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Some victims resort to drugs to deal with their struggle, others live their life in constant fear. This disgusting act goes beyond cravings or common vices, it is a crime against humanity, and an example of such is the story of Lina Medina, history's youngest mother.
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Lina was like every other child born in Peru in the 1930s. So, when she started to develop a protruding belly, which failed to go down, her parents sought medical attention in fear that their daughter might be developing a tumor.
They were wrong. To Tibulero, Medina's father, and his wife's surprise, alongside all medical experts, Medina didn't have a tumor; she was pregnant at the young age of five.
Medina made history, but not for the right reasons. According to medical experts, she had a condition known as precocious puberty, which allowed her to mature very early, thus developing secondary sexual characteristics at such a young age.
One fact that could not be buried within the surprising medical discovery was the fact that Medina had been a victim of child abuse. Of course, there was no other way she could have gotten pregnant, and her parents' ignorance on the issue, and everyone else's, showed that this evil had silently spread throughout our society.
The young girl gave birth through cesarean section and, seven decades later, her remains a mystery, as her abuser is still unknown and a childhoodwas lost forever.
Lina, however, chose to stay silent on the issue. That is not surprising, considering the negative tag attached to her and the trauma she's had to go through over the years.
Her child's name was Gerardo, and the young boy grew up thinking Medina was his sister. He later found out about the truth but died at the age of 40, in 1979.
Despite the attention gotten from the whole world, which shone a light on child abuse and its consequences through Medina's story in 1939, the fight against such evil continues.
Sexual predators continue to exist and it requires drastic efforts by both the society and individuals at large to protect our children.
How to prevent your child from being a victim of sexual abuse
It is up to us as parents to take the first step is putting an end to this menace, and we can only achieve this by educating the young ones.
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1. The first and most important thing is to let children know about themselves and their body parts. Most children are ignorant of their most basic parts, not to mentions of the ones meant to be kept private. Teach kids about their body, and they would have no problem reporting issues about it to you.
2. Secondly, we should teach kids about body boundaries. They may be too young to know much about sex education, but should be aware of the parts that a meant to be kept private.
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3. Another essential factor to let children know is that no one is allowed to touch them inappropriately, and without their consent. Teach your kids to learn to say a definite 'NO!', as this might save them from child predators.
Unfortunately, sometimes abuse is not as a result of a child's inability to say ‘NO,’ or run away from the predator, but the parents ignorance to recognise the warning signs.
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So how exactly do you read the warning signs?
1. The first thing is to learn to listen. According to statistics, 1 in 5 victims of sexual abuse is most likely to report it, but parents often ignore these conversations. So it's up to the parent to find out, even though victims are always reluctant to talk about their ordeal.
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2. It is also essential to be cautious of whom your kids move around with, particularly adults who are always eager to be around them. Sexual predators are often close family friends or neighbors, who take advantage of the parents' trust to abuse their child. Therefore, it is important to take notice of people who like being around your kids.
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3. Also, learn to see the symptoms. Victims of child abuse are most likely to develop physical signs due to the underdevelopment of their genitals. Inflammations or pain are signs to look out for and it may help save a kid from child abuse.
There must be an end to vile act, for the safety of our kids and future generations to come.