Today's Headlines Urge Parents To Talk Openly To Their Children About Possible Sexual Abuse
As Americans woke up yesterday morning to the news that long time Penn State Coach Joe Paterno was fired for not alerting police years ago that one of his assistants, Jerry Sandusky, was reportedly abusing boys in a locker room, we asked our good friend Dr. Williams Lucena, a mental health counselor, why many children don’t tell their parents about these attacks. Dr. Lucena said most children are totally afraid. “They are paralyzed by a new sensation called ‘fear’. They never experienced anything like this before.
“The abuser is usually taller, bigger, and more powerful in stature. The attacker usually threatens by saying that he or she will kill the child’s parents, siblings, or the victim if anyone finds out about the incident. This is enough to traumatize a child for many years to come, if not his or her entire life. The victim is also very embarrassed, feels blemished and is very ashamed of his or her reaction to the attack. Most victims withdraw, go through depression, lose or gain weight or become very moody.”
Dr Lucena urges all parents to openly discuss this topic with their children. “The first thing parents have to do is explain that no one is allowed to touch their bodies. If someone tries to, they should run away and report the incident to their parents immediately. They have to let their children know that they will not judge them, they can be trusted. No one is going to kill them. Parents can protect themselves and can protect their children, but they cannot do anything if the child keeps silent. Make the child understand that they didn’t do anything wrong. In fact, if they speak up, not only are they protecting themselves, but other children as well.”