My Paediatric posting has been revealing on many fronts. Since I resumed work here in this teaching Hospital, I keep getting ‘shocking’ news every day. Last week it was…….. This week it is on serial sexual abuse firmly converted to sexual gratification.
There have been a consistent narrative concerning victims of sexual abuse, who many perceive as weak and ‘preys’ of the abuser. This may not be entirely true.
Ponder on this scenario;
A young girl of about 8 year old, having excruciating abdominal pain, was brought to the clinic by her mother. The diagnosis was reached after the ‘normal’ chat with the Consultant. It was a severe case of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).
PID can become extremely dangerous, even life-threatening, if the infection spreads to your blood. Sad right?
For those of us who do not know, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the female reproductive tract marked by severe pain during urination and sex. Some patients may have a highly repugnant vaginal odor too.
How can an eight year old have PID? From clinical experience, patients with PID are sexually active ladies, not 8 year old children. More questions were asked; more digging was done and it was revealed that the child is a victim of sexual abuse. Two adult men were mentioned to be abusing the child.
One of them is her English teacher and the other was her relative. Unnaturally, they give her money after sleeping with her. She has been living this life for sometime now and I dare say, she is ‘used’ to it.
Now, here is the shocker!!!
Our 8 year old have been repeatedly found sleeping with some other boys (her age mate) in her school right on the field. Her parents are helplessly aware of this.
You would agree with me that this 8 year old may, never remain the same again (psychologically, physically and emotionally).
What You Should Know About Sexual Abuse.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines child abuse and child maltreatment as “all forms of physical and/or emotional ill-treatment, sexual abuse, neglect or negligent treatment or commercial or other exploitation, resulting in actual or potential harm to the child’s health, survival, development or dignity in the context of a relationship of responsibility, trust or power.
Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.
It may interest you to know that the effects of child sexual abuse on the victim(s) is both long term and short term.
The effects of sexual abuse on a growing child includes
- guilt and self-blame
- fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects, smells, places, doctor’s visits, etc.)
- self-esteem difficulties
- sexual dysfunction
- chronic pain
- suicidal ideation
- somatic complaints
- post-traumatic stress disorder
- physical injury to the child
Now the BIG QUESTIONS?
- Is she a victim of abuse?
- How bad is this finding?
- What would the future mean for this 8 year old?
- Is this really a case of sexual abuse turned sexual gratification?
- How pervasive is child sexual abuse in the society?
It is best never to assume that a child derives sexual gratification from being repeated abused. A child must be protected because it is highly possible they do not have a clearer view of what sex mean; it is only in fulfillment of the primordial urge that the 8 year old would act the way she does.
This definitely does not mean she is derives sexual gratification from being abused.