Always Be Aware.

95% of child sexual abusers are known to the child.  The younger the victim, the more likely the abuser is a family member – in my case, my paternal grandfather.  He not only groomed me, he groomed my parents AND my grandmother.  She knew what was happening and did nothing to stop him, making her guilty as well.  Using my molestation in the summer of 1994 as an example, here are four signs to take caution of.

Child Sexual Abusers:

1.  Are ALWAYS available to take care of your child.
My paternal grandparents were ALWAYS our caregivers when they visited us or when we visited them.

2.  ALWAYS gives your child special treatment.
He ALWAYS called me his “favourite granddaughter”.  I remember when he saw my 10th grade school picture, he couldn’t stop gushing over it, telling me how beautiful I looked, that I was all grown up, blah, blah, blah.  When I visited my grandparents in 1997, three years after the last time time he molested me, I noticed that that school photo was framed in my grandparents room.  My siblings school pictures?  Outside in the living room.  Did my parents notice it?  Nope.

3.  ALWAYS gives your child gifts and showers your child with never ending compliments.
One of our summer routines included our grandfather taking my siblings and I to the corner store.  Guess who never had to share her candy?

4.  Manipulates you, the parent, to spend time alone with your child, or ALWAYS finds the time to be alone with your child.
He would molest me after lunch, when my siblings were outside playing with my grandmother, and I would be inside the house trapped with him.  My grandmother’s “job” was to usher my siblings out of the house right after lunch, while letting me know, as the eldest, it was my job to wash the dishes.

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10 Warning Signs Of Possible Child Sexual Abuse.

This list are warning signs that I exhibited and my parents missed.

1. Nightmares. (I have not slept through the night since I was 14.)
2. Bedwetting. (Defense mechanism)
3. Easily startled when touched or if a particular person enters the room.
4. Suicide attempts.
5. Self-injury. (My mutilation of choice was cutting, over exercising coupled with under eating.)
6. Sudden changes in school performance.  (I went from being on the top of the Honour Roll to sitting in detention during Summer School.)
7. Overly protective and concerned for siblings. (He threatened that he would go to my little sister instead if I didn’t comply.)
8. Wearing very loose-fitting clothing or more clothing than the weather requires. (Scarves in the summer anyone?  Yup.  That was me.)
9. Outbursts of anger. (Demotion of a belt rank in tae-kwon-do, yellow and red cards at field hockey games…)
10.  Dissociation. (Unexplained crying, blanking out, unresponsiveness)