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Anonymous asks:
Q:

How can a child heal after sexual abuse or rape?

Recently there was a news story out of New Jersey about a 7-year-old girl who had been gang-raped at a party that her teenage sister took her to (the news reports said the teenage sister had been prostituting herself and then offered up her sister too). There was also a story in California about a high schooler who had been gang-raped by adult men (and other teens) on campus during a school dance.

Stories like this break my heart, and I wonder about the long-term effects on the victims. Can children ever heal from such abuse, or are they thereafter hindered from having healthy relationships, a positive self-esteem, etc.? Obviously prevention of such tragedies is best, but how to help a child after they've been abused in this way?
In Topics: My child's growth and development, Physical Health, Teen issues
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Wayne Yankus
Apr 17, 2010
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What the Expert Says:

Violence against children is a major developmental concern.  We are aware of these two very public cases, but some of our children/patients don't offer up their stories until many years later.  Recovery requires a team approach which includes family (if there is one), teachers, pediatricians, and therapists.  it takes years.  when this kind of tragedy happens, some states have "child abuse centers" and in fact it is a sub specialty of some pediatricians at hospital centers.  the NJ 7 year old was treated at such a center and all her support will come from there with the assistance of the school superintendent and mayor.  The Audrey Hepburn (movie star) Foundation has been instrumental in centering law enforcement and medical/social services in one spot for children so they are not remanded all over the hospital and police stations.  One such center exists at Hackensack University Medical Center in NJ and it is called The Little Red School House. It is off campus so as to be non threatening.

Every community needs to know what resources exist and if they don't, develop them as a priority for children.

Wayne Yankus, MD, FAAP
expert panelist: pediatrics
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Additional Answers (3)

Haltnow
Haltnow writes:
Love them, listen to them, let them know that it was not their fault.

http://www.haltnow.ca/abuse/52-child-sexual-abuse/153-preventing-sexual-child-abuse.html
> 60 days ago

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Sivasubramanyam1016
Sivasubrama... writes:
It is an alarming issue everywhere on the planet. The healing is easy but needs accommodating nature. Childhood is a very innocent stage. It has to be viewed very leniently. The individual must be given confidence stating no damage/wrong has been taken place. Deviating and diverting attitude towards creative approach will help a lot.
However, parents must not allow opposite sex to share one bed. Never allow elder age group up to 90 to mingle closely with children. Never leave opposite sex people in isolated rooms. Keep them away from cell phones and net services. TV is also offensive now a days.
> 60 days ago

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mystory37
mystory37 writes:
No one can fully heal from any type of abuse. Speaking from experience, allow your child some space between yourself and them..don't make it seem like your still thinking about it from overlly doing things for them as if they won a nobel peace prize. After being abused the only thing any child wants is love, respect, & to know your there for them. Abused children hold resientment, trust issues & feel like they have to shut down because NO one understands. As a parent you have to keep an open mind with them..allow them to come to you..allow your child to know they can trust you & most important u love them and eventually they will come out of the shell & build a positive relationship with you
> 60 days ago

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