What do you think of child abuse
What protects children from abuse
Yes, well, Ms. Elfmann, while we're sitting here now, tell me about your most beautiful sexual experience!
Uh ... mhm ...
And that was now the question of the most beautiful sexual experience and not the most terrible. Young children don't even have a language for what happened. You can't place it. They are ashamed.
In addition, they are often put under pressure, the perpetrators say, for example, "Your mother no longer loves you if you say that" or "Then I'll do the same with your little brother". Many girls and boys hold tight because they think they are protecting their siblings. Perpetrators work very perfidiously and manipulatively. They manage to make children feel complicit, for example because they say: "You smiled after all." No child can defend themselves against an adult.
But a child is not alone. What about the other adults? Doesn't anyone notice anything?
It's hard to tell when a stranger is abusing a child - and that's the exception. Sexual violence usually takes place in the family, social environment and circle of friends. The closer you are to the perpetrator, the harder it is to look.
Can you give an example?
A mother called at nine o'clock on a Monday, right before our phone hours began. She said that she had had a strange feeling for a long time when it came to her ex-husband and daughter. The night before, the four-year-old had said that dad was hurting her with his fingers.
The mother calmed her daughter down, but at the same time fell into a major crisis. She reproached herself, was afraid for her daughter and wanted to take the child away from the man immediately, but did not know how to proceed.
What did you advise her to do?
My motto is: don't rush into anything, but don't do nothing either. It is important to be there for the mother. Because only a strong mother can protect her child. I advised her to speak to the kindergarten teacher. She had actually noticed something, but she hadn't investigated the suspicion.
Mother and educator exchanged ideas, and I found a specialist advisor on site. The mother's greatest concern was that her husband could continue to have contact with the child after the divorce.
Do you know how it turned out?
Unfortunately not. That's the little unsatisfactory part of my job. We do not accompany the callers to the end, but give an impetus in the right direction and arrange contacts on site. Some will contact you later to say thank you.
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