Throughout the US, child abuse is reported every ten seconds. Most reports have shown that one in every four girls is sexually assaulted before they reach the age of 18 years and one in every six boys will be sexually assaulted. Among the 700, 000 children who are abused in the US, about 20 percent of them are Latinos (Fontes, 2007). Child abuse and sexual exploitation of female children have been shown to be a major issue among the Latinos and to address it; there might be the need to come up with effective strategic policies.
Despite the increased cases of child abuse and sexual assault particularly among the Latino families, most of them are not willing to talk about it. The primary reason the Latino family do not report child sexual abuse is related to the fact that there exist numerous taboos revolving around sex in general. Cultural barrier is one of the major contributing factors to the increasing cases of sexual abuse. Failure to address this issue creates a situation of stigmatization which shapes the victim’s thoughts, feeling and behavior in adulthood (Malloy, Lyon & Quas, 2007).
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Research on the multicultural population has pointed out that shame is the significant predictor of a child’s recovery from sexual abuse. In most occasions, shame hinders an individual from accessing clinical assistance to attain a healthy recovery. According to Fontes, Cruz & Tabachnick, (2001), failure to talk about child abuse has posed a greater threat on these kids' psyche as they grow into adulthood. Most of the Latino children who have been abused sexually often grow with the unresolved issues. The sexually abused children grow while inclined to the experience of series of depression, substance abuse and gang involvement.
In most occasions, the young females who have been raped are also held partly responsible for the abuse especially when the child show signs of maturity. They hold the notion that a man would not sexually abuse a child if he has not been invited. As a result of this, there emerges increased level of shame which moves these females further to keep silent in the rape case. According to Fontes (2007), among the community, a female child is taught to be accountable for protecting their self from senior men such as the fathers and males members of the extended families. In addition to this, the men cannot control their sexual desires when faced with a situation that is provoking as created by a girl hence blaming the victims for being raped.
Studies have reported that Latinos tend to favor and value boys at the expense of girls based on their patriarchal cultures. The male children are treasured because they would carry the family name and inherit the family properties. Therefore, this has blinded the community from any form of discloser made by a female child that her brother has been abusing her sexually(Fontes, Cruz & Tabachnick, 2001). It specifically plays a role by minimizing the importance of sexual abuse act or even blames the girl for being abused because she might have acted seductively and in the process fail to protect herself. The parents have often minimized and denied the impact of brother-sister incest and then blame the girls for it.
Misconceptions have been pointed out to be a factor that has contributed to increased cases of child abuse. The majority of the Latino family holds the misconception that rape rarely takes place within the family but is committed by a stranger. However, based on research conducted on the sexual abuse among the Latinos, the actual rape of the child in most cases are committed by one or two members of the extended family (Fontes, Cruz & Tabachnick, 2001).
To manage this situation, there is the need for the parents to engage their children in conversation especially when they notice an aspect of a shift in demeanor. There are also instances where the parent will feel the need to interrogate the child. It is the duty of the parents to establish a suitable environment that will promote communication. If parents notice any change in the behavior of their child they should engage them to determine the cause and seek clinical assistance immediately.
Fontes, L. A. (2007). Sin vergüenza: Addressing shame with Latino victims of child sexual abuse and their families. Journal of Child Sexual Abuse , 16 (1), 61-83.
Fontes, L. A., Cruz, M., & Tabachnick, J. (2001). Views of child sexual abuse in two cultural communities: An exploratory study among African Americans and Latinos. Child Maltreatment , 6 (2), 103-117.
Malloy, L. C., Lyon, T. D., & Quas, J. A. (2007). Filial dependency and recantation of child sexual abuse allegations. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry , 46 (2), 162-170.