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November 09, 2011 05:53 PM

Children Afraid To Talk About Sexual Abuse

Sioux Falls, SD


With sexual abuse allegations swirling around retired Penn State assistant football Jerry Sandusky, many wonder why it took the victims so long to come forward.

Kristiana Benson counsels families and children who have experienced sexual abuse. She says many times children this age are fearful of saying anything. So parents are key when it comes to helping their children believe in their own instincts and stand up for themselves.

"Talk.  Talk. A kid knows when something is right. A kid knows when something is not right. You have to talk. You have to talk and know it's not your fault. It's just not and unfortunately, it's just that older person's need to control in a very inappropriate way," Stronghold Counseling family therapist Kristiana Benson said.

Benson says the first sign that something is wrong is when a child has a sudden shift in emotions or behavior like becoming withdrawn or suddenly aggressive. Another common sign is overeating and hiding food or has a dramatic loss of appetite.

"As a parent, do not, do not be hesitant to inquire, but also do not be hesitant to use the parental role and say, 'We are going to talk to somebody. I'm giving you a gift. If you can't talk to me, we're going to talk to somebody,'" Benson said.

Benson says the most important message a parent should share with their child is if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
  • Sioux Falls, SD
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