In Raising Awareness

What Do we know about Child Sexual Abuse?

What is sexual abuse?

How much do we care to know about and to understand the huge issue of child sexual abuse?

How is it that no one is taking responsibility for child victims of sexual abuse?

How is that we do not admit we have such problem?

How can we be blind to the pain of our children in Iran?

What is happening to our children and how can we prevent it from happening?

We have never in our entire history talked about child sexual abuse, or sexual abuse as a societal problem. This topic and any topic related to our bodies, especially our sexual bodies, is taboo (haram) to talk about! How come? The problem is bigger than this one single article can tackle. I am sure others have tried to open this topic, however, the problem and the reasons for this issue are very deep.

The main reason for why we are not talking about this issue is that we are shy and we are ashamed of discussing sexuality. Men in our society have their hands on our daughters and we do not dare to stand up for our girls!

You may say, “why men?” Well, who else?

There are few, if any, girls who have come forward to disclose this problem, and those that have, have been shut down or blamed for the abuse! In fact, in a country like Iran where the legal age for marriage varies from 9 years and above, how can we talk about sexual abuse? We are “legally” letting our girls be sexually abused, raped, and exploited by those men or “husbands.”

In a country like Iran, where the majority of women have no voice, where they are blamed for not giving enough service to their husbands, where they have to line up in the court rooms day in and day out to apply for divorce, where the judge, who is most probably a mullah, gives women the advice to “think twice” and go back to their husbands or lose their children, and where children are given to women for only a short time (girls up to age 7 and boys up to age 2), how could anyone be interested in dealing with sexual abuse as a problem?

What is child sexual abuse anyway?

Child sexual abuse is when a person responsible for a child, being the father, uncle, brother, grandfather, or whoever else, uses a child for sexual purposes.

An abuser is usually someone who is known to the child, someone who has power over the child, and someone who threatens the child if the child tries to speak up!

Abusers always put the blame on the child and they seek children who are not being cared for properly anyway.

Sexual abuse and sexual harassment occurs also when an adult lets a child touch the adult’s genitals, lets the child watch pornography in order to use the child for sexual purposes, or even when an adult uses sexual language all the time.

Children are the silent sufferers in our culture; no one cares for them and no one protects them, because basically our Iranian culture does not give many rights to our children anyway.

In Western cultures, there are walls of legal protection–not that sexual abuse isn’t happening–but at least families are being educated about the problems.

If you know of any child here in Canada or elsewhere that is being sexually abused, please do not close your eyes. Please help the child to find help. The least you can do is to acknowledge the child’s pain and let him/her know that IT IS NOT HIS/HER FAULT!

Please help to open this discussion. Maybe we can save some of those millions of children!

April 26, 2007

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