MOH News
Dr. Al-Raqqas: “Discomfort and Fear Are Among the Symptoms of the Child Sexual Abuse”
29 January 2014
Dr. Khalid Al-Raqqas, the Associate Professor at the Psychology Department in King Saud University's Faculty of Education, has revealed that the phenomena of sexual abuse is still not clear; because those who fell victims to the sexual abuse are afraid of reporting against the abuser, thus, any statistics in this regard may not be completely accurate. “Sexual abuse should never be associated with violence, as children are naturally inclined to trust and rely on others, the matter which makes them fully ready to execute any commands given to them so that the other party esteems and loves them,” said Dr. Al-Raqqas.
 
As part of the health awareness efforts carried out by the Ministry to promote the health awareness among the community members of all groups and segments, and in continuation of the MOH educational activities and events all year around, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has launched a three-day health educational program on the child sexual abuse on Monday, January 27, 2014, coinciding with the beginning of the second semester of this school year.
 
The Ministry, through the National Center for Media and Health Awareness, has hosted Dr. Khalid Al-Raqqas, the Associate Professor at the Psychology Department in King Saud University's Faculty of Education, via the Center’s toll free number: 8002494444, and the MOH account on Twitter: @SAUDIMOH; to answer the callers’ inquiries on the symptoms that appear on children who fell victims to the sexual abuse, as well as the behavioral and psychological harms of sexual abuse, and the other related issues.
 
Dr. Khalid pointed out that there are several symptoms of sexual abuse, which are important to pay attention to them, knowing that such symptoms may not necessarily be a result of sexual assault, but there may be one or more symptoms caused by either sexual assault or another problem. Hence, symptoms can be divided into two types: a) Behavioral and psychological symptoms, and b) Apparent physical symptoms.
 
“The behavioral and psychological symptoms are demonstrated in the child’s feelings of discomfort, fear, and rejection to go to a certain place or to stay with a particular person,” Dr. Khalid said, adding that the sexually-abused child feels discomfort, rejects the normal parental emotions, and suffers from various problems during sleeping such as anxiety and nightmares. The child refuses also to sleep alone and insists on keeping the light on.
 
Dr. Khalid noted that among the symptoms, that appear on the child and reflect his/her behavioral and psychological relapse, are finger sucking, night-time wetting, infantile acts, aside from other indicators such as dependency, fear, severe anxiety to visit some relatives, a sudden change in the child's character; that is to be added to some school problems, absent-mindedness, escaping from home, and using some sexual expressions or symbols, the matter never happened before.
 
As for the second type, Dr. Khalid has pointed out, “The apparent physical symptoms can be manifested in the child’s difficulty of walking or sitting, detection of stains or blood stains in his/her underwear, feeling of pain or desire to scrabble (Itch) genitals, redness of some body organs such as neck, and observation of bite affects.”
 
Furthermore, Dr. Khalid touched the most prominent psychological, behavioral and physical effects of the child sexual abuse, mentioning, “There are various effects, which vary in terms of their seriousness and impact on the child during his/her age stages. The younger the child is, the more negative the impact is.” Dr. Khalid highlighted that this impact considerably varies depending on the different growth stages of the child, as well as the type and period of the assault.”
 
He went on adding that there are numerous bad effects for the sexual abuse on the child's physical and psychological health, most notably, the imbalance of self-image (mental picture), lack of self-confidence, sense of guilty, shame and self-contempt, fear of being a victim to such assaults again, and anxiety towards future relations. Dr. Khalid noted that there are, however, other bad effects for the sexual abuse on the child over the long-term, such as suffering emotional doubts and problems, misbehaviors, deviation, poor learning progress, potential exposure to the assault again, and lack of desire to get married.
 
It is worth mentioning that Dr. Khalid has provided the parents with some necessary guidelines for following up their child, i.e., to tell him/her the basic information about sex, such as the sensitive organs which are not allowed for others to touch, and to give the child directions that any attempt to approach or touch his/her body in a sexual manner is a big mistake and punishable by law. Dr. Khalid further advised the parents to reinforce their child's self-confidence, and notify him/her not to engage in any behaviors such as kissing and hugging anyone, whether a relative or non-relative, as well as refraining from riding the strangers' cars without direct permission from parents.
 
Dr. Khalid further called upon each of the society's members to report any case of the sexual abuse or any violent attempt in general against children, even if it was just a doubt, adding that the teachers are the most entrusted to report such acts; due to their daily dealings with the child.
 
“The reporter can communicate with various authorities, most notably, the Human Rights Association, the security authorities, and the Protection Committee at the Ministry of Social Affairs,” Dr. Khalid said, adding that once a report of a sexual abuse is received, the child should undergo a medical examination, in an endeavor to determine the magnitude and kind of assault. If the child is in need of a physical or psychological treatment, he/she should be referred to a specialist physician.
 
In conclusion, Dr. Khalid underlined that the competent authorities will monitor the situation for several days to determine whether the child has been sexually abused or not and whether the violence was performed by one or both of his/her parents. In such a case, the child is sent to the closest t reliable relative to take over his/her sponsorship. If there are no relatives for the child, he/she is to be taken to the social protection houses.
 
 
 



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