Educators, coaches, daycare workers, employment supervisors and priests, rabis, and other religious leaders are expected to be their organization’s guardians. They are often accorded respect and moral authority, and are expected to conduct themselves in a manner befitting their station – particularly when placed in charge of children and minors.
Therefore, reports of sexual abuse perpetuated by such adults in positions of power over children and minors are especially harrowing.
While the overwhelming vast majority of educators, coaches, supervisors, daycare workers, and clergy are amazing dedicated professionals who do nothing but encourage and foster the educational, professional, athletic or spiritual growth of minors, reports surface every year in our nation, in California, and in San Diego County of sexual abuse of minors by adults in such trusted positions. The following are just some of the many reports and legal complaints of sexual assault of minors in schools and other educational institutions in San Diego County in the last couple of years:
· Sept 2021 – Second ex-Francis Parker School student sues over alleged teacher sex abuse | FOX 5 San DiegoFormer Francis Parker School Student Files Suit Over Alleged Teacher Sex Abuse | KPBS Public Media
Sexual abuse leaves lasting scars on its victims
Sexual abuse can have a profoundly devastating effect on its victims, especially when the abuse happens on a child, and perpetrated by a trusted person such as an educational, professional, athletic, or religious leader.
Effects that sexual abuse can have on its victims are:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep issues
- Elevated blood pressure
- Deviant sexual behavior
- Sexually transmitted infections
What are the signs of sexual abuse in children?
According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), sexual abuse may not always be easy to spot in children and young people, especially if abusers go to great lengths to conceal their actions.
However, there are some signs that point to possible sexual abuse that parents and guardians should be on the lookout for.
These signs include the following:
- A fixation with bathing or changing clothes
- Fear of being left alone with certain people
- Thumb sucking, bedwetting, and other regressive behaviors
- Changes in eating and sleeping habits
- Mood swings and increased aggression
- Loss of interest in friends, school, and hobbies
- Self-harming behavior
- Sexual behavior or awareness that is unusual for the child’s age
Other signs include marks of physical trauma on the child’s genital area, unexplained bleeding, bruising, or blood on their bed sheets, underwear, or other articles of clothing.
What should I do if my child is a victim of sexual abuse?
If your child is a victim of sexual abuse:
- First and foremost, comfort and reassure your child that none of what happened was their fault.
- Call services such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673), or the Childhelp National Abuse Hotline at 800.4.A.CHILD(4454). Both lines are open 24/7 and can help you through the process of reporting the crime.
- If you are planning on pursuing legal action to seek justice against an institution or organization that you believe should have done more to prevent sexual assault or abuse of a minor, you can ask San Diego-based law firm Hogue & Belong and our team of top sexual harassment lawyers for help.