Parents on alert: what to do in the face of school sexual abuse

In August 2020, the headlines of newspapers spoke of a single subject. The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) passed sentence in a case that resonated in our country since 2002: sexual abuse against Paola Guzman Albarracin by the vice-chancellor of his school.

The Court of the IACHR determined that Ecuador had violated the adolescent’s right to life, for which it was up to him to provide compensation, full reparation to her family and, among other actions, declare an official day of “fight against sexual violence in the classroom.”

That sentence came 18 years later that Paola committed suicide. Neither her body nor her mind withstood so much trauma generated by the rape.

Later, in April 2022, the story of another teenager shocked the country again. A student from 14 years of the Louis Napoleon Dillon Tax Collegenorth of Quitowas allegedly raped by the driver of her express, after being picked up near her home to take her to class.

From that moment on, there was a sequence of events. The minor’s parents complained that the authorities they did nothing immediately.

And the protest march was not long in coming. The students mobilized for two consecutive days to ask for justice. The Ministry of Educationfor his part, requested the resignation of the rector from Dillon College, which was accepted. And in early May, the driver managed to be captured.

Meanwhile, in the Coast Classes have already started in person. And in cases like that, comes the uncertainty parental. In WEEK we talked with experts to give a guide on how to prevent or act in a situation of sexual abuse in educational institutions.

Watch out for red flags

Be on the lookout for the following changes that could occur in your child. According to psychologist Camila Pozodetecting them is an alert that something unusual is happening.

  • Physiological: Problems in sleep or appetite.
  • Psychological: Presence of irritability, frustration or also emotions such as sadness or discouragement.
  • Behavioral: Assess if your child isolates himself from his social circle, or perhaps he is very dependent on you (the parents) and shows fear of other people.

psychological help

The attitude of the family is fundamental at the moment in which the infant is encouraged to tell about his fears before a possible aggressor. Or failing that, about the abuse. Samuel Merlano, clinical psychologist and coachgives a guide for parents:

  • Do not react with violence: No matter how serious or sad the situation is, provide your child with support so that he feels protected.
  • Do not minimize the fact: In the face of abuse, the minor is left with a very strong trauma. Parents should seek psychological assistance and thus prevent the victim from falling into depression or, in the worst case, suicide.
  • Don’t blame the victim: That deepens the problem. Work on the idea that it was not the child’s fault.

Remember: If there is no psychological support, the problem increases at the emotional. Even when the rape is of the same gender (man to boy or woman to girl), in the future the victim may doubt her sexual orientation. Comprehensive assistance is necessary so that you can become an adult without wounds to heal.

level of justice

In case of sexual abusetalk to the educational institution to activate the protocol. Remember that act is a crime.

The complaint can be submitted directly to the prosecution. Don’t dismiss the advice of a lawyer.

always attentive

“It is worth asking the authorities for information about whether they have carried out a psychological evaluation of their teachers. They do have a Student Counseling Department (DECE). And if the infrastructure is safe (especially the restroom or lounge area)”Camila Pozo, child psychologist

An neglect of the father or mother can have tragic consequences. and he doesn’t spend time to teach has to do with it.

to say of Camila Pozo, child psychologist“the family plays a key role in prevention and this is achieved by talking about sex educationl focused on the age of the son. From an early age, for example, they must learn to recognize her private parts by his name, not with other terms. And emphasize that no one can touch those areas, ”he specified.

On that path of breedingreiterates that it is also important educate them to be kind without needing to have physical contact obligatory (kiss or hug), even more so if it is about strangers.

And advises to turn your gaze to the educational campus. “It is worth asking the authorities for information about whether they have made a psychological evaluation to their teachers. If they have a Student Counseling Department (DECE). And if the infrastructure it is safe (especially the bathroom or lounge area),” he advises.

Another important point is to carefully observe the relationship of your child with adults (teachers, coaches, custodians, drivers, etc.) and the treatment they receive from them. “There it is important that family maintain a strong bond of trust. Asking how her class went or if she did all her homework is usually very general. Prefer to be more exact in the details. You can start by telling how your day went. This will help her son express her feelings and tell her if someone at school or college is threatening or not, ”she emphasizes.

Must protect always to who is more vulnerable, and in this case it is the minor. His son.

time to repair

“The nuclear family, that is, parents and siblings, must be supportive so that the minor can heal. (…)”Sofía Benavides, family advisor and consultant

For Sofía Benavides, family advisor and consultant, “If there was an abuse, it means that preventive measures were not taken from home to stop it. none school bullying is sudden. There are behaviors of aggressor that become evident in the process until it ends up perpetuating itself”, he explains.

However, if it could not be avoided, both parents and children should rreceive assistance or guidance, either individually or in groups, both to repair the damage and so that something similar does not happen again. “That’s where you set the resilience in the family”, explains Benavides. “At that time the members must look at themselves and notice what needs to be strengthened as a core so that there is a real connection between them,” he points out.

He emphasizes that in this process one should not revictimize who suffered the attack. “The nuclear family, that is, parents and siblings, must be supportive so that the minor can heal. Other family members (uncles, cousins, etc.) should only know what Fair and necessary to avoid re-victimization”, he suggests. This would avoid inappropriate questions such as: Why was she alone on the bus?, etc.

In order to avoid trial and error, it is necessary to ask for help with specialists. “We experts will always be an impartial third party to help guide them.”

We want to give thanks to the writer of this post for this outstanding content

Parents on alert: what to do in the face of school sexual abuse