Somthings will not always remain a secret. For everyone that is going through a phase, it gets to the time when he/she will decide to be free and the first stage to freedom starts with Disclosure.
I found out a lot of meaning associated with disclosure but the definition from www.vocabulary.com will suffice for what we are to discuss. Disclosure is derived from the French word ‘desclos’ meaning to open or to disclose. Disclosure is to “put something out in the open, usually information that was formally secret”. Sexual Abuse disclosure is the secret of sexual abuse being exposed or told . Sexual Abuse always thrives in secrecy . Abusers use threat, fear and intimidation to keep victims bondage which gives room for the abuse to thrive. However, it gets to a time when victims find the courage to break out and speak up against their abuser. This is when disclosure takes place.
When a child discloses abuse, it is a critical approach in initiating intervention to stop the abuse, address it’s immediate effects and disclose the likelihood of negative long-term outcome.
The disclosure of abuse occurs in different levels. Most children don’t tell because they may not know the language to use in expressing themselves or because they are afraid and are unsure if they will be believed. The children that muster courage to disclose may do so bit by bit, giving hints of the abuse or hints of something that is wrong . Some children don’t also tell because they are afraid of the consequences. When a child surmounts the battle raging in his heart to disclose an abuse, the reaction of the person he disclosed to is very crucial to the healing process of the child.
Mothers are always the first person the child discloses to, even though some may not be full disclosure at first. Mothers have been built to “know how to manage certain situations” better than men. So,it is heartbreaking when mothers aren’t available for the hurting child to get across to. Some mothers are uninformed and clueless about sexual abuse and by that, they don’t know the signs or get the clues when children need their help. A mother’s reaction to disclosure affects the child’s decision to keep disclosing , withdraw the disclosure and still remain abused. A child may lie if he/she discovers she isn’t believed or confused about the reactions following the disclosure. Mothers need to manage their emotions properly, believe and support the child to take appropriate protective actions.
In the mother’s defense, there are many conflicting emotions that will surge through the mother when she discovers her child is being abused. The mother may experience feelings of shock, anger, denial, guilt, depression at first. She may also be severely affected especially if the abuser has a close relationship with the abuser . But in all of her conficting emotions, she must know that it is first and foremost about the child. Disclosure and the events that happen after should have the child at the center of any intervention program.
Mothers should learn how to cope with disclosure. If a child discloses any abuse, you should by all means believe in the child. Acceptance and validation is all the child needs. You as the mother should never make the child feel less than he/she is already feeling. Don’t blame the child for any reasons, instead cheer up the child by praising him/her on the courage to speak up. Let the child know that the abuse wasn’t his/her fault.
Healthy mindset and emotions will help the mother to survive the disclosure process, support their child and help them to heal and recover from the process. Whereas , an unhealthy mindset and emotions will worsen the crisis and cause harmful results to the child, the mother and other members of the family.
Disclosure affects the whole family but it takes wisdom and courage to intervene and create enabling environment for the child to heal. Always remember that Disclosure and any intervention process is first and foremost about the CHILD.
Mothers of Sexually Abused Children. www.mosac.net.
Do you know any child that is going through any form of abuse and needs to disclose the abuse?
Are you in any form of abuse and needs someone to talk to?
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