The child shows aversion/fear and disgust at certain people who are close to your family. May be last week s/he did not show such tremendous disgust; but from yesterday your child shivers even if that person is named. (Again the perpetrator can be both a woman or a man)
The child hurts/bleeds in her/his private parts including the rectal region.
The child has stopped eating.
The child has begun eating too much.
The child tries to avoid eye contact with you when speaking of herself/himself (This alone is of no consequence unless some of the other factors are present).
The child has recurrent nightmares. This again by itself is not indicative of abuse; only of concern.
It is well understood now that most abuses occur from known people; including parents, grown up siblings; uncles and aunts and neighbours. In short, those that the child trusts explicitly. These are the ones who are often the culprits. It is also well known that if a child is abused; the trauma and the chances of later mental disorders rise in direct proportion to the time elapsed for receiving counselling or medications.
So what should be done if someone is abused? The off-the-hat answer by victims is that s/he cannot do anything since may be, the perpetrator has captured the child’s nude photographs and threatens to put them online. Or, the child is threatened with death; or the death or grievous harm to someone the child loves dearly. Then what should one do?
The victim should clearly understand two things: The perpetrator abuses children and not adults since s/he is scared of adults. So no matter how scared the child is, the abuser is more scared of being caught. So if the victim simply goes online, say on Facebook or other social media and exposes the perpetrator along with the threats of the abuser, then the abuser is defeated. Say, I am being threatened that my compromised snaps will be put online by X; then I go online and post the whole thing against X. Now if X is in possession of these pics then s/he will be in possession of child pornography (I am not a child by any extrapolation of the imagination); the possession of which is a criminal offense in India and most parts of the world.
The child should tell the parents (if one of the parents is the perpetrator then the other parent and other adults should know.)
If the abuser is a parent, then the child may think that if my dad is in jail then how will the family run? May be the father who rapes the minor son or daughter is the sole bread-winner for the family. Even then the child should tell all to the world and there are homes to take care of children who suffer abuse. It is better to be in some poverty till 18, than to be raped daily till 18.
Children should be taught of what constitutes inappropriate touching.
One caveat comes to mind: Child psychologists are aware that children often make up things through cues. But in the case of child abuse, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the child and NOT to the adult.
Now if you have been abused during childhood and have told none, then you are at a higher risk of suffering from mental problems down the line. You should do four things:
Visit a counselor.
Visit an MD psychiatrist.
Get yourself tested for AIDS.
Tell and shame the abuser in social media after being counselled and put on, if needed, minimum dose Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors by the MD psychiatrist.
In fact you can walk in to your nearest police station anywhere in India and lodge a zero FIR. The police will have to take your complaint compulsorily. In the case of child abuse the police upon receiving a complaint even over the phone can register a diary and arrest the concerned perpetrator.
Some tips to prevent child abuse:
As a thumb rule, except the parents and grandparents et al, do not ever think your child is safe. S/he is NOT safe even in the car-pool car s/he goes in.
S/he is not safe in the best schools of our country or anywhere in the world.
No adult is incapable of harming our kids.
Do not allow kids to be out of your sight, in the company with some other wo/man.
Monitor Internet use through softwares available for this purpose.
Avoid god (wo)men of all hues and colors. If your guru is holy, s/he will understand your need to protect your child.
Become a friend of your kid; so that you know with whom s/he is keeping company with.