Myth or Fact

Myth: The child is sometimes to blame in sexual abuse.
Fact: The child is never to blame. The adult in authority is responsible for his/her actions.

Myth: Children are abused only by strangers.
Fact: 80% of abused children know their perpetrators.

Myth: The abuser is usually the step parent.
Fact: The abuser is more often the natural father.

Myth: The mother is unaware of the abuse as it occurs.
Fact: The mother is quite often aware, but tends to deny it.

Myth: The stigma is placed on the abuser, not the child.
Fact: The child becomes a victim for his/her lifetime.

Profile of an Abusive Parent

  • Parents who abuse were nearly always abused as children.
  • Their emotional needs were not met by their parents.
  • They have low self-image.
  • They are socially isolated and suspicious of others who may want to help.
  • They do not have relationships based on love and respect.
  • They may have problems with drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Possibly they have experienced little success in life.
  • They may have gone through a death or divorce in the family.

What is Abuse

PHYSICAL ABUSE is defined as any non-accidental physical injury caused by the child's caretaker. Physical abuse often occurs in the name of discipline.

EMOTIONAL ABUSE is sometimes called "invisible abuse," since the abuse is mental rather than physical. It can be defined as "blaming, belittling, or rejecting," and produces a negative self image for the child.

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE includes any kind of sexual act between an adult or older person and child.

NEGLECT is regarded as "failure to provide the essential for normal life: such as food, shelter, clothing, care and supervision, and protection from assault."

Indicators of Abuse

Unexplained bruises, especially in various stages of healing; old and new scars, marks which are indicative of the article used, i.e., a belt buckle, electrical cord, cigar or cigarette burns, glove- or sock-like burns, unexplained fractures, lacerations, and adult bite marks, social withdrawal, inappropriate sexual knowledge, sudden dislike of someone previously liked, extreme passive aggression, and venereal disease and pregnancy.

Who Must Report Abuse?

The Mississippi Statute states that, "any attorney, physician, dentist, intern, resident, nurse, psychologist, teacher, social worker, school principal, child caregiver, minster, law enforcement officer, or any other person having reasonable cause to suspect that a child brought to him/her or having come to him/her for examination, care or treatment, or of whom he has knowledge through observation is a neglected or an abused child," is required to report.

Preventative Measures

  • Choose a family code word and teach your children not to go with anyone who does not know the code.
  • Teach your children about "bad" touch and "good" touch, and that no one should touch them on areas that would be covered by a bathing suit.
  • Establish rules and guidelines for latchkey children to follow in case of emergencies.
  • Check out sitters and child care facilities carefully.
  • Listen to your child if he/she does not want to stay with someone.
  • Monitor your child's internet access and teach them to never reveal their name, address, phone number or any other personal information to ANYONE online. Keep computers in public areas such as the family room. Choose your child's screen name, email address, and instant message address wisely - don't reveal ages, sex, or hobbies.
  • Report any suspected abuse immediately.
  • Rebecca Long, President
  • Tresé Evans, Vice President
  • Ann Dickerson, Secretary
  • David Seabrook, Treasurer
  • Chuck Bearman
  • Tobey Houston
  • Dr. David Seago
  • MS State Department of Health
  • Emergency Food and Shelter Program
  • MS State Department of Education
  • MS Attorney General's Office / Human Trafficking Victim Services
  • Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services
  • Mississippi Division of Medicaid
  • Mississippi Home Corp.
  • Private Contributions