A recent study conducted by ChildLink has found that a number of children have suffered from ruptured uteruses, as well as the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) one of the most dreaded sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
In this specific research, 338 victims were screened and at least four were discovered to have ruptured uteruses, among other health implications.
The report said that many of the children had to be hospitalised as a result of the extent of the abuse, while some even required surgery for their injuries.
On the other hand, some children became pregnant while others contracted HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
According to the document, “Child sexual abuse [CSA] must be seen as an important path for the transmission of HIV, Hepatitis C, and other STIs including the virus that causes cervical cancer. Left untreated, some of these infections will lead to infertility and even death. A person who is abused in childhood and does not receive adequate medical attention, including STI screening, is at risk of suffering irreparable harm and innocently transmitting infections to others”.
When it comes to other effects of child sexual abuse, ChildLink found that victims complained more of being sad, getting angry easily, feeling bad, thinking about the abuse “all the time,” crying a lot, feeling down or depressed, and “spacing out a lot.” Participants described feelings of loss of control over their emotions and their lives. Many reported new or nearly constant anxiety.
Victims even reported that they are affected by nightmares, problems with sleeping or eating, flashbacks, numbness, irrational fears, incessant crying, and suicidal feelings, including significant suicide attempts.
Important to note is that those victims also encounter difficulties in school, as they were usually unable to focus. “Many said their school performance suffered; several said they began getting into trouble at school; many stopped attending school; several regretted that they were unable to complete their CSEC and possibly even go on to further their studies or pursue tertiary level education.
Often, CSA precipitated school cessation or failure. “We must eliminate CSA so every Guyanese child can reach his or her academic potential,” the report noted.