Tag: mental health

Tag: mental health

Poverty and Depression as a Result of COVID-19 Has Affected The Youth In Kenya.

 

Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has adversely affected the mental and socioeconomic well-being of young Kenyans, a new survey reports.

The study, which was conducted by AMREF Health Africa between April 30 and May 5 across all the 47 counties, in alliance with the Ministry of Health, Population Council and Youth in Action, indicates that the effects of Covid-19, such as loss of jobs, have heightened stress levels among young people, worsening their mental and health well-being.

“Covid-19 is having significant negative effects on the mental health, economic and social status of the youth: nearly a third (27 percent) are experiencing more stress and 30 percent have reported living in fear,” the report notes.

SEE ALSO: The Corona Hairstyle Is Spreading An Important Message About Covid-19 In Kenya

 

 

youth unemployment in kenya

Economic Effects

The main source of worry and stress for young people is the reduction of income and complete loss of jobs amidst rising expenses, the report says.

This is as 50 percent of young Kenyans have suffered from a significantly reduced income whereas 22.9 percent of the Kenyan youth have lost their source of livelihood due to the virus epidemic.

The report also added, “34 percent of young Kenyans experienced increases expenses in the house and 33 percent experienced an increase in food prices, with more females than males experiencing an increase in household expenses (36.7 percent vs 31.9 percent) and increase in food prices (34.5 percent vs 32.6 percent”.

 

Ballooning violence

According to the findings of the report, the group also recorded an increase in violence at home. 1.7 percent of the respondents revealed that they have been victims of violence at home during the pandemic period.

The changes in normal roles and routines create stress for family members, including children who cannot attend school and may not know why they cannot.

Additionally, parents must struggle to strike a balance between explaining the pandemic to their children without heightening their fear.

For parents who also double up as health care workers, the conflict between being professionals and infecting their families become real.

These conflicts are likely to cause feelings of guilt, fear, and anxiety, among others.

Lastly, as home environments become toxic due to depressed affect, school closures, and diminishing resources among others, the odds of family violence increase.

 

SEE ALSO: Fighting Against Gender-Based Violence During The Covid-19 Pandemic in Kenya

 

Mental Health

Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived or real threats, and at times when we are faced with uncertainty or the unknown.

So it is normal and understandable that youth in Kenya are experiencing fear in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Added to the fear of contracting the virus in a pandemic such as COVID-19 are the significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus.

Most are struggling with anxiety and depression because they are faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends, and colleagues.

 

Police Brutality

At least six people died from police violence during the first 10 days of Kenya’s dusk-to-dawn curfew, imposed on March 27, 2020, to contain the spread of Covid-19. As of today, the number has shot up to 12 which includes children.

The police, without apparent justification, shot and beat people at markets or returning home from work, even before the daily start of the curfew.

Police have also broken into homes and shops, extorted money from residents, or looted food in locations across the country.

It is shocking that people are losing their lives and livelihoods while supposedly being protected from infection.

Police brutality isn’t just unlawful; it is also counterproductive in fighting the spread of the virus.

SEE ALSO:  Tips For Parents During The Coronavirus Outbreak – Infographics

 

Access To Medical Care

Five percent of women cannot access emergency pills or sanitary towels due to the movement restrictions, while eight percent of men reported a lack of access to condoms.

Youth with HIV have also been affected adversely, with 2.3 percent saying that Covid-19 has cut off their access to ARV medication and 4.7 percent noting that they are unable to access HIV/AIDS counseling.

Additionally, nearly half of the young people surveyed indicated that they would not be able to self-isolate if infected with Covid-19 due to reduced income or loss of jobs, which makes them unable to afford isolation.

Diseases will not also wait for coronavirus to be over!!

SEE ALSO: How To Manage Your Mental Health During Self Isolation

 

Conclusion

Regardless of these effects, the report shows that an overwhelming majority of young Kenyans are taking the necessary precautions.

They are adopting positive behavior to avoid infection with Covid-19, practicing hand hygiene, and wearing personal protective equipment since they started to receive messages on Covid-19.

For instance, 99 percent of young people are avoiding travel, 98 percent are using masks in public, 98 percent are washing hands, and 20 percent using hand sanitizers.

Little is known about the experiences of our people under public health protocols in terms of compliance, difficulties, and psychological impact.

The resulting interruption of filial and other bonds due to fears about infecting self and others, and/or avoidance behaviors during and post-isolation are issues of concern to social scientists.

Further, public health protocols that directly contradict long-held traditions, for instance, concerning how and when burials are to be conducted has ramifications for their success.

Finally, fear of social stigma for those infected may cause people to deny early symptoms and consequently fail at early diagnosis.

It is important to note that early diagnosis is essential for the management of a new disease as COVID-19.

Therefore, it is important to understand how people perceive interventions and what psychological mechanisms are triggered by coercive measures.

 

Tips for parenting during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. {Infographics}

Across the world, due to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), children are affected by physical distancing, quarantines and nationwide school closures.

I am sure most of your children and youth may be feeling more isolated, anxious, bored and uncertain.

They may feel fear, and grief, over the impact of the virus on their families.

I have really been working hard to find content that will help open the world of isolation.

Watch out for resources and ideas to support parents and projects that will engage children in understanding the coronavirus, the challenges it brings to their world and what can be done to protect them.

I have also done a previous blog about how you can spark a meaningful conversation about coronavirus with your children.

To help parents interact constructively with their children during this time of confinement, I have shared below very simple but constructive tips you can use while parenting during this period.

I have these six one-page tips that I outsourced from WHO for parents.

They cover the following:

  • Planning a one-on-one time.
  • Staying positive.
  • Creating a daily routine.
  • Avoiding bad behavior.
  • Managing stress.
  • Talking about COVID-19.

 

RELATED CONTENT: Your Daughter Does Not Owe Anyone a Hug This Easter Holiday, Not Even Grandpa.

 

 

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English_Tip 3_Covid-19 Parenting

 

 

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English_Tip 6_Covid-19 Parenting

I hope this information helps in one way or another in helping your little ones cope during this confusing period. Feel free to click on the Links on the Infographics to learn more.

Have an amazing weekend!!

INCASE YOU MISSED IT:

Coronavirus- How to Manage Your Mental Health During Self-Isolation.

10 Tips on How Parents Can Help Children Who Have Experienced Trauma.

10 Ways To Teach Your Children Consent at Every Age.

Coronavirus- How to manage your mental health during self-isolation

As coronavirus continues to spread all over the world, governments have implemented lockdowns and curfews as a measure and that means that most of the travel has been restricted.

The new measures have also seen pubs, restaurants, and theatres close, while people have been asked to work from home where possible.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused global stress, fear of the disease and the unknown future. Extreme stress can really affect your mental health and cause depression and anxiety.

I know you are not used to staying indoors for long periods of time and being isolated from your social support structures. This is why you are feeling worried and low most of the time.

It is recommended by psychology experts that you should try and maintain a normal routine when it comes to sleep, nutrition, and exercise especially if you have an existing mental health condition.

Again, I know it is not easy!

The World Health Organization (WHO) released a mental health guide for people who are self-isolating saying: “This time of crisis is generating stress in the population.”

So what should you do if your mental health is suffering during self-isolation; are there ways to ensure you safeguard your emotional and mental wellbeing during a potentially extended period of being alone?

Yes! Read till the end to learn how you can manage your mental health during this crisis period.

 

Make time for micro-lifts throughout your day.

I believe that one of the main problems with self-isolation is that we start to miss “micro-lifts” that we normally have peppered throughout our day without even necessarily realizing.

Micro-lifts are the small little things throughout your day that helped lift your spirits up even without realizing it.

It could have been your favorite coffee shop, listening to preaching or a podcast on your way to work or saying hi to the funny gateman.

When you’re alone at home that doesn’t happen – and the cumulative effect of that is massive, especially around the two-week mark.

So try and create micro-lifts at home. Try things that generate a sense of achievement.

It could be trying out exercises, reading a book, joining an online group you share the same values with or just face timing someone.

 

Move your body.

You may be limited in the amount of exercise you can do if you’re stuck inside self-isolating or working from home, but it’s still important to get your body moving.

Moving can really help bust through those stress levels and give an instant shot of happiness.

With months of the coronavirus pandemic ahead, it is important to keep exercising. Did you know that regular exercise produces chemicals, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are as effective as antidepressant medication or psychotherapy for treating milder depression?

It is important to create a daily exercise routine at home. It does not have to be complicated.

A few stars jump and skipping rope will do the trick.

To make it fun, look out for free Zumba dance routines on YouTube.

If you struggle with exercise, start small, maybe 10 minutes a day and then add a few minutes daily.

 

Eat a healthy ‘anti-depression diet’.

Anxiety is likely to increase during the current crisis, but a well-nourished body is better at handling stress.

Traditional Mediterranean foods are sometimes referred to as the ‘anti-depression diet.

It has anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Such foods include whole grains, vegetables (particularly green leaves), fruit, berries, nuts (including almonds), seeds and olive oil.

They are really good for your mental health.

When you’re at home it can be tempting to just sit on the sofa without moving, eating unbalanced meals and snacking all day as a way to entertain yourself.

Please do your best to eat well.

If you haven’t got people who can bring food to you then see if you can sign up for home deliveries from your local supermarket.

Have a look to see if there are any community support groups in your local area that can provide support with shopping.

Protect A Girls Image is Helping Families in rural Kenya with food.

 

Create or Maintain a Routine.

Do you find yourself spending all day in your pajamas or remembering at 3 pm that you haven’t brushed your teeth because you knew you wouldn’t be seeing anyone?

Although in the short term it can feel nice to be lazy, in the long term this isn’t going to be good for your mental wellbeing.

I am seeing a lot of people who are self-isolating are losing their optimism for the future, they are using time for self-reflecting and picking apart everything that is wrong with their life: their job, their relationship, their friendships.

Like I explained above, try to maintain as much of a routine as you can.

This is how you could do it:

  • Plan how you’ll spend your time. It might help to write this down on paper and put it on the wall.
  • Try to follow your ordinary routine as much as possible. Get up at the same time as normal, follow your usual morning routines, and go to bed at your usual time. Set alarms to remind you of your new schedule if that helps.
  • If you aren’t happy with your usual routine, this might be a chance to do things differently. For example, you could go to bed earlier, spend more time cooking or do other things you don’t usually have time for.
  • Think about how you’ll spend time by yourself at home. For example, plan activities to do on different days or habits you want to start or keep up.

If you live with other people, it may help to do the following:

  • Agree on a household routine. Try to give everyone you live with a say in this agreement.
  • Try to respect each other’s privacy and give each other space. For example, some people might want to discuss everything they’re doing while others won’t

 

Try new Activities.

Sitting in front of a screen all day – whether for work or pleasure – is not the best way to spend long periods of time.

Especially because the blue light from devices, like smartphones, can be disruptive to your sleep and overall wellbeing.

Instead of watching Tv, I suggest the following:

  • Download podcasts.
  • Do arts and crafts or knitting.
  • Try meditation.
  • Bake new foods.
  • Learn a new hobby.
  • Skype or FaceTime friends and family.
  •  Try Cooking, Writing or Reading books.

 

Stay connected to friends, family and loved ones.

Just because you’re self-isolating, doesn’t mean you have to cut yourself off altogether.

If you feel that you’re beginning to struggle, take some time to call a friend or family member.

Talk about how you’re feeling. I have a few tips for you:

  • Make plans to video chat with people or groups you’d normally see in person.
  • You can also arrange phone calls or send instant messages or texts.
  • If you’re worried that you might run out of stuff to talk about, make a plan with someone to watch a show or read a book separately so that you can discuss it when you contact each other.
  • Think of other ways to keep in contact with people while meeting in person is not possible. For example, you could check your phone numbers are up to date, or that you have current email addresses for friends you’ve not seen for a while.

 

Get Some Sleep.

Ninety percent of depressed people struggle with sleep, which is likely to increase with fears over the coronavirus.

Good quality sleep is a form of overnight therapy and increases the chance of handling strong emotions effectively.

Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time every day.

Achieving eight hours of sleep, taking a hot bath, setting the bedroom temperature to 18°C and having no screen time two hours before bedtime will also help.

 

Limit your news and social media. 

If you are finding the constant 24/7 coverage of coronavirus is impacting your mental health, particularly on social media, then you can opt-out.

The World Health Organisation says: “A near-constant stream of news reports about an outbreak can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed.

Please try and avoid listening to or following rumors that make you feel uncomfortable.

Be careful about the balance of watching important news and the news that could cause you to feel depressed and disrupt your mental health.

Have breaks from social media and mute triggering keywords and accounts.

Social media could help you stay in touch with people, but might also make you feel anxious including if people are sharing news stories or posting about their worries.

Consider taking a break or limiting how you use social media.

You might decide to view particular groups or pages but not scroll through timelines or newsfeeds.

 

Try to not be hooked to a negative spiral.

The most dangerous thing for your mental health is having too much time to think about your life critically.

When self-isolating you’ve got a lot of time to think and it’s very common to experience massive life dissatisfaction as a result.

You get into a constant flow of critiquing your life and yourself, and you really need to avoid those negative cognitive spirals.

It will help to try and see this as a different period of time in your life, and not necessarily a bad one, even if you didn’t choose it.

It will mean a different rhythm of life, a chance to be in touch with others in different ways than usual.

 

Netflix and chill Responsibly.

While watching Netflix may seem like a great way to relax and rewind, we should also remember to watch something that won’t make our mental health even worse.

Bust out those box sets, get the duvet out and hunker down.

But just as TV can boost our mood, equally it can make us feel crappy too.

So be careful with what you watch, maybe leave the dark apocalyptic thrillers for another time and choose something more joyful, uplifting, or funny instead.

 

6 Tips on How to Nurture a Child’s Mental Health.

If you had one wish for your children, what would it be? For me, I always think about how I want my children to be happy and strong physically and emotionally.

As the children we care for at Protect A Girls’ Image get older and more submerged into the world around them, I often find myself hard-pressed on how well they will be able to cope after they grow up and leave their rural homes.

February 3rd to February 9th was Child’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a topic near and dear to my heart. During that week I kept asking myself, Have we really prepared these children for the trials and tribulations of life that is to come? Have we implemented all the tools necessary to ensure a happy life for them?

Surely we can’t guarantee their happiness, but we can give them a strong foundation for their mental health – and that could be everything. Sometimes happiness sounds a lot like the main components of mental health.

As a parent, you can really get overwhelmed by scary statistics about how children are having mental health issues all over the world. The Good news is you have great power when it comes to nurturing your children’s mental health.

 

How common are mental health problems among children and youth?

One in four Kenyans is likely to suffer from a mental illness at some point in their life and they will find it difficult to get the healthcare they need, reveals a Nation Newsplex investigation.

The review of mental health data also finds that the suicide rate for men is three times higher than the rate for women. Figures from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the suicide rate per 100,000 people in Kenya is seven, with the rate for men being 11 and women three.

Mental health issues can affect youth at any age. But certain situations can place some young people at a higher risk, including:

  • A family history of mental illness.
  • Children who experience difficult economic circumstances.
  • Children and youth who have poorer overall health, live in isolated communities and have scarce educational and work-related opportunities.
  • Children and youth who experience bullying and/or rejection from their families.
  • Big life changes such as moving to a new city or new school, caregiver separation or divorce, serious illness or death in a close relative or friend.
  • Facing or witnessing trauma, including abuse.
  • Substance use.

Unfortunately, too many children and youth don’t get help soon enough. Mental health disorders can prevent children and youth from succeeding in school, from making friends, or becoming independent from their parents.

Children and youth with mental health disorders may have trouble reaching their developmental milestones.

The good news is that mental health disorders are treatable. There are many different approaches to helping children and youth struggling with emotional or mental health problems.

Getting help early is important. It can prevent problems from becoming more serious and can lessen the effect they have on your child’s development.

How do I know if my child or youth has a mental health problem?

All children and youth are different. If you’re concerned your child may have a problem, look at whether there are changes in the way they think, feel or act.

Mental health problems can also lead to physical changes. Ask yourself how your child is doing at home, at school, and with friends.

Changes in thinking

  • Saying negative things about themselves or blaming themselves for things beyond their control.
  • Trouble concentrating.
  • Frequent negative thoughts.
  • Changes in school performance.

Changes in feelings

  • Reactions or feelings that seem bigger than the situation.
  • Seeming very unhappy, worried, guilty, fearful, irritable, sad, or angry.
  • Feeling helpless, hopeless, lonely or rejected.

Changes in behavior

  • Wanting to be alone often.
  • Crying easily.
  • Showing less interest in or withdrawing from sports, games or other activities that they normally enjoy.
  • Over-reacting, or sudden outbursts of anger or tears over small incidents.
  • Seeming quieter than usual, less energetic.
  • Trouble relaxing or sleeping.
  • Spending a lot of time daydreaming.
  • Falling back to less mature behaviors.
  • Trouble getting along with friends.

 

Physical changes

  • Headaches, tummy aches, neck pain, or general aches and pains.
  • Lack of energy, or feeling tired all the time.
  • Sleeping or eating problems.
  • Too much energy or nervous habits such as nail-biting, hair twisting or thumb sucking.

Remember: Just because you notice one or more of these changes does not mean your child or youth has a mental health problem.

 

As an advocate for mental health, I want to share tips on how you can help nurture children’s mental health. Here are just a few :

 1. Build Their Self-esteem.

Helping your children develop strong self-esteem so that they feel good about themselves is very important. You should create a sense of safety and security by building confidence in their abilities. You can do this by;

  • Praise them when they do well. Recognize their efforts as well as what they achieve: Regularly support and encourage your child. Make sure to praise their efforts, achievements, and to believe them and believe in them.
  • Let Them Learn Naturally: Promote independent learning. Have your child experience and accept the natural consequences of life and experience the benefits of positive actions as well.
  • Encourage Healthy Self-Talk: Use words of encouragement and daily affirmations.
  • Show lots of love and acceptance. Your child needs to feel like they are invited, accepted and loved. Make sure to spend family time together, play with them and remind them how valuable they are.
  • Ask questions about their activities and interests.
  • Help them set realistic goals.

 

2. Model Healthy Behavior.

Children learn from the behavior modeled by the important adults in their life – so be sure to lead by example the best strategies regarding self-care, healthy social interactions, communication, and emotional stability.

 

 3. Establish Healthy Habits.

Do not underestimate how much creating healthy habits at home can impact a child. Make sure your child is getting enough rest, eating healthy foods and getting enough playtime. So what more can you do?

  • Be aware of your child’s media use, both the content and the amount of time spent on screens. This includes TV, movies, the Internet, and gaming devices. Be aware of who they might be interacting with on social media and online games.
  • Be careful about discussing serious family issues—such as finances, marital problems, or illness—around your children. Children can worry about these things.
  • Provide time for physical activity, play, and family activities. Physical activity is important to our overall mental wellness and therefore a healthy home environment should include activity, play, and family interaction.
  • Be a role model by taking care of your own mental health: Talk about your feelings. Make time for things you enjoy.

 

4. Help children build strong, caring relationships.

A strong relationship consists of communication, respect, trust, problem solving and affection. Healthy relationships share common goals and responsibilities as well as acceptance and commitment. Further, strong relationships will promote resilience which is the ability to tolerate difficult situations in positive ways. This is what you can do;

  • It’s important for children and youth to have strong relationships with family and friends. Spend some time together each night around the dinner table.
  • Show your children how to solve problems.

 

RELATED CONTENT:  Tips on How Parents Can Help Children who have Experienced Trauma.

 

5. Listen to and Respect their Feelings and Reactions.

Listen to how your child is feeling and validate their emotions. Guide your child through big feelings and show them important coping mechanisms and ways to manage challenges (like meditation). Teach them the importance of expressing their emotions through language. You should know that;

  • It’s OK for children and youth to feel sad or angry. Encourage them to talk about how they feel.
  • Keep communication and conversation flowing by asking questions and listening to your child. Mealtime can be a good time for talking.
  • Help your child find someone to talk to if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you.
  • Children often learn from modeling; with exposure to a variety of feelings, language, and coping mechanisms, children, in turn, will become more self-aware

 

6. Distress tolerance.

Finally, children require direction on learning to relax and self-soothe; talking, quiet activity, walking and alone time are all healthy reactions to stressful situations.  In difficult situations, you can help children and youth by;

  • Teach your child how to relax when they feel upset. This could be deep breathing, doing something calming (such as a quiet activity they enjoy), taking some time alone, or going for a walk.
  • Talk about possible solutions or ideas to improve a situation and how to make it happen. Try not to take over.

 

When do I go for help?

There are many ways to help your child achieve good mental health. Sharing your concerns with the doctor is one of them. Talk to your child’s doctor:

  • if the behaviors described above last for a while, or if they interfere with your child’s ability to function.
  • if you have concerns about your child’s emotional and mental health.
  • Talk about your child’s behavioral development and emotional health at each well-child visit.

 

INCASE YOU MISSED IT:  Catcalling is Not a Compliment, It’s Harassment.

Your child’s mental health matters.

Good mental health is essential to overall health in every child. When you strengthen your child’s mental health not only are you positively affecting how your child thinks feels and behaves, you are increasing their chances of success in school, with peers, and in life.

These guidelines aren’t just for children either, but are important for everyone looking to take care of their mental health! If you enjoyed this post, you might want to read this post on how you can teach your child about sex and consent at every age.

 

 

Skills that Dads should teach their 13 year old Daughters in 2020.

Despite all the progress made, our society still puts women through the wringer emotionally. From impossible body standards, to victim blaming, to the pressure to always put others before themselves, there is a whole lot for women to deal with from their teens and beyond. Although parents and caregivers can’t shield girls from the world, there’s a great deal they can do to prevent them from internalizing damaging societal messages. But what are the most important lessons to teach?  Parents need to teach the most crucial emotional skills girls need to learn to navigate the world more effectively. Here are some skills to consider teaching your daughter by the time she turns 13.

1. How to respect and express her feelings.

We often neglect to teach our girls emotional intelligence because the popular stereotype is that females are good at getting in touch with their feelings and communicating them. In the real sense, when women are overcome by emotions, they become incapable of making decisions. Emotional Intelligence means having the ability to describe and express the full range of human emotion. But when girls are taught to value being happy and liked over all, they often suppress or can’t acknowledge more difficult experiences. It’s recommended that parents “authorize” their daughters’ emotions. When your girls express authentic emotions, even if they’re difficult, you take them seriously. You don’t deny them or challenge them.

2. How to feel beautiful and have a positive relationship with her body.

Lost in a sea of selfies and reality television, girls might not know how to view themselves beyond objects of desire. Teach your daughter that she is beautiful because of who she is in her heart and mind, not because of how she looks or how she dresses. Point out that, as cheesy as it sounds, real beauty does come from within. Help her understand that trying to be sexy won’t make her beautiful, because she is already beautiful without changing her appearance. Build her confidence in who she is apart from her looks and explain to her that confidence translates into beauty. Make sure her Dad is telling her how beautiful she is too. Also, Parents should discuss sex and know and use the right names for genitalia and do their best to “represent sex as a healthy, beautiful experience that should be had with joy and consent.” That means talking about what consent means early on and emphasizing that a girl’s body belongs to her alone.

3.  How to stand up for herself.

Studies show that girls are encouraged by both parents and teachers to be sweet and conciliatory. And while we don’t want to send our daughters into the world with a chip on their shoulder and their fists raised looking for a fight, we need to let them know that it is okay to stand up for themselves and voice their beliefs and opinions. So tell your daughter that she can express herself strongly, but respectfully. And, if someone is mistreating her, empower her to say, “I don’t really like the way you’re treating me, so I’m going to go now.”

 4. How to understand boys.

Boys and girls do have differences when it comes to their brains. Boys are more visual. Boys have more testosterone than women. These biological facts make boys and girls think differently, and approach life and problem-solving differently. Teach your daughter that she has great value, not just because she is a girl, but because she is a person and that boys are not better or more valuable than girls.

 

Check out these Mental Health Issues Resulting from Sexual Assault!!

 

5. How to learn from friendships

Girls are frequently told that friendships are paramount, and that may be why they can be so singularly focused on those relationships. Relationships help girls learn to assert themselves, compromise, and set boundaries. Parents should view friendships as an opportunity to show girls what healthy relationships look like and how they can relate to others and themselves. Encouraging her to communicate honestly and reasonably assert herself, provides her with skills that she’ll need to push for a raise as an adult.

6. How to work hard and have faith.

Help your daughter understand that working hard is the key to moving forward in life. Reward her hard work with praise. Point out the link in her own life between her hard work and success. A strong faith will help your daughter navigate the challenges of life. It will serve as the basis for her standards and the choices she makes. Teach her about the power of faith. Teach her how to strengthen her faith. Pray with her.

7. How to feel self-compassion

It’s easy to be one’s most unforgiving critic, no matter gender. But girls get a lot of messages that it’s important to please others. So when they experience a setback, it often feels like letting someone else down. Research shows that adolescent girls may be exposed to more interpersonal stress than boys. That makes them more likely to ruminate on negative feelings, which puts them at greater risk for depression. To help prevent this cycle of suffering, parents should teach their daughters how to deal with failure. What we want is for girls to have is the capacity to move through a setback without beating themselves up. This means teaching a girl how to relate to herself and practice self-compassion in a moment of crisis. It’s important that instead of criticizing herself harshly, she focus on the universality of disappointment and practice self-kindness. By realizing others share that experience, she’ll be better prepared to treat herself compassionately and develop resilience.

8. How to deal with the online world.

Help your daughter see that the online world is not the real world. Be sure that she’s spending more time with you and  your family than with her online community. The more time that she spends online, the greater her chances of feeling discouraged about what other girls have that she doesn’t, be it their clothes, their bodies, or their boyfriends.

What else are you trying to teach your pre teen daughter? Share your Comments below.

By Caroline Wangechi

Why don’t Victims of Sexual Assault come forward sooner?

 

WHY DON’T VICTIMS OF SEXUAL ASSAULT COME FORWARD SOONER?

 

Reasons why sexual assault survivors don't come forward sooner.

Sexual assault survivors don’t come forward sooner due to shame, guilt, denial, and fear of the consequences that might follow them.

It is very common for victims of sexual assault to not disclose their trauma as soon as it happens that is if they ever do. But since everybody in the world is continually confused by why women don’t come forward, I offer some information based on the psychology of abuse to help answer this question.

To make sure we are all in the same page, when I talk about Sexual harassment and behaviors, I include cat calling, inappropriate touching, invasion of privacy, sexual jokes, sexual bribery, and coercion just to mention a few.

Below I have listed the most significant reasons why women do not come forward more often or delay in coming forward.

  • Shame

One of the primary reasons women don’t come forward to report sexual harassment or assault is shame. Sexual abuse, by its very nature, is humiliating and dehumanizing. The victim feels invaded and defiled, while simultaneously feeling the indignity of being helpless and at the mercy of another person.

Shame is a feeling deep within us of being exposed and unworthy. When we feel ashamed, we want to hide. We hang our heads, stoop our shoulders, and curve inward as if trying to make ourselves invisible. Most people who have been deeply shamed take on the underlying and pervasive belief that they are broken, unworthy and unlovable.

Victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in adulthood or sexual abuse in childhood tend to feel shame, because as human beings, we want to believe that we have control over what happens to us. When that personal power is challenged by a victimization of any kind, we feel humiliated. We believe we should have been able to defend ourselves. And because we weren’t able to do so, we feel helpless and powerless. This powerlessness causes humiliation  which leads to shame.

  • Denial, Minimization

Many women refuse to believe that the treatment they endured was actually abusive. They downplay how much they have been harmed by sexual harassment and even sexual assault. They convince themselves that “it wasn’t a big deal.” I know a lot of women who were brutally raped, and I have friends who were sexually abused in childhood. So when a scenario of a girl being sexually harassed by her boss arose, she said that it was nothing compared to what these women went through. She tells herself to just move on and forget the whole thing.

Other women are good at making excuses for their abusers. I have often heard victims of sexual harassment say things like “I felt sorry for him,” or “I figured he wasn’t getting enough sex at home,” or even “I knew he couldn’t help himself.”

And finally, women convince themselves that they are the only victim of a sexual harasser or abuser. It is often only after other women step forward to say that they were abused by a perpetrator that a victim may realize that they are dealing with a serial abuser.

  • Fear of the Consequences

Fear of the repercussions is a huge obstacle women face when it comes to reporting sexual harassment or assault. The fear of losing their job, fear they won’t find another job, fear they will be failed in school, fear of being blamed, fear of being branded a victim, fear of being blackballed by people, fear of their physical safety. This is so true.

Many don’t disclose, because they fear they won’t be believed, and until very recently, that has primarily been the case. The fact that sexual misconduct is the most under-reported crime is due to a common belief that women make up these stories for attention or to get back at a man who rejected them. Victims’ accounts are often scrutinized to the point of exhaustion. Victims are often labeled opportunists, blamed for their own victimization, and punished for coming forward.

  • Low Self-Esteem

Some victims have such low self-esteem that they don’t consider what happened to them to be very serious. They don’t value or respect their own bodies or their own integrity, so if someone violates them, they downplay it. Sexual violations wound a woman’s self-esteem, self-concept, and sense of self. The more a girl or woman puts up with, the more her self-image becomes distorted. Little by little, acts of disrespect, objectification, and shaming whittle away at her self-esteem until she has little regard for herself and her feelings. There is a huge price to pay for “going along” with sexual exploitation. A woman doesn’t just give away her body; she gives away her integrity.

Even the most confident girl cannot sustain her sense of confidence if she is sexually violated. She feels so much shame that it is difficult to hold her head up high. She finds it difficult to have the motivation to continue on her path, whether it be college or a career.

  • Feelings of Hopelessness and Helplessness

Research has shown us that victims who cannot see a way out of an abusive situation soon develop a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, and this in turn contributes to them giving up and not trying to escape or seek help. Specifically, learned helplessness is a condition in which a person suffers from a sense of powerlessness, arising from a traumatic event or persistent failure to succeed and considered to be one of the underlying causes of depression. A concept originally developed by the research of psychologist and Steven D. Meier, learned helplessness is a phenomenon that says when people feel like they have no control over what happens, they tend to simply give up and accept their fate.

Women feel it is useless to come forward, because they have seen the way others have been treated. They feel it is hopeless, because they won’t be believed, and their reputations will be tainted, if not ruined. Women who have already been sexually assaulted or harassed feel especially helpless, since the chances are extremely high that they did not receive the justice they so desperately needed. These fears can cause women to think there is nowhere to turn, to feel trapped and even hopeless.

  • A History of Being Sexually Violated

Women who have already been traumatized by child sexual abuse or by sexual assault as an adult are far less likely to speak out about sexual harassment at work or at school. Research shows that survivors of previous abuse and assault are at a higher risk of being sexually assaulted again. For example, research shows that 38 percent of college-aged women who have been sexually violated had first been victimized prior to college.

Those who experienced previous abuse will likely respond to overtures of sexual harassment much differently than women who have not been abused. A friend shared with me that she freezes every time a guy makes a sexual advance towards her hoping he will just walk away. This “freezing reaction” is a common one for those who were sexually abused in childhood. And as was mentioned above, those who have previously been victimized are more likely to keep quiet about the abuse, since they may have already had the experience of not being believed and not receiving justice.

  • Disbelief, Dissociated, or Drugged

Finally, sometimes women don’t report sexual harassment or assault, because at the time of the abuse they were drugged, inebriated, or dissociated. Others may have been so drunk before the assault that they doubt their memories, and as we know, some are so traumatized that they dissociated during the attack and have only vague memories. It usually takes one woman coming forward before a woman is able to trust her own memories of the experience. Unless other women come forward to make a complaint about someone, most will continue doubting themselves and assuming they will be doubted if they report.

It is understandable that women have a difficult time coming forward for a number of reasons. These women deserve our recognition about how difficult it is and our compassion for what they have been through. Women need to be encouraged to begin to push away their internalized shame with anger and to learn how to give the shame back to their abusers.

Instead of focusing so much energy on trying to figure out why victims don’t report, it would be far more productive to ask, “Why do we allow men to continue to sexually harass and assault women?” Perhaps even more important, we need to stop asking why victims wait to report and instead focus on how we can better support victims in their quest for justice and healing.