Every adult has a responsibility to notice when a child is being abused – warns an NGO regarding Liliána Szilágyi’s story

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Hintalovon Child Rights Foundation reacted to the child abuse allegations made public by Olympic swimmer Liliána Szilágyi in a Facebook post. They wrote that most of the time a child can’t tell anyone if they are being abused, especially if the abuser is a close relative. But even if the child doesn’t say a word, they are trying to communicate in other ways and adults ought to notice that.

The confusion induced by the trauma-, the emotional impact, the attachment, the shame and guilt can make a person unable to express what has happened to them. It takes a long time and often professional help to process the traumas, and it cannot be expected, especially of a child, that they be able to express the abuse committed against them in a complex way.

But there are warning signs, says the Children’s Rights Foundation, through which children send a message:

“With their behaviour, their changes, their actions, a gesture, silence, loudness, self-harm, withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, weight loss, gaining weight, anger, avoidance, freezing, unreasonable anger, fear, anxiety, illness, mood swings, withdrawal from touch, too much touch.”

“An attentive community would know that something is not right.”

Hintalovon Foundation stresses that in these cases the adults who notice the signs are in a difficult position as well: “it’s hard to help the right way, it’s hard to raise your voice and take on the role of the witness.” However, every adult is obligated to keep the well-being and safety of children in mind.

”[…]What is difficult for us may be the child’s only chance of survival, of escape, of a healthy adulthood.”

“Every adult has a responsibility to notice when a child is being abused

As discussed previously, Liliána Szilágyi made a public statement on Wednesday that she had had to endure physical, mental and sexual abuse from his father. Dr. Zoltán Szilágyi, a former Olympic champion and the girl’s father, denies all the accusations and has threatened to file a court complaint against her.

The president of the Hungarian Swimming Association, dr. Sándor Wladár announced in a statement that the Disciplinary and Child Protection Committee of the Hungarian Swimming Association will launch an investigation into the accusations of Liliána Szilágyi, Olympic Youth Champion and silver medalist in the European Championships.

The swimmer first wrote in an Instagram post that her father had abused her and her mother. At the same time with the post, the latest episode of Kriszta D. Tóth’s TV program “Elviszlek Magammal” (I’ll give you a lift) was aired, in which Liliána Szilágyi talked about the traumas she had endured.

Later, in an interview with ATV, the swimmer also referred to sexual violence. “An abuse survivor often forgets, wants to forget what has happened to them. But I am not like that, if I don’t get to the bottom of the truth, I dig until I get the answer. Let’s say that it was a year ago that I was able to face the fact that my father had sexually abused me”- she said, adding that she could not share more on the subject.


Translated by: Dorottya Bojtor

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