Child Sexual Abuse
April 10, 2014
Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse does not have a universal definition. However, a central characteristic of any abuse is the dominant position of an adult that allows him or her to force or coerce a child into sexual activity (American Psychological Association). Yet all offences that involve sexually touching a child, as well as non-touching offenses and sexual exploitation, are just as harmful and devastating to a child’s well-being. Touching sexual offenses, such as fondling; making a child touch an adult’s sexual organs; and penetrating a child’s vagina or anus no matter how slight with a penis or any object that doesn’t have a valid medical purpose. Non-touching sexual offenses include Engaging in indecent exposure or exhibitionism; exposing children to pornographic material; deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse; and masturbating in front of a child. Sexual exploitation can include engaging a child or soliciting a child for the purposes of prostitution; and using a child to film, photograph or model pornography (American Humane Association). Irrespective of how childhood sexual abuse is defined it generally has significant negative and pervasive psychological impact on its victims. (p. 33) The majority of sexual abuse happens in childhood, with incest being the most common form (Courtois, 1996, as cited in Maltz, 2002). Accurate statistics on the prevalence of child and adolescent sexual abuse are difficult to collect because of problems of underreporting and the lack of one definition of what constitutes such abuse. However, there is general agreement among mental health and child protection professionals that child sexual abuse is not uncommon and is a serious problem in the United States. Studies by David Finkelhor (Nursery Crimes, 1988), Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse; Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident. These data show us how serious the problem is. Furthermore, other studies suggest that even more children suffer abuse and neglect than is ever reported to child protective services agencies (no data). Children and adolescents, regardless of their race, culture, or economic status, appear to be at approximately equal risk for sexual victimization. Statistics show that girls are sexually abused more often than boys are. However, boys' and, later, men's, tendency not to report their victimization may affect these statistics (APA). As far as I am concerned, the most subject problem in child sexual abuse is the courage to tell others by a child. According to numbers provided by the National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, the vast majority of children who are sexually abused are abused by someone they know -- most often a family member, an adult the family trusts or, in some instances, another child (Youth Villages). Many survivors were betrayed by the very people they are dependent upon (family, teachers etc.) Children are trusting and dependent and will often do what is asked of them to gain approval and love. What’s more, 93% of victims under the age of 18 know their attacker (Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement, 2000). As a result, how can a little child accept these trauma and to violate the order of the perpetrator especially who used to be the person they trusted. Abusers have been known to tell children that it is the fault of the child that they are abused, shifting the blame away from the abuser, where it belongs, and placing it on the child. Along with this, abusers may threaten or bribe the child into not speaking up; convincing the child that he or she will never be believed (Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse....
Youth Villages, April 13, 2012
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