Sexual abuse then progresses to pressured and/or forced sex by making the child feel trapped within the abusive relationship (Crosson-Tower, 2008). The abuser traps the child by making them feel guilty or blackmailing them, threatening to hurt them or their family. Finally, secrecy, disclosure and suppression can either liberate the child, or further entrap them. With secrecy, the child keeps the abuse a secret, whether forcibly or on their own accord. Secrecy on the part of the child may be because they are being blackmailed or because they are afraid it is their fault. Despite disclosure of the abuse to an adult, sometimes the child’s cries for help are suppressed by the person they disclosed to. If a child’s disclosure of abuse is suppressed by an adult they trust, it can be more damaging than even the abuse itself. The theory that can be most applicable to child sexual abuse would be social exchange theory, which states that relationships between individuals are influenced by how different people interact and negotiate with one another. In a sexually abusive relationship between an adult and a child, the perpetrator uses the child for their own sexual.gratification, thus focusing on their individual needs and satisfaction. Because the perpetrator ignores the physical, psychological and emotional effects the abuse has on their victims, the perpetrator is self-interested, another principle of the systems exchange theory Pertaining to the child victim of sexual abuse, the principle of rewards and benefits versus costs is an important perspective to consider . For the victim, there are not any rewards or benefits for the abuse, but rather only costs in the form of physical and emotional distress. The rewards and benefits almost exclusively belong to the perpetrator because they reap the rewards, i.e. sexual gratification, power and control. When it comes to rationality and reciprocity and its application to child sexual abuse, these are demonstrated by the...
References: Crosson-Tower, C. (2008). Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect (7th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Kenny, M. C., Capri, V., R., R., Thakkar-Kolar, Ryan, E. E., & Runyon, M. K. (2008). Child Sexual Abuse: From Prevention to Self-Protection. Child Abuse Review, 17(1), 36-54. DOI: 10.1002/car.1012.
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