Sexual Abuse

As appalling it is to hear about adults hurting, degrading and neglecting a helpess child, even more disgraceful is the sexual abuse perpetrated on a child by a parent or caretaker.

Sexual abuse refers to using a child for sexual purposes. The practice can involve simple fondling, to oral, anal or genital sexual intercourse. It could have occurred once or many times over a period of days, months or years. It can be perpetrated by either a man or woman with either a male or female child. The child can be fourteen days old, fourteen months old, or fourteen years old.

Who Is the Abuser?

Regardless of the age and gender of the child, the age and gender of the perpetrator, or the number of times the sexual abuse took place, there are two important facts about sexual abuse of children that should be known: First, the sexual abuse of children occurs throughout the world, within every race, ethnic group and economic class. Virtually anyone can and does sexually abuse children. Secondly, the sexual abuser is most likely someone the child knows and trusts – a family member, a friend of the family, an employee, a teacher, priest or a doctor. Anyone who has access to the child.

Abuse Versus Neglect

The line between sexual abuse and neglect can be crossed and confused. For example a man may sexually abuse his girlfriend’s daughter. The courts may see the behavior as assault, rape, sodomy or some other charge. However, the mother, who left the child unprotected, might be deemed neglectful. By the absence of some action that the parent should have taken, she thereby showed a lack of caring for the child properly.

Fear of the Truth Coming Out

As sexually abused children get older and are able to understand more clearly what has happened to them, they often experience intense shame and guilt. They may fear possible humiliation or damage to the family if the truth is revealed. Additionally a child may fear they or a family member could be injured by the perpetrator. Children are very fragile because of these fears – even terrified.

Mommy I Don’t Like the Babysitter

If a child tells you she doesn’t like the way the babysitter touches her, or she says the mother’s boyfriend is weird, or she seems to know more about sexual matters than an average child of her age, there may be some cause for concern. You might ask her to get a toy doll and show you how she was touched. Don’t try to put words in the child’s mouth.

Sexual abuse is a serious matter. If you suspect a child is or has been sexually abused it is best to allow a professional to carefully delve into the matter.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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