Child sexual abuse is an abuse of power over a child or teen and a betrayal of trust. Child sexual abuse occurs when a child or teenager is forced or tricked into sexual activity by a teenager or adult.
Child sexual abuse can be physical, visual and verbal. Some examples include: sexual touching, oral-genital contact, rape, incest, any penetration with objects or body parts, making a child touch someone else’s private parts or play sexual (“pants down”) games, exposing private parts to a child, showing pornography/making child watch sexual acts, taking sexual pictures, watching a child undress or go to the bathroom and obscene/sexual language.
Did you know?
- In 85% of sexual abuse situations children and teens are sexually abused by someone they know and trust.
- 1in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused by the time they reach age 18.
- Approximately 1/3 of all juvenile victims of sexual abuse are children younger than 6 yrs. of age.
- Children who grow up in a family where there is domestic violence are 8 times more likely to be sexually molested within that family.
- 70% of child sex offenders had between one and nine victims, 23% had ten to forty victims.
- Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute 1 to 4 % of cases reported.
Possible Signs of Abuse
You may see behavioral or physical signs that a child has been sexually abused. Remember that a child could show few or no signs and have experienced abuse.
- Knows more than normal about sex for their age
- Masturbates excessively
- Fear of touch
- Bed wetting and nightmare
- Change in eating habits
- Sleeping problems
- Low self-esteem
- Attention seeking
- Drug/alcohol problems
- Problems at school or frequent absences
- Sexually abuses others
- Stories about a “friend” being abused
- Evidence of tenderness, pain or injury in private parts or mouth
- Symptoms of sexually transmitted infections (STI)
It is important to remember that each child responds to abuse differently. None of the signs or behaviors is a definite sign that abuse has happened. These signs and behaviors are warning us that something in the child’s life has created enough stress to change their behavior.