Recognize Child Sexual Abuse


Recognize Child Sexual Abuse

What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse is defined as “utilizing a child for sexual gratification by an adult or older child in a position of power, or permitting another person to do so.”

Non-touching sexual offenses:

  • Indecent exposure/exhibitionism
  • Exposing children to pornographic material
  • Deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse
  • Masturbation in front of a child

Touching sexual offenses include:

Fondling

  • Making a child touch an individual’s sexual organs
  • Any penetration of a child’s vagina or anus – no matter how slight by a penis or any object that does not have a valid medical purpose

 Sexual exploitation of a child is also an offense and can include:

  • Engaging or soliciting a child for the purposes of prostitution
  • Using a child to film, photograph or model pornography

What are the signs of sexual abuse?

The first indicators that a child has been sexually abused may be behavioral changes.

 Behavioral indicators in young children may include:

  • Changes in behavior (mood swings, clinging, withdrawal, etc.)
  • Loss of self-respect
  • Unsocial behavior
  • Excessive fear of being touched
  • Recurrent nightmares
  • Acting younger than actual age
  • Fears of certain places, people, or activities
  • Poor schoolwork and frequent absences
  • Shame about his or her body
  • Premature knowledge of sex acts
  • Preoccupied with sex play (frequent masturbation, touching other children’s genitals, exposing genitals frequently)
  • preoccupied with sex play (frequent masturbation, touching other children’s genitals, exposing genitals frequently)
  • Displays more sexual tendencies than other children
  • Shows unusual sexual behavior (constantly touching his genitals, rubbing genitals on inanimate objects, mimicking sex with dolls or toys)
  • Withdraws and seems to lack social skills
  • Aggressive, overt sexual behavior
  • Sleep disorders
  • Drawing pictures of people with genitals
  • Taking frequent baths
  • Starting fires
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Self-inflicted injuries
  • Fear of a particular person, place or activity
  • Reporting that abuse has taken place 

Possible physical symptoms:

  • Stained or torn underwear
  • Difficulty walking or doing other activities that show the child is sore in the genital area
  • Discomfort in the genital area (bruises, swelling, bleeding, etc.)
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches
  • Pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Involuntary gagging
  • Pain during bowel movements
  • Repeated medical problems with genitals or digestive system
  • Experiences a sudden change in appetite

 

 What are long-term effects of child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse may have lifelong effects on children resulting in serious

  • emotional problems including depression, anti-social behavior, identity confusion and substance abuse

Young girls who are forced to have sex are three times more likely to develop psychiatric disorders or abuse alcohol and drugs in adulthood, than girls who are not sexually abused.

 Kenneth S. Kendler, M.D., et al, Medical College of Virginia Commonwealth University, Archives of General Psychiatry 2000;57:953-959.

  • Children may lose trust in adults in their lives
  • Suffer feelings of guilt or develop self-abusive behaviors

Among both adolescent girls and boys, a history of sexual or physical abuse appears to increase the risk of disordered eating behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting or use of laxatives to avoid gaining weight.

Dr. Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, et al, University of Minnesota, International Journal of Eating Disorders 2000;28:249-258.

  • Risk taking and risky sexual behavior

Adolescents with a history of sexual abuse are significantly more likely than their counterparts to engage in sexual behavior that puts them at risk for HIV infection.

Larry K. Brown, M.D., et al, American Journal of Psychiatry 2000;157:1413-1415.

  • The memories of abuse may even be suppressed until later in their adult lives. 

Myths and Facts

Myth 1: Children are most likely to be sexually assaulted by a stranger.

Fact: 27% of all offenders were family members of their victims.

Myth 2: Children lie or fantasize about sexual activities with adults.

Fact: Developmentally, young children cannot make up explicit sexual information unless they have been exposed to it. They speak from their own experiences. Sometimes a parent will try to get a child to falsely report sexual abuse. Primary indicators of such a report are the child’s inability to explicitly describe or illustrate the act, or a grossly inconsistent account.

Myth 3: The sexual abuse of a child is an isolated, one-time incident.

Fact: Child sexual abuse is usually a situation that develops gradually over a period of time and occurs repeatedly.

Myth 4: It is not important for children to have information about sexual assault. Talking to children about it will only scare them.

Fact: It is just as important for children to receive information about sexual assault for their own safety as it is for them to receive information about fires, crossing the street, and swimming. Inaccurate information is more frightening and damaging to children. 

Myth 5: Nonviolent sexual behavior between a child and adult is not emotionally damaging to the child.

Fact: Although child sexual abuse may involve subtle rather than extreme force, nearly all survivors will experience confusion, shame, guilt, anger, and a lowered self image, though they may reveal no obvious, outward signs.

Myth 6: Child molesters are all “dirty” old people.

Fact: In a recent study of convicted child molesters, 80% were found to have committed their first offense before the age of 30.

Myth 7: Just as many adult women abuse young boys as adult men exploit young girls.

Fact: While there are women offenders, most reported cases of child sexual abuse involve adult men and young girls. When young boys are exploited, they are usually the victims of adult men. Research indicates that over 90% of offenders are male.

Myth 8: The lower the family income and social status, the higher the likelihood of the sexual abuse of children.

Fact: There is no data to support this conclusion. It is safe to assume, however, that the lower the income and social status, the higher the likelihood of the abuse being reported to a public agency.

Myth 9: Multiple sexual abuse (such as parent abusing two or more sons or daughters) is extremely rare.

Fact: If there are two or more children in the home, without discovery or intervention, a sexually abusive parent will usually be involved with each of them. It is rare for a parent to be sexually abusing only one child if there are several in the family.

Myth 10: Any parent who would sexually abuse their child has to be mentally ill.

Fact: The vast majority of abusers are not mentally ill and most hold jobs, function well in the community, and are well respected by their peers. Most abusers deny the event and some claim seduction by the child.

Myth 11: Family sexual abuse is easy to treat, once it becomes known.

Fact: Sexual abuse is extremely difficult to treat because it involves different people moving at different speeds (father, mother, child, other siblings). Often, none of them may be ready for treatment.

Myth 12: Children provoke sexual abuse by their seductive behavior.

Fact: Seductive behavior may be the result, but never the cause, of sexual abuse. The responsibility lies with the adult offender.

Myth 13: In father-daughter sexual involvement, the mother is unaware of sexual abuse occurring in the home.

Fact: In some cases, the mother may have good grounds to suspect abuse and may contribute to and perpetuate the situation. In fact, upon open discovery, the mother may even insist that the daughter be removed from the home. It is important to recognize, however, that this does not apply to all mothers of incest survivors. Because of their lack of awareness, many may suspect something is wrong, but are unclear as to what it is, or what to do.

Myth 14: If the children did not want it, they could say, “stop.”

Fact: Children generally do not question the behavior of adults. They are often coerced by bribes, threats, and use of a position of authority.

 

How Can You Help A Child

Your child has been the victim of sexual abuse. It is important that you give your child the protection, love, and support she needs to work through her feelings of confusion, anger, fear, shame, and guilt.

Believe your child.

Children seldom lie about sexual abuse. Do not blame your child. Whatever the circumstances, your child was not asking to be abused or molested. Your child was robbed of her childhood, personal power, and integrity. Let your child know that you trust her and that what happened wasn’t her fault.

 Reassure your child

that she is not be blamed, that the blame rests entirely with the abuser. Allow the child to regain her sense of personal control. Don’t be overly protective. Let your child make choices.

Respect your child’s fear.

Your child may have feared being hurt or that someone else in her family may be hurt. Your child may fear being abused again or blamed for being abused. Your child may fear that they will be punished or that they won’t be believed. Help your child develop skills to increase their safety. Helping children protect themselves reduces the likelihood of further victimization and helps restore the child’s sense of self-esteem.

Accept all her feelings

 Tolerate her moods. Don’t tell your child that they “shouldn’t feel that way.” Give your child an atmosphere of acceptance, warmth, safety, and love. In order to alleviate her fears, let your child know that you will protect them. Allow your child to express their anger. Provide a safe environment where your child can vent her feelings.

Listen without making judgments or giving advice

Try to understand what your child has and is going through. Do not criticize her actions or feelings. Do not preach. Compliment your child on her bravery to tell what happened. Validate her worth as a person.

Respect your child’s privacy

Don’t pressure or pry for information. Your child will talk when she is ready.

Care about your child’s well-being

 Let your child know you care. Don’t worry about doing or saying the wrong thing. Be there for your child. Be okay with silence. Let your child know that you are sorry about what happened and will do your best to protect and support her.

Take care of yourself, too.

 This has been an extremely upsetting experience for you. You may need to talk to someone in order to cope with some difficult emotions of your own. If you are experiencing rage or blaming yourself, you can be more helpful to your child if you find appropriate ways of coping with your own emotions. You need support and encouragement as you’re struggling through this ordeal with your child. Approaching a medical professional for references is a good place for you to start.

 Don’t blame yourself.

 Take a look at your feelings of responsibility. Do your feel it is your responsibility to protect your child at all times? Maybe her abuse gives you a sense of failure. Realistically, no one can protect another person at all times without making that person a prisoner. Check out your own feelings of vulnerability, anxiety, shame, embarrassment, fear, guilt, anger, and loss of control over your own life.

Give yourself credit

For what you’ve already done and become knowledgeable about child sexual abuse. Accurate information helps parents overcome feelings of isolation, guilt, anger, grief, shame, and embarrassment. Know that children rarely lie about sexual assault and tend to minimize, not exaggerate the facts. Know how frequent child abuse is, that children are often not able to tell in words, and that offenders are usually well known to the family. 

Abuse is motivated by a need for power and control. Coercion is almost always an element. Abusers are usually self-centered, don’t know or care how much psychological harm their behavior causes, and plan their sexual contacts carefully in advance. Abusers depend on their victims to meet their emotional needs and to “keep it a secret.” Abusing children allows him to feel like a powerful person instead of a victim. However, they are still responsible for the abuse they inflict on children and need help to change that behavior and those abusive attitudes. Many sexual abusers were victims of sexual abuse themselves as children.

Teach Children to recognize sexual abuse

Follow these links:

http://www.hawaii.edu/hivandaids/Keeping%20Children%20Safe%20From%20Sexual%20Abuse.pdf

http://www.utextension.utk.edu/publications/wfiles/w021.pdf

 

 

Adapted from:

 http://www1.umn.edu/aurora/pdf/ChildhoodSexualAbuse.pdf

http://www.pcain.org/sexual_abuse.asp

For more statistical analysis refer http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/saycrle.pdf

29 Responses to “Recognize Child Sexual Abuse”

  1. nowittyusernameleftforme January 2, 2013 at p01 #

    Hi, I registered with the site just so that I could comment on this article….I love that you have written about this all too “taboo” topic…high time people talk about it and acknowledge the damage it does to the hapless children…my husband had been abused by his own mother for years and carried/s? huge guilt thinking he was to blame..the ill effects are life altering and last forever if untreated

    @nowittyusernameleftforme,

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe sapce.
    First step to recovery is to accept this bad thing happened and then seek help how to heal.
    Please seek appropriate help for your partner and let him know it was not his fault he was a child and responsibility lay with the adults. But now he is a grown up and if he doesn’t seek help then responsibility rests with him.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  2. Atheist Indian April 22, 2012 at p04 #

    The problem with abuse in Asian cultures is the taboo surrounding sexuality. Children who are abused can’t talk to their parents about it, because of a false sense of modesty. Such an environment gives abusers a free run because they know no kid will complain or fight against it.

    @Atheist Indian,

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Sorry it took DG to approve your comments, she needed time to read and respond. She’ll go through all comments one by one so please bear with her.

    It is not just the taboo surrounding sexuality that makes children vulnerable to sexual abuse it is also lack of vocabulary to name the private parts and acts that prevents kids from speaking up. There is so much shame associated with unmentionable human anatomy that not just kids but even adult rape survivors have difficulty naming the act. If you can’t name it how are you suppose to report it.

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  3. Haresh April 5, 2011 at p04 #

    Quite informative :-)

    Keep up the good work!

    Thank you Haresh. Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    DG

    Like this

  4. Smitha April 4, 2011 at p04 #

    DG, That was a fantastic post. A must read for all parents.

    Thank you. Please share with others. :)

    Like this

  5. Deeps April 2, 2011 at p04 #

    Kudos for this post, DG! As always, you’ve touched upon a very relevant and an extremely informative subject. This is such a serious issue which unfortunately doesnt get addressed as fiercely as it should.

    Agree with each and every point you’ve raised here. It is so important for our children to have that assurance that they will get all the support and love they need and NOT blamed or made to feel guilty for their fears.

    Oh I cant bear to think of a day when my daughter will stop sharing her experiences and anxieties with me. I just hope that day never comes.

    Loved this post, DG. Sharing it on FB.

    Thank you.

    Like this

  6. sukanya April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    kudos….very informative and useful pointers thank you!

    @sukanya,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  7. UmaS April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    Very informative post….thanks for all those tips and guides. So many people coming forward to talk on this topic, is certainly going to help a many, is my strong belief.

    @UmaS,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  8. goofy mumma April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    Very informative and well reserched post. Loved reading it, and learning so much.

    @goofy mumma,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hopw with anyone whomay benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  9. Roop Rai April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    Great job! I completely agree with you that parents best explain the reasons for their actions to their kids as opposed to just ‘protect’ them.

    Thanks. Neck in the sand attitude only aggrevates the problem.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    DG

    Like this

  10. Writerzblock April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    Excellent post. Hats off to you. This is the sentence that stays in my mind after reading the entire post.

    Possible outcome: ‘Loss of self-respect’

    It might sound ordinary for some, but it is a HUGE loss, and one that affects every other angle of the child’s life.

    @Writerzblock,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  11. Bharti April 1, 2011 at p04 #

    That indeed is a great learning source. Thanks.
    Being a mom – I am learning ways to teach all this to my daughter and deal with this.

    @Bharti,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  12. csaawarenessmonth March 31, 2011 at p03 #

    this post is scheduled for cross posting on 1st… thanks DG great information in this post

    Can we please request u to insert our logo and link back to us?

    @csaawarenessmonth,

    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Yes, please do link this post.
    How and where do I insert GGTS logo (flower) and link please let me know.
    Also there is this blog by a CSA survivor http://nolongeraslave.wordpress.com/ please include her too in your advocacy efforts.

    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • nolongeraslave March 31, 2011 at p03 #

      Thanks for the recognition, DG. :) You’re awesome.

      Thank you dear, yours is a voice that needs to be heard loud and clear in the desi mad house :)

      Like this

      • csaawarenessmonth April 1, 2011 at p04 #

        nolongerslave

        that blog is wonderful we will link it in our resources, also wanted to get in touch with u to see if we can do something for this month jointly but ur posts have comments off. Could u pls mail us at csa.awareness.april@gmail.com ?

        thanks

        Like this

    • csaawarenessmonth April 1, 2011 at p04 #

      DG

      u can pick up the logo from our blog’s side bar I dont have ur email id else I would have sent it to u

      thanks for the reco of the blog will check it out now

      Like this

  13. Lurker January 6, 2011 at p01 #

    I’m an Indian incest survivor who wrote a blog post about promiscuous Indians. Promiscuous Indians are survivors of sexual abuse acting on their pain. It’s sad how nobody pays attention.

    http://sexualabuseindians.blogspot.com/2011/01/promiscuous-indian-coping-with-pain-of.html

    @Lurker,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.

    Acknowledging something bad happened is the first step towards healing. Hope you are seeking help. It is a long journey of reclaiming your life. Always remember what happened is a past and you were a child. People who were spoused to protect you failed to do their job. But now you are a grown up and you are incharge of your body and life.

    Yes, research has shown sexually abused children become promiscuous adults. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2372/is_4_36/ai_58459540/

    DG was planning to do a post on incest and denial now when you have a blog dedicated to the issue DG wishes you all the best and feel free to discuss any topics you wish. Feel at home at GGTS. :) Will definitely read your post. Congratulations for breaking the silence. Silence isolates and gives abusers power to control.

    Desi Girl sends you lots of kind thoughts and healing energy. Don’t wait claim your life and your share of happiness.

    Peace,

    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • Lurker January 7, 2011 at p01 #

      Thanks Desi girl! I would love to see you post on incest and denial. Your kind words mean very much to me. Yes, I’m on my journey to reclaiming my power..Blogging is definitely a form of healing.

      Like this

  14. fakeindianbbahu October 5, 2010 at p10 #

    I like your posts very much , specially some of your top rated ones
    Do read my blogs too, I am sure you will like them…

    fakeindianbbahu.wordpress.ocm

    @fakeindianbahu,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Thanks for acknowledgement. I did see your post on breast cancer awareness for the breast cancer awareness month. Keep it up.
    Please do share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.

    PS: Why Fake Indian Bahu/ Why not authentic/real Indian Bahu? :)

    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

    • fakeindianbbahu February 4, 2011 at p02 #

      Hi because “B” is to confuse people with Bollywood Big “B” Bahu …;-) Thats why I am fake…

      Well thanks for reading my post.
      fakeindianbbahu.wordpress.com

      Like this

  15. Nikki September 25, 2010 at p09 #

    wonderful post !!!!

    @Nikki,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  16. Bhavia September 24, 2010 at p09 #

    A WONDERFUL post GGTS..

    I remember my Mom not letting my bro and I sit on anybody’s lap.We were taught to decline it with a smile.Also we were not allowed to go out with any of the relatives without Dad or Mom.but then it took years to know the real reason.

    @Bhavia,
    Yeh I remember similar instructions to my brother and I while growing up. Our parents use to lock the door from outside when they went out for a walk in the evening. It felt bad then cause we didn’t understand but today it feels that was a smart thing to do.
    It would help children if parents explained why they are saying what they are saying. Parents have to learn to verbalize the concept of good touch and bad touch and other body related issues. The notion of shame induces guilt and breeds more ignorance and crime.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  17. S.R.Ayyangar September 23, 2010 at p09 #

    A thought provoking and informative post to be read by everyone.

    @S.R. Ayyangar,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  18. Dhakkanz September 23, 2010 at p09 #

    Very useful man!

    @Dhakkanz,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe sapce.
    No man! Woman indeed :) .
    Please share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

  19. Shrinath Vashishtha September 23, 2010 at p09 #

    Very useful and significant content about the deadly sin indeed… Well-done! We need to do this more often in order to raise more of awareness and effective response from all corners.

    Like this

  20. zephyr September 22, 2010 at p09 #

    That was very useful compilation and much needed in this time and age when child abuse is finally coming out of the closet and crying for help.

    Do read my post on this subject at http://wp.me/p10wLZ-7U

    @zephyr,
    Welcome to GGTS, a safe space.
    Sure, will read your post at leisure.
    Please do share this message of hope with anyone who may benefit.
    Peace,
    Desi Girl

    Like this

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. RESULTS: Tejaswee Rao Blogging Awards – 2011 | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker - December 26, 2011

    [...] Recognize Child Sexual Abuse – Desi Girl [...]

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  2. The murder of innocence « Lonely In Space - April 1, 2011

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  3. Child Sexual Abuse Awareness « Verbal Blasphemy - April 1, 2011

    [...] is an excellent blog-post on a summary of CSA. Please take the time to read the blog post and keep the points in mind. I strongly urge that you [...]

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  4. Recognize Child Sexual Abuse by Desi Girl « CSA Awareness Month - April 1, 2011

    [...] Read the full post here [...]

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The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

My life and everything that touches it....

Kafila

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