What is Sexual Abuse???
Many people believe that Sexual Abuse is just about physical sex, it is not!
Sexual Abuse can be physical, verbal, emotional, and can include:
* Sexual touching and fondling
* Exposing children to adult sexual activity or pornographic movies and/ or photographs.
* Having children pose, undress or perform in a sexual fashion on film or in person.
* “Peeping” into bathrooms or bedrooms to spy on children.
* Rape or attempted rape.
Facts of Sexual Abuse
* 1 in every 3 girls and 1 in every 4 guys are abused by the age of 18.
* Almost always the offender is a Male. He will molest an average of 17 youngsters, most of whom do not report the offense. The victim is likely to be a boy or girl that the offender knows.
* Approximately 35% of women and 20% of men in the US were victims of sexual abuse as children.
* 85% of child abuse takes place with a family member or friend in the home.
* Child Sexual abuse is reported up to 80,000 times a year, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell, and the legal procedure for validating the episode is difficult.
* Almost all of the children will be abused by someone they know and trust: a family member, family friend, or a caretaker.
* The abuse often begins gradually (fondling) and increases over time.
* Incestious behavior is not confined to sexual intercourse. Incest can include nudity, disrobing, genital exposure, kissing, fondling, digital penetration, and sodomy.
* Incest survives on secrecy. Most victims feel isolated from the rest of the world. The effects of incest are devastating. Short-term ones include behavioral problems, addictions, sexual promiscuity, and a sudden drop in grades. Long-term effects include anxiety, chronic depression, sleep disorders,
addictions, low self-esteem, suicidal urges, feelings of isolation, shame and guilt, and difficulty with sex and relationships.
Children who have been Sexually Abused feel many different and often overwhelming emotions including:
– of the abuser
– of causing trouble
– of losing adults important to them
– of being taken away from home
– of being different
– at the abuser
– at other adults around them who didn’t protect them
– at themselves (feeling as if they caused the problem)
– because “something is wrong with me”
– because they feel alone in their experience
– because they have trouble talking about the abuse
– about having something taken from them
– about losing a part of them
– about growing up too fast
– about being betrayed by someone they trusted
– about being involved in the experience
– about their body’s response to the abuse
– for not being able to stop the abuse
– for believing they “consented” to the abuse
– for telling (if they told)
– for keeping the secret (if they didn’t tell)
– because they may still love their abuser
– because their feelings change all the time.
What to do if you or someone you know is abused
– Keep Calm
– Tell an adult you feel you can trust
– Believe the Child
– Give positive messages
– Listen and answer the child
– Be responsible
– Arrange a medical exam
– Get help
– Panic or over react
– Pressure the child
– Confront the offender
– Blame the child
* Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
* Fear or dislike of certain places or people
* Sleep disturbances
* School problems
* Withdrawing from the family, friends, and unusual activities
* Poor hygiene
* Return to younger, more babyish behavior
* Discipline problems
* Running away
* Eating disorders
* Passive or overly pleasing behaviors
* Delinquent acts
* Low self-esteem
* Self-destructive behavior
* Hostility or Aggression
* Drug or alcohol problems
* Sexual activity or pregnancy at an early age
* Suicide attempts
Questions an abused person may be facing
* How do you feel about your own sexuality? About Sex?
* How do you feel about the abuser? Do you feel confusion for loving the abuser?
* Do you feel the abuse was your fault?
* Do you hate the person who abused you?
* Do you hate someone you feel should have protected you?
* Do you believe that there will be a time in your life when you’ll be able to trust again?…..when?
* (Guys) Do you feel that you may be homosexual because girls don’t “turn you on”?