Childhood Sexual Abuse is an abuse of power. It involves sexual activity forced upon a child by either an adult or an older, more powerful child. Because the victims are powerless to stop the abuse and aren’t old enough to understand what is happening, they frequently suffer deep emotional damage even if there’s no physical damage. There doesn’t have to be intercourse or sexual "touching" for abuse to have occured. Children who are forced to watch sexual activity, listen to sexual language, or view pornographic material may be damaged by the experience. Abusers come from all races, economic classes, male, female, family member, religious figure, teacher, youth worker, medical worker, etc, etc and cannot otherwise be identified except by those they have abused.
Most abusers tell their victim that whatever happened should be kept secret. They may say that no one else will believe the story, that the child will be blamed for causing the sexual activity, or give threats (fabricated, such as threatening to harm the child's pet; or, semi-realistic: "You'll be taken away and put in a foster home if you tell.") Especially when the abuser is someone the child/teen trusted, that trust doesn't die immediately; love or loyalty brings a desire not to get their abuser in trouble. Sexual abuse may have gone on for years before a victim decides to disclose what is happening, or they may not tell until after it ends, if ever. Parents and others working with children and teens need to be open to hearing, or they will not be trusted with the child's feelings. It is also fairly common to avoid thinking about the abuse because it is too painful, especially when it goes on for a long time; people really do forget that they were abused, but it is forgetting on purpose, a defense mechanism. Even while abuse is taking place, some people are able to dissociate and go into a near-trance or pretend that they are somewhere else. This dissociation can remain with the victin for many years in one form or another. It is an escape. There are cases where the abuse was so traumatic that the victim will almost dissapear and dissociated "alters" will take their place.
Of course, some effects happen whether there was a trust bond to break or not. Physical harm can certainly result from sexual abuse, especially if it involved penetration of a small child (with genitals or objects), but the emotional harm is longer-lasting. The feelings of discomfort, confusion, shame etc associated with those abusive sexual acts don't just go away because one has grown older and found a non-abusive sexual partner; as I write this it's been thirty two years since "the grandfather" last molested me and I still flinch from touches that remind me of his. Having sexual acts forced onto you at a young age can teach many unhealthy lessons: that you are only good for sex and don't deserve to be treated well; that sex is the only way to get attention or affection, that people are not be trusted; that it's OK to use people as you were used; that sex is dirty and secret and shame over being involved in it; that you are powerless and cannot stop being used by others; that you are not safe unless you purposely make yourself unattractive; that the only thing that you have control over is the way your body looks; guilt from feeling as if you didn't do enough to stop the abuse or for any parts that were physically enjoyable; and other items. It's not surprising that people who go into therapy for what seem to be unrelated issues end up dealing with past sexual abuse; it can affect all of one's relationships with people. My most recent memories and problems only came to light after seeking therapy for depression caused by the affect of the global recession and ill health on my life. Nothing to do with abuse at all. Being in a safe environment allowed the abuse memoreis to surface.
More attention is usually given to abused females, but as these statistics show, males are also sexually abused. Whilst 80% to 90% of abusers are male, but there are female abusers of both boys and girls; those who are abused by women often are even more reluctant to disclose the abuse because it does not fit the stereotypes. However, this does not mean that abused boys do not show aftereffects, and until recently they have had substantially more difficulty finding resources to help themselves than those abused as girls have. Male victims of male abusers also have the added difficulty of society's homophobia to deal with; they worry that being abused by a member of the same sex has made them gay (even if they aren't now and have never been attracted to the same sex). This sometimes leads to their becoming homophobic as a way of trying to prove to themselves and others that they aren't gay. (In fact, most male abusers of males consider themselves to be heterosexual.)
Sexually abused children frequently show changes in behaviour, including: apparent personality changes (happy child is suddenly depressed); physical complaints such as stomachaches; nightmares; reluctance to go to certain places or have certain people around; regressive behavior (acting younger than they are); and playing sexually with dolls or playmates. Teens who are being abused often run away. Of course, physical signs such as injury to the genitalia are even more obvious, but the behavioral changes are definitely prompting for a parent or other authority figure to ask the child about the possibility of abuse. If abuse of any kind is reported to you, believe what you are hearing. It is extremely rare for children to lie about having been sexually abused (why would a child make up something so painful and difficult to deal with?) Reassure the child that it is not their fault, thank them for their trust in you, and explain that the abuse needs to be reported to authorities to stop the abuser from hurting others. Sometimes the story is retracted under pressure from the abuser (or family) or to avoid the difficulties of a formal investigation -- this does not generally mean that it was originally a lie, merely that the child/adolescent wants to keep things from getting worse than just the abuse by itself.
It is estimated that for every reported incident of abuse that 10 more go unreported....
The following is "borrowed" from the NSPCC website.
A significant minority of children suffer serious abuse or neglect, according to NSPCC research:
•Three-quarters (72%) of sexually abused children did not tell anyone about the abuse at the time. 27% told someone later. Around a third (31%) still had not told anyone about their experience(s) by early adulthood.
•In 2008/09, police in England and Wales recorded more than 21,000 sex offences against children.
•In 2009/10, ChildLine counsellors dealt with over 500,000 contacts from children calling about various problems including, bullying, sex abuse, violence and mental health issues.
CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE HAS TO STOP. UNLESS WE ACT, UNLESS WE STAND UP AND BE COUNTED, UNLESS WE PETITION OUR GOVERNMENTS FOR MORE ACTION, MORE FUNDING, UNLESS WE ENSURE FULL AND ACCURATE MEDIA REPORTING THEN IT WILL NEVER STOP.
Statistics only come from reporting, so we don’t have accurate, objective numbers. But based on the reports available, it’s believed that 1 in 3 girls have been sexually abused , and a general consensus of 1 in 5 to 1 in 7 boys ARE sexually abused.
THIS HAS TO STOP. WE HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY, WE HAVE THE ABILITIES, WE HAVE OUR VOICES. THE TIME FOR SILENCE IS OVER.
32% of ALL reported sexual crimes (54,982 sexual crimes in total) in Eng and Wales in 10/11 were sexual crimes against children under 16.
DOES IT HAVE TO HAPPEN TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW BEFORE YOU DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? LETS BE FRANK HERE, IT PROBABLY HAS HAPPENED TO SOMEONE YOU KNOW.