F a c t s  &  B a c k g r o u n d

Q: What is child sexual abuse?

A– Child Sexual abuse usually involves physical contact between an adult and a child such as inappropriate touching, kissing, fondling, rubbing, or penetration of the vagina or anus. A sex offender may receive gratification by exposing himself to a child, or by observing or filming a child removing his or her clothes

Q: How common is sexual abuse among children of different ages?

A– Sexual abuse affects both boys and girls. Millions of children across all social, ethnic, religious, and cultural groups around the world have been sexually abused. In America 1 in 6 girls are believed to be victims of sexual abuse and 1 in 21 boys

Q: Are any particular children at increased risk?

A– All children are vulnerable.  Sex offenders may target children who suffer emotional, developmental, or physical challenges, because they are less likely to tell

Q: Who are the most common perpetrators?

 A–  Majority are male.  There is no clear –cut profile of a sex offender. They are usually known and trusted by their victims. They may be a parent, sibling, cousin or family friend, neighbor, babysitter, teacher, coach or older peer.

 Q: Is there any way to prevent abuse?

A–  Child sexual abuse breeds in secrecy. Speaking openly and publicly about sexual abuse helps raise awareness.

  • Educate children their bodies belong to them.
  • Teach which touching between an adult and a child is ok and which is not.
  • Let children know they don’t have to go along with everything an adult tells them to do.
  • Teach children the proper names for their genitals.
  • Encourage children to talk to their parents about their bodies without embarrassment. 
  • Parents explain to their children that keeping the “not okay touching a secret is not ok.
  • When children are brave enough to disclose sexual abuse, ensure they are believed and Law enforcement is contacted.
  • Ensure all abused children receive effective medical and mental health care.
  • Help children to recover from the abuse and protect other children

Q: What is the psychological impact of child sexual abuse?

A–   The psychological impacts are:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety
  • Loss of trust
  • The child may be nervous and jumpy – have a heightened startle response
  • Sleep disturbances- insomnia, nightmaresor frequents awakenings
  • Re-experiencing – includes reactions to traumatic reminders: person, event, sight, smell, etc., connected to the abuse. For example, if the perpetrator had a beard, the child may feel frightened and uncomfortable, usually without knowing why, around any man with a beard. Even being touched by another person may become a traumatic reminder.
  • Sexual abuse can have a very serious impact on a child’s physical and mental health. Depending on the severity and number of traumas experienced. The more traumatic experiences one has, the more likely one is to have problems with substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and some chronic physical conditions.