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30: Childhood Sexual Abuse

Therapy Chat

Release Date: 04/29/2016

This is Part 2 of a series about Sexual Assault Awareness, and today’s focus is on Childhood Sexual Abuse. Let’s jump right into our topic!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Childhood Sexual Abuse is “a form of child abuse including sexual activity with a minor who is not capable of consenting.” Remember that a child CANNOT give consent to sexual activity!
  • Childhood Sexual Abuse is not always physical contact, but can include digital/online interaction, fondling, exhibitionism, child pornography, sex trafficking, and much more.
  • In 93% of cases, the sexual abuser of a child is someone known to the child or the family.
  • Most statistics under-represent the frequency of occurrence, but 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys will be sexually abused during childhood.
  • Up to 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males have been sexually abused during childhood.
  • Being abused makes it more likely to be sexually assaulted later in life.
  • Most offenders are male, with about 33% being juveniles.
  • There is a “grooming process” used by the abuser to draw the child into a sexual relationship, and usually, the abuser will fill roles of trust and value in the victim’s family.
  • The effects of childhood sexual abuse are emotional problems, mental health issues, behavioral problems, and academic problems.
  • The effects can also include PTSD, depression, anxiety, suicide, and eating disorders.
  • Many times these behaviors are not recognized as signs of sexual abuse.
  • Protect children by showing interest in their lives, knowing the people in their lives, and knowing caregivers especially well.
  • Background checks and the sex offender registry are NOT foolproof!
  • Know the warning signs, both physical and behavioral.
  • Know how to ask questions to the child and how to respond without judgment and blame.
  • Report abuse to the police or to Child Protective Services.
  • Call the Child Help National Abuse Hotline: 1-800-422-4453
  • Help is available at sexual abuse crisis centers. Visit centers.rainn.org and search by zip code.
  • Be sure to find a therapist with specific training in the field of sexual abuse. Not all therapists are qualified to help in all areas.
  • Other resources include: victimsofcrime.org and www.rainn.org.