Facts About Sexual Abuse

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:

*  Fear
– of the abuser
– of causing trouble
– of losing adults important to them
– of being taken away from home
– of being different

* Anger
– at the abuser
– at other adults around them who didn’t protect them
– at themselves (feeling as if they caused the problem)

* Isolation
– because “something is wrong with me”
– because they feel alone in their experience
– because they have trouble talking about the abuse

* Sadness
– 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

* Do’s

– Keep Calm
– Tell an adult you feel you can trust
– Believe the Child
– Give positive messages
– Explain
– Listen and answer the child
– Respect
– Be responsible
– Arrange a medical exam
– Get help

* Don’ts

– Panic or over react
– Pressure the child
– Confront the offender
– Blame the child

Behavioral Patterns

*  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
*  Depression
*  Anxiety
*  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”?