Child sexual abuse

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A teenage boy who was sexually abused and murdered, image from about 1910
Drawing showing the sexual abuse of children, from 1909.

Child sexual abuse is a kind of child abuse when an adult or someone else with power makes a child do any kind of sexual activities.[1] In most cases, the position of power is important. The child is either unwilling or unable to consent. Children below the age of consent are unable to consent. In some cases activities such as kissing and hugging may be included.[2]

Sexual abuse does emotional harm to children. Some of the effects do not show right away, and appear when the child has grown up. These effects can include depression,[3] post-traumatic stress disorder,[4] anxiety,[5] borderline personality disorder, a higher chance of later abuse,[6] and physical injury.[7] Suicide is one of the effects with victims being six times more likely to commit suicide and eight times more likely to attempt suicide over and over again throughout their lives.

There are different types of offenders. When a child is sexually abused by a family member, it is called "incest," and causes even more serious long-term psychological trauma than abuse by a stranger, especially when the incest is done by a parent.[8] Child sexual abuse may committed by pedophiles (adults who are sexually attracted to children have not begun puberty) or by people who are not pedophiles; there are different reports on the number who are or are not pedophiles.[9][10][11]

Child sexual abuse is not rare. Around a quarter of all women and a tenth of all men were sexually abused when they were children.[12][13][14][15] Different places in the world have different rates of child sexual abuse. Disabled children are more likely to be sexually abused than non-disabled children. For most children who are sexually abused, the person who abused them is somebody that they know. Around a third of child sexual abuse is by a relative of the child, most often fathers, uncles or cousins. Only around a tenth of child sexual abuse cases were abused by strangers, and the rest are other people whom the child knows such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors. Men are the offenders in most child sexual abuse; women are the offenders in around 10% of the cases.[12]

References[change | change source]

  1. Committee on Professional Practice and Standards (COPPS), Board of Professional Affairs (BPA), American Psychological Association (APA) (August 1999). Catherine Acuff, Ph.D.; Steven Bisbing, Ph.D.; Michael Gottlieb, Ph.D.; Lisa Grossman, Ph.D.; Jody Porter, Ph.D.; Richard Reichbart, Ph.D.; Steven Sparta, Ph.D.; and C. Eugene Walker, Ph.D. "Guidelines for Psychological Evaluations in Child Protection Matters". American Psychologist. 54 (8): 586–593. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.54.8.586. Retrieved 2008-05-07. Abuse, sexual (child): generally defined as contacts between a child and an adult or other person significantly older or in a position of power or control over the child, where the child is being used for sexual stimulation of the adult or other person. {{cite journal}}: Cite uses deprecated parameter |lay-source= (help); External link in |laysummary= (help); Unknown parameter |laydate= ignored (|lay-date= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |laysource= ignored (|lay-source= suggested) (help); Unknown parameter |laysummary= ignored (|lay-url= suggested) (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Martin, J., Anderson, J., Romans, S., et al. (1993). "Asking about child sexual abuse: methodological implications of a two-stage survey," Child Abuse and Neglect, 17, 383-392.
  3. Roosa M.W., Reinholtz C., Angelini P.J. (1999). "The relation of child sexual abuse and depression in young women: comparisons across four ethnic groups," Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology 27(1):65-76.
  4. Widom, S. (2007). Dumont K., Czaja, S. "A Prospective Investigation of Major Depressive Disorder and Comorbidity in Abused and Neglected Children Grown Up". Archives of General Psychiatry. 64 (1): 49. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.64.1.49.; lay summary
  5. Levitan, R. D., N. A. Rector, Sheldon, T., & Goering, P. (2003). "Childhood adversities associated with major depression and/or anxiety disorders in a community sample of Ontario: Issues of co-morbidity and specificity Archived 2020-03-05 at the Wayback Machine," Depression & Anxiety; 17, 34-42.
  6. Terri L. Messman-Moore & Patricia J. Long, "Child Sexual Abuse and Revictimization in the Form of Adult Sexual Abuse, Adult Physical Abuse, and Adult Psychological Maltreatment," 15 Journal of Interpersonal Violence 489 (2000).
  7. Dinwiddie S, Heath AC, Dunne MP, et al. (2000). "Early sexual abuse and lifetime psychopathology: a co-twin-control study." Psychological Medicine, 30:41–52
  8. Courtois, Christine A. (1988). Healing the Incest Wound: Adult Survivors in Therapy. W. W. Norton & Company. pp. p208. ISBN 0393313565. {{cite book}}: |pages= has extra text (help)
  9. Feelgood S, Hoyer J (2008). "Child molester or paedophile? Sociolegal versus psychopathological classification of sexual offenders against children". Journal of Sexual Aggression. 14 (1): 33–43. doi:10.1080/13552600802133860.
  10. Seto, Michael (2008). Pedophilia and Sexual Offending Against Children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. p. vii.
  11. Blaney, Paul H.; Millon, Theodore (2009). Oxford Textbook of Psychopathology (Oxford Series in Clinical Psychology) (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press, USA. p. 528. ISBN 0-19-537421-5. Some cases of child molestation, especially those involving incest, are committed in the absence of any identifiable deviant erotic age preference.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Julia Whealin, Ph.D. (May 22, 2007). "Child Sexual Abuse". National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, US Department of Veterans Affairs. Archived from the original on September 8, 2008. Retrieved June 5, 2008.
  13. David Finkelhor (summer/fall 1994). "Current Information on the Scope and Nature of Child Sexual Abuse" (PDF). The Future of Children. (1994) 4(2): 31-53. {{cite journal}}: Check date values in: |date= (help)
  14. Family Research Laboratory
  15. Kevin M. Gorey and Donald R. Leslie. "The prevalence of child sexual abuse: Integrative review adjustment for potential response and measurement biases". Child Abuse & Neglect. Elsevier Science Ltd. Volume 21, Issue 4, April 1997: pp391-398. doi:10.1016/S0145-2134(96)00180-9. Archived from the original on 2010-08-13. Retrieved 2008-06-05. {{cite journal}}: |volume= has extra text (help); |pages= has extra text (help)CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)

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