SEXUAL ABUSE: (As reportable under The Child Abuse/ Neglect Law): The use, persuasion, inducement, enticement, or coercion of any child, under the age of 18, to engage in, or having a child assist any other person to engage in, any sexually explicit conduct by those responsible for the child’s care, custody, and control.
How do I know if it’s really sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse can involve any of the following:
The statistics are shocking:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the internet.
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults occur to children ages 17 and under.
- 30-40% of survivors are abused by a family member, another 50% are abused by someone they know, but only 10% are abused by strangers.
- An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.
What should I do if I have been sexually abused? Children/teens should tell someone they can trust — a parent, teacher, police officer, or call Protective Services in their county. You may also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE.
What are some dangers?
- Sexual abuse may lead to loss of trust, lowered self esteem, and development of shame, guilt, anxiety and depression.
- In severe cases it can lead to eating disorders, self abuse, substance abuse, suicide, promiscuity/prostitution, and other psycho-behavioral issues.
What does treatment involve? Since most sexual abuse survivors are traumatized and often suffering from PTSD, best treatments include coping/skills-focused treatments, cognitive therapy, and EMDR which may combine eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing. As with most frightening events, a survivor may never forget the incident(s), but can learn new ways of coping effectively.
Submitted by Lindsay Cooper, LLMSW, Wentworth & Associates
If you are in crisis please call 1-800-273-8255 to speak to someone 24/7.