What is Child Sexual Abuse?

“Child sexual abuse or child molestation is a form of abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation.   Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.) to a child with intent to gratify their own sexual desires, or to intimidate the child, physical sexual contact with a child, or using a child to produce pornography.”(rainn.org and wikipedia.org)
According to RAINN, sexual contact with a child can include fondling, exhibitionism, masturbation, intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, obscene phone calls, prostitution, pornography, and any other sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare.
Child sexual abuse may consist of a single incident or many acts over time. More often, this abuse is perpetrated by someone known to the child. Unfortunately, child sexual abuse usually escalates over time.
Many adults tend to overlook, to minimize, to explain away, or to disbelieve allegations of abuse. This may be particularly true if the perpetrator is a family member.
NOTE: The absence of force or coercion does not diminish the abusive nature of the conduct, but, sadly, it may cause the child to feel responsible for what has occurred.
There are physical warning signs to watch for in children including:
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Bloody, torn, or stained underclothes
  • Bleeding, bruises, or swelling in genital area
  • Pain, itching, or burning in genital area
  • Frequent urinary or yeast infections
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases,  especially if under 14 years old
  • Pregnancy, especially if under 14 years old
There are behavioral warning signs to watch for also including:
  • Reports sexual abuse
  • Inappropriate sexual knowledge
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Nightmares or bed-wetting
  • Large weight changes/major changes in appetite
  • Suicide attempts or self-harming, especially in adolescents
  • Shrinks away or seems threatened by physical contact
  • Runs away
  • Overly protective and concerned for siblings, assumes a caretaker role
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder or Rape Trauma Syndrome symptoms
Published with permission: The Abuse Expose’ with Secret Angel
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