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Sunday, 21 Apr 2019

What Is Sex Abuse

First, it is critical to note that no one is immune to child sex abuse. It affects children of every gender, age, race, ethnicity, background, socioeconomic status and family structure. Many children who are sexually abused suffer silently into adulthood, failing to report the abuse out of fear and shame and/or unfounded guilt. Victims carry the guilt for years, which very often affects their personalities and social interactions. Victims often become withdrawn and introverted, or even become abusers themselves.

Child sexual molestation or abuse is any sexual activity initiated by a peer or adult without the consent of the child and includes physical, visual or verbal stimuli. Simply put, sex abuse often includes the violation of trust and a misuse of power, and regardless of the intent of an offender, when it comes to the law, child sex abuse is as much verbal as it is nonverbal, as much contact as it is noncontact. Whatever form inappropriate sexual behavior towards a child assumes, the law is very clear in prohibiting and criminalizing among other things:

·         Any sexual act between an adult and a minor

·         Sex between two minors when one exerts power over the other

·         Forcing, coercing or persuading a child to engage in any type of sexual act

Non contact forms of abuse includes:

·         Exhibitionism: (exposing genitalia to minors)

·         Exposure to pornography

·         Voyeurism

·         Communicating in a sexual manner by phone or Internet

Intent vs Reality

The intent of the offender is of no consequence in determining child sex abuse.  In fact, many offenders become skilled in communicating their intent as harmless, even playful and fun. The victim’s reality and perception are critical to identifying inappropriate sexual contact.

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