Sexual Abuse Signs: Physical signs
physical trauma such as redness, rashes, and/or bleeding to oral, genital and/or anal areas bruises on breasts, buttocks, lower abdomen, thighs, genital and/or rectal areas complaints of pain or itching in genital or anal areas difficulty walking or sitting unusual or offensive body odours difficulty in bladder or bowel control constipation pain or discomfort on urination blood in urine abnormal dilation of vaginal or rectal openings foreign bodies in vaginal, rectal or urethral openings sexually transmitted diseases found vaginally, rectally or orally yeast or bacterial infections frequent sore throats; difficulty swallowing; choking ear infections/problems (see Ear infections as a sign of sexual abuse? at Ask Darlene on this site for the reason why this can be a sign) sudden weight gain or extreme weight loss severe psychosomatic complaints such as stomachaches and headaches
Emotional Abuse Signs:
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aggression temper tantrums fights with peers and siblings bullying tactics frustrates easily disobedience lying and cheating destructive behaviours impulsive behaviours argumentative loud tease excessively worry excessively withdrawn
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withdrawn passive approval-seeking compliant frustrates easily infinite patience clinging to adults overly dependent stubborn tease excessively worry excessively somatic complaints
85% of runaways in Toronto are sexual abuse victims (Conference on Child Victimization & Child Offending. it was found that child sexual abuse victims have a tendency to deny or belittle the experience (Sjoberg & Lindbland. pp. the more trapped in the abuse the child or youth sexual abuse victims become. Girls whose mothers were
. 1413-14153). which is one of the most common and effective ways children deal with abuse ¤ they label themselves--sexual abuse victims believe they deserve the abuse and that it's their fault. they
become super-alert and eager to please Though these coping skills are self-destruction. Adolescents with a history of sexual abuse are significantly more likely than their counterparts to engage in sexual behaviour that puts them at risk for HIV (Brown et al.
¤ sexual abuse victims forget that the abuse ever took place. 2000...312-314 1). Survival means learning to adapt to the abuse in a variety of ways:
¤ sexual abuse victims minimize the abuse by pretending that whatever is happening is not
really bad--this can take the form of a tough sense of humour
¤ they rationalize the abuse by explaining it away--they blame the abuse on the offender's
drinking. A study which inspected the strength of different risk factors for childhood sexual abuse among 179 pre-adolescent girls found that maternal sexual abuse history combined with maternal drug use placed daughters at the most elevated risk. they are highly effective: they help numb the pain and get the child or youth through each day.How Victims Adapt:
The longer the secret continues. drug use. 2002. etc. Nothing can be further from the truth! ¤ they become controlling--sexual abuse victims try to control themselves and others. 20002). telling themselves the offender is showing them love
¤ they deny that the abuse ever took place
FACT: When children's self reports of sexual abuse were compared to video tapes of the incident on film apprehended from the perpetrator. they develop a twisted sense of love.
p. p.sexual abuse victims were 3. The incidence of child sexual abuse was 1. 1988. and speech or language delay or impairment (Barnett et al. Child sexual abuse victims are seven times more likely to become drug/alcohol dependent (Conference on Child Victimization & Child Offending.
Similarities between male and female sexual abuse victims based on a study of 401 child sexual abuse cases:
51% 48% 81% 32% 43% 20% 21% 8% 56% Becker. 2000. 20006). The most common disabilities noted included emotional disturbance.6 times more likely to be victimized (McClosky & Bailey. 495 ). 20007 ). 1019-10364). 1997.8 times higher among children with disability compared to the incidence among children without disability. Child sexual abuse victims are ten times more likely to attempt suicide (Conference on Child Victimization & Child Offending. learning disability.. 1948
37% 50% 70% 18% 47% 13% 42% 31% 28%
¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤
threatened with physical harm physical force used under 12 years old under 6 years old abused over time multiple offenders residing with offender abused by parent or parent surrogate abused by juveniles
. physical health problems. pp.
women in staggering numbers have sought help to deal with their childhood sexual abuse horrors. Child and youth victims who were sexually assaulted by family members were on average 9 years old compared to 12 years old for victims of non-family members (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. 38% of these cases were substantiated (Trocme.35 ). A sexual abuse statistics study done on female prisoners showed that 80% were victims of childhood physical or sexual abuse (Conference on Child Victimization & Child Offending. Nico & Wolfe. and I'm not just referring to the physical and mental health consequences of these young people. sexual abuse was the primary reason cited in 10% of all child maltreatment investigations (135. David. intact families (B. p.Sexual abuse statistics were extremely difficult to obtain until the 1970s when women began to talk about their childhood experiences. Sexual abuse is a significant component of the history behind:
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sex offenders substance abusers prisoners prostitutes runaways
Canadian Sexual Abuse Statistics:
In one sexual abuse statistics study done by Social Services Agencies in Canada in 1998.1115-11252 ). As a society. pp. love and trust have committed incestual acts.573). Since that time. 2001. 2001. victims of sexual abuse were members of stable. Families have been forced to confront the fact that people they know. Professionals are just beginning to understand the ramifications this childhood sexual abuse has on the victims. Men are only beginning to disclose that they too were victims of sexual abuse as children. 20023 ).
. we all pay dearly for the victimization of our children and youth. Institute Against Family Violence. 2000 4). 3 and 241 ).C. 2000. In 30% of 30 occurrences studies. p. Another sexual abuse statistics study revealed that young women who had not participated in a school abuse prevention program in childhood were about twice as likely to have experienced child sexual abuse as those who had participated in a prevention program (Gibson & Leitenberg.
almost 25% were younger than 7 years (Alliance of Five Research Centres on Violence. claiming sexual.000 lawsuits have been filed against the Canadian Federal Government. 50% were under 14 years of age. 1999 7). 1994.
Clinical and anecdotal evidence suggests that the incidence of sexual abuse among Canada's native peoples is as high as 80% (Kingsley & Mark.
More than 7. Churches and school staff have been named as codefendants (Woodard. physical and cultural abuse suffered at Residential Schools. 786).Cases of sexual abuse have a higher proportion of multiple abusers than do other abuses (Statistics Canada.
Some Aboriginal Sexual Abuse Statistics
75% of Aboriginal girls under the age of 18 were sexually abused. 20009). 75% of Aboriginal victims of sex crimes were females under 18 years of age. 2000 8).
attempt suicide.Most sexual abuse disclosures are delayed. The children learn not to complain. other destructive and delinquent behaviours that child sexual abuse victims may display. FACT: Sorenson and Snow (19914 ) found that almost three-quarters of children studied did not reveal abuse when first questioned. the offender is removed from the home (when the perpetrator is a family member)." "It will never be your fault. fear. between 8% and 22% recant true allegations of sexual abuse (Elliot & Briere. But first-time sexual abuse disclosures may sound unconvincing."
. as sexually abused children run away. Don't be one of those adults that don't listen: LISTEN LISTEN then LISTEN some more! Sexual abuse steals childhood away from children and youth. thereby splitting the family further. become addicted to drugs and alcohol. able-bodied or disabled in some way. According to Summit (1983 5): The lie "confirms adult expectations that children cannot be trusted. secrets are often revealed. It restores the precarious equilibrium of the family. female. and may go on to sexually abuse other children and youth. Sorenson & Snow. Adolescents who disclose may be wracked with guilt. And when we do receive sexual abuse disclosures from children. During this time. we need to the child or youth: "I believe you. Adolescence is a time for developing independence. confusion. They feel profound pain and experience overwhelming loss. If there are no supports and effective intervention of the sexual abuse. Add to that. As a society. and 18% waited more than five years. the anxiety is intensified. often the threats the offender made to the child in order to keep the secret actually come true: the family splits apart or is divided. 1991 2 ). the youth's world begins to fall apart. The effects of sexual abuse clearly show that we pay dearly for this pain and loss. adolescents will retract sexual abuse disclosures. The adults learn not to listen" (p. Regardless of whether the child/youth is male. and anxiety. If adults invalidate the youth's disclosure. sexual abuse destroys the child's self-esteem and self-worth. And of those children and youth who do disclose.188)." "It's not your fault. And even if adults do believe. they are often riddled with anxieties and inconsistencies. 19941. We owe it to our children and youth to believe and understand them when they disclose sexual abuse. The coping skills that helped them survive are the very things that now alter their memory and perceptions. it translates into adults invalidating the disclosure. FACT: Elliot and Briere (19943) found that 75% of children did not disclose within a year of the first incident. we must set our biases aside.
. 2001. the alleged perpetrators were baby-sitters (Trocme & Wolfe. parent figure. can be inperson. other relative. This includes incest.
Definition of Sexual Abuse: Non-Contact
forced to watch sexual acts forced to listen to sexual talk.136). etc. and 1% were spouses (Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. 39% of the perpetrators were parents. 2001. Notably.20 3). p..The definition of sexual abuse with children is when an older child. a youth or an adult uses a child or youth for his or her own sexual gratification. 20022). Under the definition of sexual abuse there are two categories: non-contact and contact. p. can be verbal. photographs. 2001. FACT: Alleged perpetrators were equally likely to be a biological father or stepfather (Trocme & Wolfe. sexually intrusive questions or comments. vagina. genital area (vulva. or other significant person in the child's family life. Incest with children is when the child is sexually violated by a parent. tapes. p. and mouth FACT: An adult exposing genitals to a child accounted for 12% of substantiated abuse cases (Trocme & Wolfe. pp. on the computer via e-mails. including kissing FACT: Touching and fondling of the genitals was the most common form of substantiated abuse cases--69% of the cases (Trocme & Wolfe. 28% were members of the extended family. 2001. FACT: Of sexual assaults on children/youth by their family members reported to Canadian police in 2000. Author's Note: Proper terms are used in the following section. and obscene phone calls sexually explicit material such as videos. or in notes
Definition of Sexual Abuse: Contact
being touched and fondled in sexual areas. including comments. DVDs. and otherwise through the Internet forced to look at sexual parts of the body--includes buttocks. scrotum). FACT: Most alleged perpetrators of sexual abuse were either "other" relatives (44% of the cases) or non-relatives (29%). magazines.13 5). anus. very few substantiated cases involved a stranger (2%) (Trocme & Wolfe. p. breasts. penis. 2001. FACT: In 7% of substantiated cases of child sexual abuse. 32% were siblings. on the computer.214).
p. tongue and penis) FACT: Attempted and completed intercourse accounted for 35% of substantiated abuse cases (Trocme & Wolfe. penetration must occur. penetration can be with body parts and/or objects (the most common body parts used are the fingers. 2001. many children believe that oral sex is "talking dirty" forced intercourse--can be vaginally.forcing a child or youth to touch another person's sexual areas forced oral sex--oral sex is when the mouth comes in contact with the penis. anally or orally. the vagina or the anus.137).
1991 5). pp. FACT: At least 2 million children worldwide are affected by the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. FACT: Historical Canadian data on child sex abuse shows that approximately one-third of all substantiated cases had previously been reported as allegations of forms of abuse other than sexual (Thomlison et al.32). & Wolfe. 2001. 2001.573) made by Social Services Agencies in Canada in 1998 (Trocme. Offenders use intimidation and threats to keep the child from telling. FACT: 38% of the above cases were substantiated (Trocme. 597-6103 ). guilt and fear. FACT: Sexual abuse was the primary reason cited in 10% of all child maltreatment investigations (137. 2000 4). FACT: Clincial and anecdotal evidence suggests that the incidence of sex abuse among Canada's native peoples is as high as 80% (Kingsley & Mark.31). but the number one reason children and youth don't tell is that they are afraid they won't be believed. p. males are much less likely to disclose. The average age at which children are initiated into CSEC is 13 or 14 years of age (Barnitz..
. p.Sexual abuse of children and youth is shrouded in secrecy. & Wolfe. Though there is widespread under-reporting of child molestation by both male and female victims. 2001.