sexual abuse

n. 1. The forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another, as by the use of threats or coercion. 2. Sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful, as between an adult and a minor or with a person of diminished mental capacity.

Sexual violence is defined as: 

any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person¶s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, [10] including but not limited to home and work.

Coercion can cover a whole spectrum of degrees of force. Apart from physical force, it may involve psychological intimidation, blackmail or other threats ± for instance, the threat of physical harm, of being dismissed from a job or of not obtaining a job that is sought. It may also occur when the person aggressed is unable to give consent ± for instance, while drunk, drugged, asleep or mentally incapable of understanding the situation. Sexual violence includes rape, defined by some as physically forced or otherwise coerced penetration of the vulva or anus, using a penis, other body parts or an object. The attempt to do so is known as attempted rape. Rape of a person by two or more perpetrators is known as gang rape. Sexual violence can include other forms of assault involving a sexual organ, including coerced contact between the mouth and penis, vulva or anus.

and contexts of sexual violence

A wide range of sexually violent acts can take place in different circumstances and settings. These include, for example: 

Rape by strangers; rape within marriage or dating relationships; systematic "war rape" during armed conflict; unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment, including demanding sex in return for favors; sexual abuse of mentally or physically disabled people; sexual abuse of children;



forced marriage or cohabitation, including the marriage of children; denial of the right to use contraception or to adopt other measures to protect against sexually transmitted diseases; forced abortion; violent acts against sexual integrity, including genital mutilation and obligatory inspections for virginity; forced prostitution and trafficking of people for the purpose of sexual exploitation.


Child Abuse:
"Try to imagine the humiliation and violation of a rape. Then imagine it as constant, unpredictable but inevitable. Now place it in the context of imprisonment. And finally, put it in the hands of a beloved caretaker -- while he says it's for you that he's doing it." E. Sue Blume on sexual abuse by caretakers in Secret Survivors Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a minor for the sexual gratification of someone else. This can include unwanted sexual touching, talking, showing the adult's genitals to the child or showing the child obscene materials, among other things. Exactly what constitutes sexual abuse is difficult to define; factors that help to place something in or out of the abuse category include the child/adolescent's ability to make an informed decision about participating in what went on, the child/adolescent's age, the older person's amount of power and intimidation over the younger one, and the laws of their locality. The abuser is not necessarily an adult; children can be abused by older children as well. (endive wanted to point out: "Although typically the abuser is older, many children are abused by someone in their own age group. Of these offenders, most were also victims of sexual abuse, but in many states there are little or no laws concerning treatment of young children with sexual behavior problems.") As E. Sue Blume puts it, "once touch has moved from safe, nondemanding affection to confusing, inappropriate sexuality, the damage is done." Child Abuse -- Fear In The Home calls sexual abuse "possibly the most devastating form of child abuse." Abusers come from all races, economic classes, and cannot otherwise be identified except by those they have abused. Those who have studied sexual abusers come up with quite different conclusions as to why they did it. However, the majority of child sexual abuse is done by someone known to the victim; it is usually NOT a stranger luring children or teens into private places, but someone who has an excuse for spending time with their prospective victim. Statistics differ as to exactly what percentage of sexual abuse is done by familiar people; the books I have used as sources give figures for the United States ranging from 75% to 95% of sexual abuse being done by someone known to the child. One book cites the American Humane Association's breakdown of sexual abusers into 42% who are a natural parent of the child, 23% who are some other bloodrelative, and 35% other (this included foster and step-parents). In these cases when sexual abuse is done by people the child or teenager knows, it violates a bond of trust between the young person and their family member, caretaker, teacher, coach, adult friend, or other close person, the trust that the older person will not use their physical strength or adult authority to hurt the young. Being used for another person's sexualgratification, with no real thought of what effect it may have on the one being so used, is unpleasant for adults; for someone too young to be emotionally ready for sex it can be traumatic. "A child who cannot refuse, or who believes that she cannot refuse, is a child who has been violated," says Blume, and children are taught to do what grownups tell them to, especially when it is supposedly because of love. Most abusers tell their victim that whatever happened should be kept secret. They may say that no one else will believe the story, that the child will be blamed for causing the sexual activity, or give threats (fabricated, such as threatening to harm the child's pet; or, semi-realistic: "You'll be taken

some people are able to dissociate and go into a near-trance or pretend that they are somewhere else. is forcing other kinds of touch on a 5th grader. and explain that the abuse needs to be reported to authorities to stop the abuser from hurting others. Years of being ordered.this does not generally mean that it was originally a lie. Several picture books on the subject exist (My Body Is Private. reluctance to go to certain places or have certain people around. who is doing something that makes them uncomfortable. Of course. that people are not be trusted. nightmares. Sexual abuse may have gone on for years before a victim decides to disclose what is happening. "N ow kiss Granddaddy good night" when you don't want to. males are also sexually abused. or they may not tell until after it ends. especially if it involved penetration of a small child (with genitals or objects). (However. and until recently they have had substantially more difficulty finding resources to help themselves than those abused as girls have.) and all emphasize . Parents and others working with children and teens need to be open to hearing.") Especially when the abuser is someone the child/teen trusted.) How can one prevent this kind of thing happening? The most important thing is to teach the child that they have the right to say no to anyone. most male abusers of males consider themselves to be heterosexual. but as these statistics show. even family or friend. regressive behavior (acting younger than they are). this does not mean that abused boys do not show aftereffects. If abuse of any kind is reported to you. that sex is dirty and secret and shame over being involved in it. that trust doesn't die immediately. those who are abused by women often are even more reluctant to disclose the abuse because it does not fit the stereotypes. Your Body Belongs To You. but there are female abusers of both boys and girls. that you are not safe unless you purposely make yourself unattractive. Sometimes the story is retracted under pressure from the abuser (or family) or to avoid the difficulties of a formal investigation -. it can affect all one's relationships with people. that you are powerless and cannot stop being used by others. because so little sexual abuse is actually done by strangers. This still doesn't mean they started out lying. It is extremely rare for children to lieabout having been sexually abused (why would a child make up something so painful and difficult to deal with?) Reassure the child that it is not their fault. All my sources agree that 80% to 90% of abusers are male. and other items. as I write this it's been fifteen years since my grandfather last molested me and I still flinch from touches that remind me of his. It is also fairly common to avoid thinking about the abuse because it is too painful. (In fact. believe what you are hearing. some effects happen whether there was a trust bond to break or not. that it's OK to use people as you were used. Of course. especially when it goes on for a long time.) Sexually abused children may show behavior changes. people really do forget that they were abused. if ever. Teens who are being abused often run away. It's not surprising that people who go into therapy for what seem to be unrelated issues end up dealing with past sexual or loyalty brings a desire not to get their abuser in trouble. or they will not be trusted with the child's feelings. This sometimes leads to their becoming homophobic as a way of trying to prove to themselves and others that they aren't gay. The feelings of discomfort and confusionassociated with those abusive sexual acts don't just go away because one has grown older and found a non-abusive sexual partner. and playing sexually with dolls or playmates. Blume's Secret Survivors says of her focus on women:"The aftereffects I describe are inextricably intertwined with the social experienc e and psychological training of women. young children have been shown to embellish the story if they have to tell it again and again. but the emotional harm is longer-lasting. etc. More attention is usually given to abused females. Even while abuse is taking place. or add things if they think it will please the interviewer. that the only thing that you have control over is the way your body looks. including: apparent personality changes (happy child is suddenly depressed). or somebody else. physical complaints such as stomachaches. a defense mechanism. Having sexual acts forced onto you at a young age can teach many unhealthy lessons: that you are only good for sex and don't deserve to be treated well. makes it seem less likely that anyone will care that he. that sex is the only way to get attention or affection (many abusers seek out affection-starved children as easy targets). they worry that being abused by a member of the same sex has made them gay (even if they aren't now and have never been attracted to the same sex). Traditional "don't talk to strangers" programs fall very short here. but the behavioral changes are definitely prompting for a parent or other authority figure to ask the child about the possibility of abuse. Physical harm can certainly result from sexual abuse. guilt from feeling as if you didn't do enough to stop the abuse or for any parts that were physically enjoyable. merely that the child/adolescent wants to keep things from getting worse than just the abuse by itself. but it is forgetting on purpose. physical signs such as injury to the genitalia are even more obvious. thank them for their trust in you. Male victims of male abusers also have the added difficulty of society's homophobia to deal with." However.away and put in a foster home if you tell.

one out of seven boys.000 children sexually abused each year in their 1998 report. the past continues to influence responses in the present. Others seem to have no personal boundaries because they never really got a chance to establish them inyouth. I will testify from personal experience that if I had had some idea what the hell was going on the first time Granddaddy pulled out his penis in the laundry room.that other people touching "anything covered by a bathing suit" except for necessary washing or medical examinations should be reported to a trustworthy adult. Knowledge gave me courage that was he was trying to do was not acceptable.1990 "National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System" reports 138. I would have run away and locked myself behind some other door until my mom and Grandmother got home. The Kinsey organization said that "heterosexual incest happened more frequently in the thinking of clinicians and social workers than it does in actual performance. child sexual abuse has not been viewed as all that common.just think. All those I have read are well done and not going to scare the child. Child Abuse -. A lot of odd behaviors can turn out to be remnants of coping .) My Body Is Private -. for all child sexual abuse. and using them enough that the child is not too embarrassed to say those names -. 10% of males.19 years -. Knowing distinct names for all the "private parts" helps.000. and unfortunately they are sometimes right.000 cases of incestuous child sexual abuse reported in 1986. Secret Survivors -. Sexual Abuse And Incest -. one in four boys from one source.Estimates vary wildly as to how many people experience sexual abuse before the age of eighteen. 16% of males from another.20% to 40% of females. y y y y y y y Beginning to Heal/The Courage To Heal -. I did know what was happening. some people still hold this view. others may not appear to be able to make their own choices. Several years later when I was fourteen and he tried to feel me up.) Four times as many females are abused as males. hypothesizes that this may be too low because of unreported cases. the effects of sexual abuse vary.American Humane Association report says 100. 27% of females. Going over this kind of thing with the child also makes it clear that you will listen and believe if told about something happening -. In either case. 28% to 38% of females and 15% to 20% of males from other surveys. It's awfully hard for an adult to face the fact that a husband.S. Department of Health and Human Servicesreport says 155. but American Humane Association figures say the average age of molested children is 9. 357 from the 44 reporting states. Survivors are often very sensitive about their personal space and cannot stand feeling trapped or constrained (even a hug can feel like a trap for me sometimes). Parents often want to wait as long as possible before talking about sex with their kids. the difficulty of working with adult survivors who may or may not be able to remember everything clearly. father. one female in four and one male in eight in FBI statistics. understanding other people's boundaries becomes difficult. Some become very assertive because they finally have a chance to control their own lives.000 cases reported in 1984." Despite the statistics that have been collected in the past few decades. (Note: this book also states that the number of unreported cases is estimated to bring the total to over 250. or someone else tr usted with the child has molested them.000 in 1990 (they hypothesize that famous people such asOprah Winfrey and Roseanne revealing that they had been incestuously sexually abused increased the rate of reporting.both children and teens often assume that no one will believe in three girls. 375. Survivors are likely to have a distorted view of the relationship between power and sex. U. Historically. Any children experiencing sexual abuse is too many. Sigmund Freud assumed that the number of female patients talking about incest in their past meant that women all imagined the same thing rather than that it actually happened frequently among people with psychological problems. that means half the molested kids are younger than 9.refers to reports ranging from 25% of all females to 38%. and that a 1985Los Angeles Times nationwide poll found that 27% of female respondents and 16% of male ones had been sexually abused.20% to 25% of all children.Fear In The Home -. 83. and the overlap of the aftereffects of sexual abuse with those of other problems in the family of origin. brother. Coping With Incest -. Child Abuse -.this makes it easier to realize when exactly "bad touch" is taking out of three girls. As an adult. and some people refuse to accept the possibility. and I pushed him out the door and locked it behind him. but even the most conservative figures are shocking.900 cases reported in 1986. Research is difficult to do for various reasons: the number of unreported cases. They also note the American Humane Association's estimate is 132.

But reaching a point where the past is no longer controlling one's life is worthwhile. and/or penetration of any orifice of a child's body (mouth. or even a book. Usually the perpetrator has easy access to the child because s/he has sole responsibility for the child. Who are the Perpetrators? Perpetrators are most often someone the child knows and trusts. anus) with a penis.mechanisms. Books such as The Courage To Heal and support groups (even online ones) can help one get through difficult stages. or by another child who has power over the child. it is also a tremendous relief when you finally stop and face your own demons. or TV show about sexual abuse.. As Bass and Davis put it. Perpetrators. Incest and Child Sexual Abuse: Definitions. finger.") Many psychologists consider the effects to be Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. it never occurred to me that my unwillingness to wear shorts or skirts shorter than ankle-length. Sexual abuse includes. babysitters. "deciding to actively heal is terrifying because it means opening up tohope. movie. Victims. vagina. touching a child's genitals. and is trusted by the child's parents. Penetration does not have to occur for it to be sexual abuse. grandfathers. or neighbours. it is possible for a child to be sexually abused by another child who is younger than they are. brothers." This can often be triggered by events such as having a newly serious relationship. hope has brought only disappointment. and grandmothers. As far as we know. showing a child pornographic materials. including fathers. but this does die down. friends of the family. breaking anaddiction. . becoming a parent yourself. having an abuser (or people you didn't want to tell) die. Although it is terrifying to say yes to yourself. Perpetrators can also be female. or by another child where there is no consent or consent is not possible.. including mothers. sisters. and Effects Definition of Child Sexual Abuse Child sexual abuse is any form of sexual activity with a child by an adult. are most often male relatives. placing the child's hand on another perso n's genitals. baggy clothes. could be rooted in being a survivor until I read one of the items on Blume's "Aftereffects Checklist" ("wearing a lot of clothing. Many survivors go throughwhat Bass and Davis call an "emergency stage" where it seems that thinking about the sexual abuse is all they do. or an object of any sort. uncles and cousins. Healing can involve going through emotions that seem worse than the feelings from before confronting the abuse. despite living in Florida. even in summer. For many survivors. for example. By this definition. but is not limited to. perpetrators. aunts. or takes care of or visits the child.

culture. or otherwise abused--can also be more vulnerable because they need attention and some perpetrators exploit that need. it is unlikely that gay youth will tell anyone if they are abused because they would have to reveal that they were in a gay setting. Sexual abuse and incest occur in every race. s/he can be particularly vulnerable to being sexually abused again by another perpetrator. and understanding for what has happened. Once a child has been sexually abused. and has not received appropriate help. in a car with them. class. many youth misinterpret abuse experiences as representing what it means to be gay. nor the fact that someone exploited that need. Agai n. Different Effects and Coping Strategies of Child Sexual Abuse The effects of child sexual abuse are wide ranging. Children whose emotional needs are not met--who are emotionally deprived.Where Does Sexual Abuse Occur? Sexual abuse or incest can occur anywhere. I have heard many stories of children being abused while other people were in the next room. including in front of other people who do not. the nature of the relationship with the perpetrator. religion. bars and other settings in order to explore their sexuality and to meet other prople who are gay. and country. Who is Sexually Abused? All children are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Homophobia puts lesbian and gay youth at risk of sexual abuse. or choose to not see. the duration of the abuse. the number of perpetrators. The child did not create the fact that her/his needs were not met. or sitting at a dinner table. Many gay youth are forced to go to adult clubs. With little or no access to information about gay sexuality. at any time. By being in an adult setting they are more likely to be exploited (just as heterosexual girls would be at risk in an adult heterosexual setting). this is not the child's fault. Also. support. This puts them at further risk. . and the severity of the assault. This is due to the fact that she has learned that sexual abuse is something that people will and can do to her/his body. This is not the fault of the child. and vary from survivor to survivor depending on a number of different factors such as th e age of the victim.

suspicious. and who hurt them. I deserve to die. grief. numb from feelings and body. others have been hurt much more" etc. minimization leads to self -blame and self-hatred which is not helpful and hurts a great deal. it didn't really hurt them. hurt. shame. pan ic. depressed. unsafe. betrayal. I h ate myself. It did hurt. helplessness. feeling dirty. sadness. As a form of self-protection. pain. I have known women quite traumatized by their breasts being repeatedly grabbed when they were a child. While this may not be as severe as some other forms of abuse. I don't want to be me. emotional. I'm stupid. scared. no one loves me. As a constant way of coping however. I must have deserved it" Minimizing Beliefs Survivors are confronted with overwhelming pain. This is a form of selfprotection. the details of what happened. sensitive. I must have wanted it. minimizing may help slow the process down which may be what the survivor needs from time t o time. and feeling miserable. angry. vulnerable. terrified. Emotional Effects Includes feelings of: confus ion. I should have done something. it's my fault. I must be bad. I am dirty. anxiety. horrified. untrusting. In order to cope with extreme and intense emotions. it still hurts but it may be too hard or scary right now to face it all. Beliefs About Self Beliefs about one¶s self include: "I am bad. why do these things happen to me. no one could love me. loss. It's important to remember that while being assaulted in a more violent manner does have its own specific effects. I'm being punished. it in no way minimizes the reality and experience of others who have not experienced that kind of violence. I am unlovable. powerlessness. I must have done something. . they may try to convince themselves "it wasn't so bad.I always hesitant to write that last one--the severity of the assault--because all abuse is traumatic and harmful to victims. tortured. it can have strong and long-lasting effects. I should have told someone.

Some survivors describe it as they split off from the abuse. Babies do it quite regularly. Denial can help slow the process down. and perhaps loved. We know denial helps a child to survive. Some survivors describe dissociation as feeling as though they were not really there during the abuse. he was abused himself as a child. but were far away perhaps watching from a distance. hurt them very badly.Rationalization Suvivors need to protect themselves from the truth of the situation. Many survivors do not feel safe and may need some denial to cope with how they feel. I must be making it up. it probably didn't happen. Denial Denial is recognizable by a survivor saying. Rationalization is when a survivor explains the abusive behavior away --"he didn't know what he was doing. This kind of denial is harmful and is fuelled in part by the denial of the "False Memory Syndrome" Foundation and other parts of society who would rather deny than face the reality of child sexual abuse. Children who are sexually abused are extraordinarily overwhelmed. after all someone they trusted. Dissociation. "it didn't happen. she was really messed up. she didn't mean to hurt me." The survivor is trying to protect her/himself from the horrible truth of the situation. DID. and ultimately to survive. Safety is not only an external reality it is an internal one as well. it couldn¶t have happened. We cannot expect someone to simply abandon their hard earned coping strategies even if they are safe now. Too much denial leads to all sorts of problems as the abuse is not addressed. It is a natural physiological response to being overwhelmed. and Multiplicity We all dissociate to some extent or another. Dissociation allows the child to literally take a brea k from the abuse. to distance her/himself from what is going on. Some survivors go really . after all how can I be sure anything actually happened." In my experience. MPD. he thought he was showing me love. some denial even as an adult can be helpful. and what if I¶m wrong. and floated up to the ceiling or into a crack in the wall.

they may or may not feel spacey--everyone does this at one time or another. survivors have a few dissociated personalities. people have many different personalities. Further along. and communicate and cooperate with one another. Further along the continuum people feel split. can be quite challenging and . or like they are not one person inside. and create different personalities to deal with the abuse. Adult relationships. parts. Achieving co-consciousness is an important step in the healing pr ocess. usually there is an adult and a really vulnerable or hurt kid. survivors lose time which they may or may not be aware of. how to maintain them. It can be even harder when that person is close to them. but lots of highly fragmented parts. At the far right end. Even further toward the right of the continuum. or sadistic abuse. particularly sexual ones. and/or different groups of parts inside. and cares for them. MPD. and how to protect her/himself from those who do not respect or try to violate her/his boundaries. Often the abuser was that--someone who had a close and trusting relationship with them.far away. identities. Multiple personalities are usually formed in the context of more extreme. Survivors near the right end may not have fully formed personalities. These personalities may or may not have names. or Multiplicity: Responding to Parts Inside With a Focus on Kids Problems with Boundaries Because a survivor's boundaries were not respected --they were utterly violated--s/he may have a lot of difficulty knowing where her/his boundaries are. Trusting Others It can be very difficult for a survivor to trust anyone. They may find themselves places. fragments. deep inside themselves. there is a continuum of co-consciousness--the degree to which parts inside are aware of each other. frequent. and not remember how they got there and have the experience of living different "lives". This leaves many survivors vulnerable to further abuse. For help responding to different parts inside and developing internal cooperation see my article DID. In addition to a continuum of dissociation and multiplicity. Dissociation occurs on a continuum from the far left where someone is not present in the moment and is off somewhere else.

creative. poor body image. They were able to be that way by not losing touch with their humanity--their soulfulness--in the face of others' inhumanity. anal bleeding. etc. intuitive. the body can become the enemy. inability to work. it's important to not lose sight of the reality that survivors are full human beings with many gifts and talents to offer the world. afraid being with other people. argumentativeness. high functioning. and hopeful people I've known are incest/child sexual abuse survivors. avoiding conflict. isolation. All of these behaviors were learned in response to abuse and served a n important purpose--staying sane and alive. and physical problems (yeast infections. They include: addictions. prostitution. low-functioning. perfectionist.) A Final Thought While it may be tempting to focus on how awful it is to be abused. and gender-identity issues. having lots of sex. Some of the most sensitive. After all many survivors' carry a great deal of pain and memories in their bodies. avoidance of sex. numbing. We can all learn a great deal from survivors. Other effects These may include nightmares. Desperately needing ways to cope with this pain can lead to a variety of coping strategies including eating disorders. . panic attacks. over-working. a generalized separation from and disregard for one's body. numerous trigger-responses. profound. Coping Behaviors There are a whole range of behaviors that survivors may engage in that come from having been sexually abused. terror. dissociation. safety. they can be a source of great love. It is important to not judge your or anyone else's ways of coping--you're here because of them. Relationship With One's Body Since the abuse took place on and in the body. headaches. frequent sexual activity. insomnia.triggering for survivors. deep. self -injurious behaviors. inabilit y to go outside. and wanting to please others. anxiety attacks. and healing too. inability to enjoy sex. At the same time. flashbacks. afraid being alone. bladder infections.

Certain forms of sexual harassment. and voyeurism.Episcopalian religion. forced physical sexual behavior (rape and sexual assault).   Incest (see also sexual deviancy). [3] [2] Catholic Islam. Unwanted touching. Spousal sexual abuse Main article: Spousal abuse Spousal sexual abuse is a form of domestic violence. as between an adult and a minor or with a person of diminished mental capacity. it may constitute rape upon the other spouse. including:    Non-consensual. depending on the jurisdiction. as by the use of threats or coercion.     Exposing a child to pornography. Positions of power See also: Power harassment and Rankism Sexual misconduct can occur where one person uses a position of authority to compel another person to engage in an otherwise unwanted sexual activity. 2. Sexual harassment in education might involve a student submitting to the sexual advances of a person in authority in fear of being punished. Several sexual abuse scandals have involved abuse of religious authority and often cover-up among non-abusers. Saying sexually suggestive statements towards a child (child molestation). Sexual activity that is deemed improper or harmful. Sexual kissing. either of a child or an adult. exhibitionism and up to sexual assault. When the abuse involves forced sex. For example. Church. for example by being given a failing grade. The use of a position of trust to compel otherwise unwanted sexual activity without physical force (or can lead to attempted rape or sexual assault). There are many types of sexual abuse. Also applies unconsential verbal sexual demands towards an adult. fondling. sexual harassment in the workplace might involve an employee being coerced into a sexual situation out of fear of being dismissed. [citation needed] Jehovah's .sexual abuse noun webster¶s new world law dictionary: 1. exposure of genitalia. The forcing of unwanted sexual activity by one person on another. including cases in the Southern Baptist religion. and may also constitute an assault.

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a number of Hispanic victims were included in the settlement of a massive sexual abuse case involving the os Angeles archdiocese of the Catholic Church. [1 ] anxiety. yet most of these cases will go unnoticed. According to research people with disabilities are at a greater risk forvictimization of sexual assault or sexual abuse because with disabilities is shocking. [1 ] Victims of child sex abuse are over six times more likely to attempt suicide suicide. women commit approximately 1 % of offenses reported against boys and % of offenses reported against girls.blacksurvivors. displays pornography to a child. especially in the case of parental incest. approximately 30% are relatives of the child. chronic pain. most often fathers. Most offenders who abuse pre-pubescent children are pedophiles. selfesteem issues. or neighbors. the prestigious eeway Foundation www.when an adult indecently exposes their genitalia to a child. around 0% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family. suicidal ideation. Sexual abuse of people with developmental disabilities Main article: Sexual abuse of people with developmental disabilities People with developmental disabilities are often victims of sexual abuse.). [20][21][22][23][2 ] Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims. and results in more serious and longterm psychological trauma. sponsored a grant to develop a national online support group and resource center for African-American sexual abuse survivors. among other problems. [1 ] Approximately 1 % to 2 % of women and % to 1 % of men were sexually abused when they were children. a small percentage do not meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia. [30] [2 ] To address the issue of sexual abuse in the African-American [2 ] community. places. Most child sexual abuse is committed by men. smells. Sexual abuse and minorities Sexual abuse is a big issue in some minority communities. The non-profit group was founded in 200 by Sylvia Coleman. [1 ] [12] [13] [1 ] post-traumatic stress disorder. [2 ] [20] [2 ][2 ] however. strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases. uncles or cousins. addiction. x w v uvu of lack of understanding (Sobsey & Varnhagen. flashbacks. [ ][10][11] Effects of child sexual abuse include guilt and self-blame. insomnia. etc. or uses a child to produce child pornography. fear of things associated with the abuse (including objects. and eight times more likely to repeatedly attempt The abusers are also more likely to commit suicide. doctor's visits. other mental illnesses (including borderline personality disorder) adulthood. an AfricanAmerican sexual abuse survivor and national sexual abuse prevention expert. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of In 200 . sexual dysfunction. babysitters. asks or pressures a child to engage in sexual activities. somatic complaints. [1 ] propensity to re-victimization in [1 ] and physical injury to the child. 1 ). Much of the harm caused to victims becomes apparent years after the abuse happens. The rate of sexual abuse happening to people f i h s s p g q p h r q f r f t x r g r i f . depression. self-injury. nightmares.

toys or pets. Showing unusually aggressive behavior toward family members. which may be flashbacks from the abuse. Indicating a sudden reluctance to be alone with a certain person. friends. Engaging in persistent sexual play with friends. Showing unusual fear of a certain place or location.Sign Of Sexual Abuse: There are various lists of possible phys ical and behavioral indicators of child sexual abuse. y y y y y y y y y y y y y y Brief Summary of the Root Causes of Sexual Assault . Asking an unusual amount of questions about human sexuality. Engaging in self -mutilations. some of which are: y y y Waking up during the night sweating. Masturbating excessively. Withdrawing from previously enjoyable activities. and pets. Beginning wetting the bed. Regressing to behaviors too young for the stage of development they already achieved. Having symptoms indicating evidence of physical traumas to the geni tal or anal area. or symptoms of a sexually transmitted disease. like school or school performance change. Initiating sophisticated sexual behaviors. toys. Experiencing a loss of appetite or other eating problems. Having unexplained periods of panic. Complaining of pain while urinating or having a bowel movement. such as sticking themselves with pins or cutting themselves. Developing frequent unexplained health problems. including unexplained gagging. screaming or shaking with nightmares. or exhibiting symptoms of genital infections such as offensive odors.

and psychopathology.The theories about why sexual offenders commit sexual violence or assault are numerous and varied. Researchers in this area have found a correlation between testosterone levels in . Offender-related theories These theories suggest that there are factors at the individual level that contribute to the likelihood of a person committing sexually violent acts. 2. physiology. sex and power motives. social learning. as well as environmental factors such as attitudes. substance abuse. This theory is hotly debated. sex roles. 1. Evolutionary theories do not address the large number of assaults lacking reproductive consequences because they involve oral or anal penetration or victims who are prepubescent or male. Evolution This theory suggests that the differences between men and women in current human mating patterns may be the result of strategies that created reproductive success among our human an cestors. and not widely accepted by most researchers in the field. as well as head traumas or brain abnormalities. Even those who favor evolutionary explanations for modern behavior acknowledge that evolution alone cannot account for sexual assault or intimate partner violence. nurture´ debate. Physiology and Neurophysiology The cause of sexual assault may be found in hormones and other chemicals in the body. They range to both ends of the ³nature vs. The variables that have been explored in the research range from biological fac tors to personality characteristics to attitudes and beliefs. and dynamics within a relationship. and include biological factors such as evolution.

personality testing of rapists has found no significant differences between sexual offenders and those incarcerated for nonsexual offenses. Clearly.Janet Meyer. as well as other violent or impulsive acts. Nonetheless. many assaults occur in the absence of alcohol.humans and aggression. Many men perceive alcohol as a sexual cue. Trauma and violence have been proven to have effects on hormones.A. In short. Studies examining brain injuries and abnormalities suggest trauma and violence can lead to an increase in battering behavior. Psychopathology and Personality Traits Men who rape have been diagnosed with a wide variety of psychiatric and personality disorders. 3. Alcohol Considerable evidence links alcohol and physical aggression. perpetrators are more aggressive and victims less effective at setting boundaries and defending themselves when drinking alcohol. thus. While it is very commonly involved in sexual assaults. . the use or abuse of alcohol does not entirely account for the incidence of sexual assault in our society. and brain function. but it is not clear whether testosterone level s lead to aggressive behavior or rise as a result of aggressive behavior. M. a lack of social conscience. and many people drink without engaging in violent behavior. . Alcohol use is involved in up to % of acquai ntance rapes. The degree of involvement in sexually coercive behavior appears to be related to personality measures of irresponsibility. alcohol increases the likelihood that friendliness will be misperceived as sexual intent and that a man will feel comfortable forcing sex after misperceiving a woman¶s cues. Alcohol affects men¶s perception 11/22/00 Page 2 of women¶s sexual intent. most often antisocial personality disorder. neurotransmitters.

. Sex and Power Motives Research has confirmed that motives of power and anger are more prominent in rapists¶ rationalizations for sexual a ggression than sexual desires are. particularly against women. M. 11/22/00 Page 3 Acceptance of rape myths is strongly related to adversarial sexual beliefs. Some research suggests that men who rape on first or second dates may have similarities to stranger rapists. allowing them to imagine that their victim either desired or deserved to experience forced sexual acts. These sorts of beliefs may serve as rationalizations for sexual offenders. it has been said that t he personality profile of convicted rapists more closely matches the personality profile of men in the general population than any other set of felons.A. . In fact. Once men have developed attitudes that support violence against women. . Attitudes and Gender Schemas Sexually aggressive men are more likely to believe myths about rape and that use of interpersonal violence is an effective strategy for resolving conflict than are non-aggressive men. while men who rape early . And sexually aggressive men openly admit that their sexual fantasies are aggressive and sadistic. Relationship Context The stage of relationship between a man and a woman may affect the probability of violence. Most investigators have concluded that there is a great deal of heterogeneity among rapists and that sexual aggression is determined by many factors.Janet Meyer.and a value orientation legitimizing aggression. tolerance of interpersonal violence. they are likely to misinterpret ambiguous evidence as confirming their beliefs. and gender role stereotyping.

History The history of our society¶s understanding of sexual violence has its roots in English property law.´ 1 The law assumed marriage vows implied consent to sexual relations.A. was viewed as the property. 11/22/00 Page The issue of sexual assault would not enter the consciousness of the U. . M. and driving. Woman. media and institutions. Variables that appear to be risk factors are the man¶s initiating the date. Family .S. and rape myths Societal Influences Another body of theories suggests that socio -cultural factors contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence. ³Rape entered the law « as a property crime of man against man. a violent means of inducing fear in women and reinforcing their subordination to men. . paying all the expenses. and men were permitted to use whatever force necessary to gain sexu al access to their wives. heavy alcohol or drug use. miscommunication about sex. These theories suggest that our society tacitly accepts and encourages sexual violence through expectations and cultural morés. and men¶s acceptance of traditional sex roles. families. adversarial attitudes about relationships.Janet Meyer. This perspective has shaped the way our culture defines and understands sexual assault what otherwise appears to be a developing relationship may simply misperceive their partners¶ intent. public until the feminist movement of the 1 0s. Feminists saw rape as a mechanism for maintaining patriarchy. which are transmitted through our history. interpersonal violence. ³parking´. of course.

these sexual scripts teach women to feel responsible for setting the limits and pace of sexual contact in their relationships with men. 11. Media From the early days of the modern women¶s movement. Cultures differ in the amount of intimate partner violence. The structure of the family seems to have an impact on the attitudes and behaviors of children raised in them. as well as the acceptability of this violence. physical abuse.Sexual violence endures in human societies. Sexual Expectations and Rape Myths Expectations transmitted by our culture typically encourage men to feel superior. Children who are exposed to violence between their parents are more likely to be involved in violent intimate relationships as adults. Violent sex offenders have been found to be more likely than other adults to have experienced poor parental child -rearing. feminists contended that pornography encouraged sexual aggression towards women by 11/22/00 Page . excuse it. Cultural Mores Studies by anthropologists demonstrate the critical role that socio -cultural mores play in defining and promoting violence against women. because it is modeled by influential members of our society and has positive results for the perpetrator. Rape myths typically deny the existence of sexual assault. and that they should be always on the lookout for and ready to initiate sex in their relationships with women. entitled. M. according to this parad igm. 10. poor supervision. and minimize the seriousness of it¶s effects. Nearly all societies tolerate rape and have mechanisms that perpetuate violence. 12.Janet Meyer. Acceptance of rape myths is correlated with sexually aggressive behavior. At the same time. and separations from their parents.A. neglect.

or culture. religion. It is depictions of violence against women. 13. Neither focus nor any one theory totally explains the prevalence of sexually violent behaviors in our society. What is sexual assault? Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to. that encourage acceptance of violence and callousness toward women who are its victims. anal. personality. Participation in team sports may increase the risk of sexual aggression. family. including: y inappropriate touching y vaginal. and those that point to characteristics of the culture in which we live. or oral penetration . Peers are more influential in shaping individual behavior than biology. Television and movies often send the message that violence works. research on the causes of sexual assault has focused on two types of theories ± those rooted in characteristics of the individual offender. Schools and Other Influences Schools contribute to socialization supportive of violent behavior when they reinforce sex role stereotypes and attitudes that condone the use of violence.portraying them as nothing more than sex objects. rather than sexually graphic material. a view that is supported in th e research. Recent research in the field of sexual assault suggests an integrated theory may have the best chance of explaining what causes sexual violence in our society. Conclusion Generally.

y Trust your instincts. or when you think you are alone. y Walk with confidence. and sexual harassment. It is committed in many situations²on a date. y Be aware of your surroundings²who's out there and what's going on. the stronger you appear. Rape is a common form of sexual assault. . or in the home by someone you know. Educate yourself on "date rape" drugs. incest (sexual contact between family members). on a date. y Don't let drugs or alcohol cloud your judgment. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts). Date rape drugs make a person unable to resist assault and can cause memory loss so the victim doesn't know what happened. visual. leave. Follow these tips from the National Crime Prevention Council. by a friend or an acquaintance. Never leave your drink unattended²no matter where you are. y Be assertive²don't let anyone violate your space. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. by a stranger in an isolated place. exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public). Try to always be aware of your surroundings. How can I protect myself from being sexually assaulted? There are things you can do to reduce your chances of being sexually assaulted.y sexual intercourse that you say no to y rape y attempted rape y child molestation Sexual assault can be verbal. or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. The more confident you look. If you feel uncomfortable in your surroundings. It can happen in different situations.

And don't put your name and address on the key ring. Know who's on the other side of the door before you open it. y y ock your door and your windows. Don't lose them. Don't leave them. y Park in well-lit areas and lock the car. y Keep your car in good shape with plenty of gas in the tank. y Watch out for unwanted visitors. y Be wary of isolated spots. y Drive on well-traveled streets. car. with doors and windows locked. even if you leave for just a few minutes. well-lit areas. especially at night. Stay in well-traveled. y Watch your keys. like underground garages. even if you'll only be gone a few minutes.y Don't prop open self-locking doors. offices after business hours. y Avoid walking or jogging alone. or work. y Never hitchhike or pick up a hitchhiker. Don't lend them. . y Have your key ready to use before you reach the door²home. and apartment laundry rooms. Vary your route.

and put a banner in the rear mirror that says. "Help.y In case of car trouble." . Call police. If you don't have a phone. put the hood up. call for help on your cellular phone. lock the doors.