Sexual abuse is any sexual contact with a child or the use of a child for the sexual pleasure of someone else. This may include exposing private parts to the child or asking the child to expose him or herself, fondling of the genitals or requests for the child to do so, oral sex or attempts to enter the vagina or anus with fingers, objects or penis, although actual penetration is rarely achieved.
*some way by the age of 18 (Kinsey, 1953; Finkelhor, 1979)
*10% of those children are preschoolers (Children's Hospital, D.C.)
*85-90% involve perpetrator known to the child (Groth, 1982; DeFrancis, 1969; Russell, 1983)
*35% involve a family member (King County Rape Relief, Washington)
*Only 10%1 in 4 girls and at least 1 in 10 boys is sexually abused in of the offenses involve physical violence (Jaffee, 1975)
*50% of all assaults take place in the home of the child or the offender (Sanford, 1980)
*The average offender is involved with over 70 children in his or her "career" of offending (Sanford, 1980, Abel and Becker, 1980)
stained or bloody underwear
pain or itching in genital area
venereal disease, especially in preteens
Behavioral Indicators in Child
Children often do not tell us with words that they have been sexually abused or that they have successfully resisted an assault and don't know quite what to do next. There are many reasons children might hesitate or be afraid to tell us about what has happened, including their relationship to the offender, fear of the consequences, retaliation or uncertainty about whether or not they will be believed.
Any one of the following signs could indicate that there has been a sexual assault or it could be indicative of another problem. Whatever has caused the change in behavior should be explored.
sudden reluctance to go someplace or be with someone
inappropriate displays of affection
sexual acting out
sudden use of sexual terms or new names for body parts
uncomfortableness or rejection of typical family affection
sleep problems, including: insomnia, nightmares, refusal to sleep alone or suddenly insisting on a night light
regressive behaviors, including: thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, infantile behaviors or other signs of dependency
extreme clinginess or other signs of fearfulness
a sudden change in personality
problems in school
unwilling to participate in or change clothing for gym class at school
runs away from home
bizarre or unusual sophistication pertaining to sexual behavior or knowledge, including sexual acting out
reports sexual assault by parent or guardian
NOTE: Again, any one of the following signs could indicate that there has been a sexual assault or it could be indicative of another problem. Whatever has caused the change in behavior should be explored.
Indicators of Sexually Abusive Parent/Guardian
Overly protective or jealous of child and friends
abuses alcohol or other drugs
encourages exhibitionism in child
voyeuristic, seductive to child
exposes child to pornographic and sexually stimulating pictures
encourages the child in promiscuous and/or prostitute acts
freely talks or boasts about sexual themes with child
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