Not all sexual abuse is between an adult and a minor—some sexual encounters are between minors. As a matter of fact, 42% of childhood sexual abuse is at the hands of another child1,2. Sexual acts between two minors are considered abusive if there is a power differential between the minors. Differences in power include age, size, emotional maturity, advanced sexual knowledge, as well as forcing, threatening, bribing, coercing, or insisting their behavior be kept secret.
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Child sexual abuse is predictable and preventable when we surround children with knowledgeable and outspoken adults.
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Child sexual abuse can come in several forms—contact, visual, or verbal as detailed below. Child sexual abuse laws vary by state, but below are behaviors that are typically considered illegal. Even if a state's law does not considering actions such as prolonged kissing of a minor to be illegal, it is certainly inappropriate and should cause you to suspect that child may be being abused. Afterall, where there is smoke, there is usually fire!
"Grooming" is a term used to refer to the process child molesters use to create an environment where they can sexually abuse a child without being caught and without the child telling. Child molesters use this process to establish trust, gain access to children, desensitize them to touch, develop an intimate emotional bond, isolate them from other trusted adults, create complicity, and maintain secrecy. Child molesters will typically groom children and their families for months, sometimes even years, before violating sexual boundaries. The process is identifiable, making abuse predictable and preventable.
(Courtesy of Darkness to Light )
Below are statistics surrounding the issue of child sexual abuse. In presenting the statistics, the pages are organized by Prevalence and Consequences.
- PREVALENCE is the percentage of the population that is affected by child sexual abuse; the general existence of child sexual abuse.
- CONSEQUENCE is the impact that child sexual abuse has on a victim/survivor and on our society over time.
- Sexual abuse touches every life when it leads to losses of trust, decreases in self esteem, and development of shame, guilt and depression.
- Sexual abuse touches every life when it leads to eating disorders, substance abuse, suicide, promiscuity/prostitution, and other psychological behavioral issues.
The statistics are shocking
- 1 in 4 girls is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 6 boys is sexually abused before the age of 18.
- 1 in 5 children are solicited sexually while on the Internet.
- Nearly 70% of all reported sexual assaults (including assaults on adults) occur to children ages 17 and under.
- An estimated 39 million survivors of childhood sexual abuse exist in America today.
Even within the walls of their own homes, children are at risk for sexual abuse
- 30-40% of victims are abused by a family member.
- Another 50% are abused by someone outside of the family whom they know and trust.
- Approximately 40% are abused by older or larger children whom they know.
- Therefore, only 10% are abused by strangers
Sexual abuse can occur at all ages, probably younger than you think
- The median age for reported abuse is 9 years old.
- More than 20% of children are sexually abused before the age of 8.
- Nearly 50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are children under 12.
Most children don't tell even if they have been asked
- Evidence that a child has been sexually abused is not always obvious, and many children do not report that they have been abused.
- Over 30% of victims never disclose the experience to ANYONE.
- Young victims may not recognize their victimization as sexual abuse.
- Almost 80% initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Of those who do disclose, approximately 75% disclose accidentally. Additionally, of those who do disclose, more than 20% eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.
- Fabricated sexual abuse reports constitute only 1% to 4% of all reported cases. Of these reports, 75% are falsely reported by adults and 25% are reported by children. Children only fabricate Â½% of the time.