Realities of Sexual Abuse


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This module examines the realities of sexual abuse, allowing you to deepen your understanding of the problem.

Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Abuse. Additional Issues affecting Gambia/Gambians
Myths and Facts about Sexual Abuse.

Learning Objectives
By the end of this module, you will be able to: - Correctly answer at least two questions about the incidence and prevalence of sexual abuse in the Gambia,
- Discuss issues specific to Gambian survivors and identify at least one factor contributing to the under-reporting of rape. - List at least two myths and two facts about sexual abuse.

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Realities of Sexual Abuse

  1. 1. Basic Sexual AbuseAdvocate/Counselor Training Realities of Sexual Abuse
  2. 2. “Rape”, “Sexual Abuse”, Molestation?The legal definitions of rape, and sexual abuse vary by country. In the Gambia, the definitionCan be found under Section 3 of the Sexual Office Act of 2011In this training, “rape” and “sexual abuse” will be used interchangeably to refer to anynonconsensual contact between two or more people, involving the sexual organs of oneperson or more, regardless of gender, age or marital status, with or without penetration,and with or without resulting physical injury. It may involve vaginal, oral, or anal contact.Molestation will be used to refer to all other forms of abuse of sexual nature includingsexual harassment Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 2 Introduction & Overview
  3. 3. “Victim” or “survivor”“Victim” “Victim” typically used at the early impact and mainly by medical, police and legalmembers of the support team while the term“Survivor” is used for the later part of recovery but really, this can mean different things toeach individual.As advocates, our role is not to name but try to access what stage our client may be at andSupport them in where they want to be Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 3 Introduction & Overview
  4. 4. Q: How many people report to law enforcement being forcibly raped in the The Gambia ina given year?A: Unknown. No research to answer this question for incidences in the Gambia yetQ: For every person who is raped and reports her rape to law enforcement, what is theestimate of the number who are raped and do not report their rapes to law enforcement?A: Unknown. No research to answer this question for incidences in the Gambia yetQ: When a victim knows her assailant, is she more or less likely to report the rapeto the police?A: Less likely due to self-blame and fear that her friends and family will blame herand less likely if drugs and alcohol are involvedQ: What is the number one reason victims given for not wanting to report rape?A: No research to answer this question for incidences in the Gambia yet. What are yourthoughts? Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 4 Introduction & Overview
  5. 5. Additional Issues Specific to Gambia•Sex Tourism•Poverty•Sugar Daddy Syndrome•Culture of “Sutura”•Small, open community – most people know each other•What else can you think of as additional issues “unique” to Gambia? ............. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 5 Introduction & Overview
  6. 6. Rape & Molestation Around The World Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 6 Introduction & Overview
  7. 7. Myths and Facts About RapeSexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 7 Introduction & Overview
  8. 8. Myth: Adult rape is most often perpetrated by a stranger.Fact: A woman is statistically more likely to be raped by someone she knows Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 8 Introduction & Overview
  9. 9. Myth: If there was no penetration by a penis, then there was no rape.Fact: Legal definitions of rape vary by country. For the purposes of this training, rape isdefined as penetration with a penis, fingers and/or foreign objects, or unwanted touchingof the sexual body parts without penetration. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 9 Introduction & Overview
  10. 10. Myth: Women cannot be raped by their husbands or partners.Fact: Women are raped by their husbands or partners. Rape is often used as a tool ofcontrol, especially if the husband batters his wife or feels he is entitled to sexual intercoursedespite his wife’s wants or needs. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 10 Introduction & Overview
  11. 11. Myth: Prostitutes cannot be raped.Fact: Prostitutes can be and often are raped by their customers who solicit sex from them Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 11 Introduction & Overview
  12. 12. Myth: Strangers represent the greatest threat to children.Fact: In child abuse cases, often, a perpetrator will spend time “grooming” the child andhis or her family by doing favors and providing assistance emotionally and physically.This is done to win the family’s trust, which makes it harder for them to believe the childand decreases suspicion of the perpetrator. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 12 Introduction & Overview
  13. 13. Myth: Only young women are abused.Fact: Elderly women can be and are raped. Because of such myths, elderly women oftendo not come forward when they are sexually abused. There is a high level of shame andfear that they have lost the ability to care for themselves. In addition, the perpetratorcould be someone who comes into her home to provide care for the woman, and shemay be afraid for her life or that her care will be taken away. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 13 Introduction & Overview
  14. 14. Myth: Rape cannot happen in same-gender relationships.Fact: Rape can occur in same-gender relationships as well as in heterosexual relationships. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 14 Introduction & Overview
  15. 15. Myth: Men cannot be raped.Fact: Although men are less likely to report because of societal pressures, men can be andare raped by other men and by women. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 15 Introduction & Overview
  16. 16. Myth: If a woman goes out with a man, goes home with him, or wears skimpy clothing, it isher fault if she is raped.Fact: It is never her fault. No one asks or deserves to be raped. Rape is a violent attack anda crime in which the perpetrator controls the victim. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 16 Introduction & Overview
  17. 17. Myth: Children make up stories or lie about being sexually abused.Fact: Children rarely lie about being abused since they do not have the explicit knowledgeabout intimate relationships. If a child tells someone they are being abused it should betaken very seriously. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 17 Introduction & Overview
  18. 18. Myth: Children are sexual beings and want to be touched intimatelyFact: Whilst children experience ‘nice’ feelings when they are touched gently on most partsof their bodies, they do not understand or elicit touching that is designed to sexually exciteadults or older children. Sexual feelings are not understood by young children Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 18 Introduction & Overview
  19. 19. Myth: Child abuse is most often committed by strangersFact: The danger to children is mostly from people close to them, people they should beable to trust and who are known to their care givers / parents. Of course, it is importantto tell children not to talk to strangers or get into other people’s cars because the lonepaedophile will always be looking for an opportunity but the more common danger isat home. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 19 Introduction & Overview
  20. 20. Myth: Boys who are abused will become abusers when they grow upFact: This is a myth perpetuated by abusers who have been caught and who are lookingfor an excuse for their behaviour and a shorter sentence. It is very unusual for abusedboys to become abusers. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 20 Introduction & Overview
  21. 21. Myth: If a child doesn’t scream or tell anyone, it means they are encouraging the abuseFact: Abusers go to great lengths to ensure secrecy and compliance from their victims – itis called grooming and this can go on for years before the actual abuse takes place. This isdone by befriending the child, luring the child into trusting them, giving them treats,telling them how special they are. When the child is abused it is then very confusing forthe victim not to believe that they caused the abuse and of course these feelings may beexploited by the abuser who will agree that it was the child’s fault that they could not leavethem alone. Abusers may also use threats and intimidation to ensure secrecy Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 21 Introduction & Overview
  22. 22. Myth: Children don’t remember what happened to them when they were younger and so itdoesn’t affect themFact: Children may not remember every single detail of their abuse but they will usuallyremember with great clarity the fear and the dread around that person. It is these feelingsthat linger in their consciousness or sub conscience which cause difficulties when they areolder. ‘Triggers’ reminding them of a certain event when they were children often occurswhen they are older. This jolts them back into reliving these events which feel very muchas if they are happening now. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 22 Introduction & Overview
  23. 23. Myth: Children hate their abusersFact: When the abuser is a close relative, it is very confusing for a child who yearns for thecloseness and protection of the abuser but loathes the sexual acts being perpetrated uponthem. This dichotomy is difficult for abused children to understand. Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 23 Introduction & Overview
  24. 24. Myth: Children who are abused are damaged foreverFact: Children have to be very strong to have survived sexual abuse and with the rightspecialist help they can live happy and contented lives . Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 24 Introduction & Overview
  25. 25. Myth: Parents or Care givers should have known their children were being abused.Fact: Perpetrators have had a lot of practice at deceiving parents and care givers intobelieving that they are really ‘nice’ guys. This is very confusing for abused children whocannot understand that their parents are friendly with the abuser resulting in them feelingthat they will not be believed Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 25 Introduction & Overview
  26. 26. Myth: It is the fault of young girls who look much older than their age and encourage oldermen to abuse themFact: It is never the fault of young people or children that they are abused. Again this is amyth perpetuated by abusers who don’t want to go to prison! Sexual Abuse Advocate/Counselor Training 26 Introduction & Overview