Child sexual abuse is when a more powerful
person uses a less powerful person for sexual
ex: When an adult uses a child for his/her
own sexual gratification.
When the offender and the victim are in the
same immediate family, the abuse is called
A sexual act between two minors, where one
exerts power over the other, is also considered
2 CATEGORIES OF SEXUAL
1. NON-TOUCHING ABUSES
exposure to pornography, taking
photographs of children in a sexualized manner,
voyeurism, communicating in a sexual way, such
as through telephone or the internet, and letting
down the walls of privacy so that the child
watches or hears sexual acts.
2. TOUCHING ABUSES
fondling, oral sex, vaginal or anal
intercourse, or attempted intercourse.
WHAT ARE THE
CHARACTERISTICS OF CHILD
The offender depends on secrecy.
The prevalence of silence among
children is explained by the following
Children are physically less powerful than
Children are obliged to obey adults;
Children are provided limited information on
matters regarding sex and sexuality;
Children’s questions pertaining to sex and
sexuality are frowned upon;
The importance placed on keeping the family
intact, or preserving the family reputation,
keeps children from speaking about the abuse.
Studies show that most abusers of child sexual
abuse are known to victims. They may be a
male relative or an acquaintance. In many
cases, it is the father who violates his own
Grooming is a subtle, gradual, and escalating
process of building trust with a child. It is
deliberate and purposeful. Abusers may groom
children for weeks, months, or even years—
before any sexual abuse actually takes place.
It usually begins with behaviors that may not
even seem to be inappropriate.
Grooming children may include:
Befriending a child and gaining his or her trust.
Testing a child’s boundaries through telling
inappropriate jokes, backrubs, tickling, or sexual
Moving from non-sexual touching to “accidental”
sexual touching. This typically happens during
play so the child may not even identify it as
purposeful, inappropriate touching. It is often done
slowly so the child is gradually desensitized to the
Manipulating the child to not tell anyone about
what is happening. The abuser may use a
child’s fear, embarrassment, or guilt about
what has happened. Sometimes, the abuser
uses bribery, threats, or coercion.
Confusing the child into feeling responsible for
the abuse. Children may not notice or may
become confused as the contact becomes
increasingly intimate and sexual.
Sexual Transmitted Infections (STI)
Urinary tract infections
Pregnancy at a young age
Unusual smells or bleeding
Difficulty walking or sitting
Bruises or wounds on the genitalia and mouth.
Distrust of others and themselves
Terror and anxiety
Shame, guilt and self-hatred
Alienation from their bodies
Isolation and withdrawal from people and
Powerlessness, depression, and extreme
Obsession with sex or complete aversion to it
Questioning their sexuality and gender
Drug and alcohol use, abuse, and addiction
Eating and sleeping disorders
Perfectionism and work holism
Mental illness and suicide
All children are vulnerable to sexual abuse,
CHILDREN as “PERFECT
Easily persuaded to cooperate
Too ashamed to talk about it
Many unsatisfied needs
Children often cannot tell about a
touching problem because of the fear
Children often cope with their abuse by
pushing it so far back in their minds that they
“forget”. To remember means to feel hurt
LOSS OF LOVE
Children often worry that their parents or
friends will not love them once they know
about their abuse, because now they are
“dirty.” This is often because children will take
responsibility for their abuse. Children also
often fear separation from their families
because of the telling.
SHAME and GUILT
Children either know or can sense that their
sexual experiences with an adult are wrong. By
telling someone and acknowledging that this
happened, they tend to fear the shame of the
abuse. Older children will experience more sense
of guilt than younger children.
Children fear that they will be blamed for
the sexual touches, that they somehow
wanted it. Adults tend to be believed over
children, and offenders often state that the
child “asked” for the sexual touch. Children
ask for affection and attention, which is their
right. However they do not ask for sex, for
which they cannot have the appropriate
context for consent.
Offender often maintain control over their
victims by threatening harm to them or their
families if they tell. Children are then burdened
with the inappropriate responsibility of keeping
their families safe.
The best way to protect children and youth
against sexual abuse is to give them the
knowledge and skills necessary for their safety
and well being, and by creating in our families and
communities an atmosphere where they feel safe
enough to come forward if they are being
mistreated or abused. Children who know that
they have rights, who are well informed about
inappropriate touching, who are taught to trust
their feelings about situations and people, and
who know where to get help if needed are less
likely to be victims of any type of assault.