What is the impact of child sexual abuse?
Multiple research studies have shown that child sexual abuse victims have an increased likelihood of depression, substance abuse, sexually transmitted disease, and antisocial or even criminal behaviors. Many also experience difficulty trusting others and maintaining stable adult relationships. One study found that 80 percent of child sexual abuse victims exhibit some symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In addition to psychological and emotional scars, child sexual abuse incurs enormous financial costs. One study found that this crime costs the state of Minnesota alone $71 billion every year.
Why don’t children tell if they have been sexually abused?
Before getting into this, we just want to make one point very clear: children are never, ever responsible for any sexual interaction with an adult. They are victims first and foremost, not collaborators.
That being said, a child may keep their abuse a secret for any number of reasons. They may feel guilty, ashamed, or scared. They may want to protect a non-abusive parent from upsetting information. The abuser may be coercing them with gifts or threats, or manipulating them in general.
The onus is not on the child to tell their parents or another trusted adult figure if they have been abused, but rather, the onus is on the responsible adults to be vigilant, watch for signs of abuse, and communicate with their child. Prevention is in our hands.
Is there a typical profile of a child predator?
No. There are no obvious markers of a sex offender. You can’t pick one out in a crowd. People who sexually abuse children can be family members, friends, mentors, religious leaders, caretakers, teachers, and coaches. You cannot classify them according to their race, class, religious background, sexual orientation, etc. And while most known sex offenders are men, women can be capable of child sexual abuse, too.
Subscribing to stereotypes that dehumanize and separate these “monsters” and “predators” from the rest of us may actually make it more difficult for us to recognize and acknowledge inappropriate behaviors in those people we know.
How can I help prevent child sexual abuse?
Not only do you have to have proper knowledge of the warning signs, but you also have to be committed to speaking up as soon as you have a concern, instead of waiting for irrefutable evidence of harm. We highly recommend that you check out our other articles:
If you have any questions about your specific child sexual abuse case, call Wilshire Law Firm today at (800) 522-7274 for a FREE consultation.