Sexual Abuse on Women and Children
Visakha Government Degree College for Women
Child sexual abuse is a common and devastating problem affecting as many as 15 to 30% of girls. Perpetrators of child sexual abuse are more likely to be male; most often someone known to the child. It is now well established that child sexual abuse is a non-specific risk factor for both internalizing and externalizing disorders in girls and adult women, and is associated with neurobiological dysregulation in both childhood and adulthood. Children’s exposure to sexual abuse continues to be under recognized and under detected. Generally, sexual abuse of a child is detected when a child discloses to another person. Cognitive-behavioral therapy for sexually abused children with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) shows the best evidence for reducing subsequent impairment; understanding of child sexual abuse experienced by children in low and middle-income countries and global strategies for prevention.
Sexual abuse is sexual behavior or a sexual act forced upon a woman, man or child without their consent. Sexual abuse includes abuse of a woman, man or child by a man, woman or child. Sexual abuse is an act of violence which the attacker uses against someone they perceive as weaker than them. It does not come from an uncontrollable sex drive, but is a crime committed deliberately with the goal of controlling and humiliating. Most victims of sexual violence are women – a fact that reflects their social stance even today, in the 21st century, as inferior to men. Sexual violence is another means of oppressing women in a patriarchal society.
Types of Sexual Abuse
- Extortion – When the act the person required to perform is of a sexual nature.
- An indecent act – an act performed to cause humiliation, stimulation or sexual satisfaction.
- Repeated propositions that are of a sexual nature addressed to a person who has previously demonstrated to the harasser that they are not interested in said propositions.
- Repeated remarks relating to the person’s sexuality when that person has already shown the harasser that they are not interested in said remarks.
- Degrading or humiliating remarks relating to a person’s sex or sexuality, including their sexual orientation.
- Publishing a picture, video or recording of someone focusing on their sexuality for the purpose of humiliating or degrading the person without their consent.
Consent is the key to healthy sexual experiences. Always have sex with consent. Do not pressure your partner into having sex or performing sexual acts they do not agree to.Do not ignore someone if they say “No” or seem reluctant. Your partner always has the right to say “No” even if you are married or living together. Silence does not mean she agrees. Importantly, if someone is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they cannot consent. Perpetrators of Child Sexual Abuse Are Often Related to the Victim
Out of the yearly 63,000 sexual abuse cases substantiated, or found strong evidence, by Child Protective Services (CPS), the perpetrator was most often the parent
- 80% of perpetrators were a parent
- 6% were other relatives
- 5% were “other” (from siblings to strangers)
- 4% were unmarried partners of a parent
Out of the sexual abuse cases reported to CPS in 2013, 47,000 men and 5,000 women were the alleged perpetrators.6
In 88% of the sexual abuse claims that CPS substantiates or finds supporting evidence of, the perpetrator is male. In 9% of cases they are female, and 3% are unknown.
Sexual abuse is any form of sexual violence, including rape, child molestation, incest, and similar forms of non-consensual sexual contact. Most sexual abuse experts agree sexual abuse is never only about sex. Instead, it is often an attempt to gain power over others.
Immediate crisis assistance after sexual assault can prove invaluable and even save lives. A person can report sexual assault by calling local police. Survivors may also wish to get a physical exam at a hospital. Therapy can also be helpful for those who experienced sexual abuse in the past. Some therapists specialize in addressing the trauma of sexual assault. Long-term assistance may be beneficial to some survivors of sexual abuse.
TYPES OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AND ABUSE
Sexual abuse is common, particularly for women and girls. Ninety percent of all rapes are committed against women. One in six women in America has experienced rape. One in five girls and one in 20 boys experience childhood sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse and Sexual assault are umbrella terms used to refer to multiple crimes. These crimes include:
Forced sexual contact with someone who does not or cannot consent. Forcing sex upon someone who does not want it, who is intoxicated, or who is not legally old enough to give consent all count as rape. Date rape is sexual assault that occurs between people with an established relationship. A handful of states limit their definition of rape to forcible sexual intercourse. Yet any form of forcible sexual contact can have long-lasting effects on a person. Most states now recognize forced oral sex and similar forms of assault as rape.
Child molestation is any sexual contact with a child. Many children who are molested are too young to know what is happening and may not fight back. Some abusers use the child’s cooperation in these cases as “evidence” that no one was harmed. Examples of child molestation might include fondling or demanding sexual favors from a child.
Incest describes sexual contact between family members who are too closely related to marry. While incestuous sexual activity may occur between consenting adults, this is not common. Most reported incest occurs as child abuse. Over a third of American sexual assault survivors under the age of 18 are abused by a family member, according to latest statistics. However, incest is an under reported crime, so the actual number of incest survivors may be higher.
Non-consensual sexual contact
This category includes any unwanted sexual touching, such as groping or pinching. Attempted rape can also fall into this category.
Non-contact sexual abuse
Not all sexual abuse fits neatly into common legal or psychological definitions. For instance, parents who have sex in front of their children or who make sexually inappropriate comments to their children are engaging in sexual abuse. So-called revenge pornography sites, which publish nude photos of people without their consent, are another form of sexual abuse.
- There are highly effective, trauma-focused therapy treatments available. These include Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT), Prolonged-Exposure Therapy (PE), and Eye-Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR). Each of these treatments looks different in practice, but helps the individual to work through the traumatic experience(s) and move forward in life. Trauma-focused therapy can:
- Help you calm and soothe yourself
- Increase your awareness of, and access to, inner strengths and outside resources
- Process specific memories, through carefully guided talk and/or writing
- Challenge yourself to reconnect and do non-dangerous things you have been avoiding since the traumatic event(s)
- Challenge trauma-based thinking, so that you can restore a healthy mental framework for living
- Make meaning of what happened and how it has affected your deepest self and your family
- Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Increase a personal sense of confidence and competence
- Regain your quality of life, including enhanced relationships with others, greater activity level, and more positive and stable mood
- Reduce, if not eliminate, trauma-reaction symptoms/symptoms of PTSD
Sexual violence poses an obstacle to peace and security. It impedes women from participating in peace and democratic processes and in post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation. As a tool of war it can become a way of life: once entrenched in the fabric of society, it lingers long after the guns have fallen silent. Many women lose their health, livelihoods, husbands, families and support networks as a result of rape. This, in turn, can shatter the structures that anchor community values, and with that disrupt their transmission to future generations. Children accustomed to acts of rape can grow into adults who accept such acts as the norm. This vicious cycle must stop, as we cannot accept a selective zero-tolerance policy. Today’s adoption of resolution 1960 (2010), on sexual violence, is an important step in that direction.