This paper seeks to define sexual abuse giving potential sexual abusers. The results of this kind of abuse are vividly given hereunder as well. The possible ways of preventing the vice are highlighted and the various kinds of abuse given thereafter.
Sexual abuse is an act of making a wrong use of or to ill- treat either by fondling or referring to one’s sexual body parts. One out of every three girls and one out of six girls are sexually victimized by the age of eighteen. Eighty percent of sexual abuser is someone known and trusted by the victim. Sexual abuse occurs not only among the children, but it also affects people of all ages, shapes, sizes, ethnicity’s, and background. The abuser usually had been abused as a child. In some cases, the reason for the attack is not sex. Children should be taught at the age of three that excess fondling of private parts is inappropriate no matter who is doing the fondling. Sexual abusers are usually portrayed as male which is not always the case since females also do it. Child sexual abuse has been reported many times a year. There are a number of unreported instance. This is because the children are afraid to reveal the information. The legal procedure for validating and reporting this abuse is difficult. The problem has to be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child receive professional help. The long-term emotional and Psychological damage of sexual abuse can devastate the child. (Mega essays)
Child sexual abuse is the parent, step-parent, sibling or other relative, a friend, neighbor, child care person, teacher and Stranger. Sexually abused child develop a variety of distressing feelings, thoughts and behaviors. Children are not psychologically prepared endure repeated sexual stimulation as the will develop resistance to overstimulation. The child who knows and cares for the abuser becomes trapped between affection for the person and the sense that sexual activities are wrong. Children who resist the sexual relationship are threatened by the abuser with violence and loss of love. When sexual abuse is within the family, the sexually abused fear the anger, jealousy and shame of other family members and are afraid that the family may break up on saying that secret
Results of abuse
A child who is the victim of prolonged sexual abuse may develop low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness and distorted view of sex. The child may withdraw and mistrust the adults becoming suicidal. Some children have the difficulty relating to others except on sexual terms and become child abusers, prostitutes while have other serious problems on reaching their adulthood. More often than not, there are no obvious external signs of child sexual abuse because some signs are only detected on physical examination by a physician.
Signs of sexually abused child
Sexually abused children may also develop the following signs which include unusual interest of things of a sexual nature development of sleep problems and nightmares. Some are depressed, withdraw from friends and family, others look seductive, some utter statements that their bodies are dirty or damaged while others fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area. There are those who refuse to go to school, as some show secret aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, in games, in fantasies, unusual aggressiveness and suicidal behavior. Others include irritation, bleeding, bruising and abnormal discharge Since child sexual abusers make the child extremely fearful of telling the truth, special efforts have to be made for the child to feel safe such that can the child talk freely. If a child agrees that he or she has been molested, parents should remain calm and reassure the child that what happened was not their fault. Parents must seek medical examination and psychiatric consultation immediately.
Sexual harassment preventing in the society
Parents should tell their children that if someone tries to touch their body and do things that make them feel funny they should say no to that person and tell them immediately. Parents should also teach their children that respect does not imply blind obedience to adults and to any other authority. Furthermore, teachers should encourage professional prevention programs in the school and at home. Child and adolescent psychiatrists can used to help the abused children to regain a sense of self-esteem, endure the feelings of guilt about the abuse and begin the process of healing the trauma This reduce the problems that the child will develop on maturity. (Berkowitz, A 1992)
Kinds of sexual abuse
Rape is the most violent kind of sexual abuse. It defined as the forceful or non-forceful attempt or action of sexual act done to a person without the consent. It is regarded as non-consensual penile penetration of vagina, anus, or mouth. It may be described as sexual intercourse with a person without their permission and it is accomplished by use of force by the assailant.(Americans academy of child & Adolescence psychiatry ,2008) Child Sexual Abuse is the sexual abuse of children by adults or by older children or peers who dominate and control through sexual activity. Older boys make girls undress thereby fondling them. This is committed by strangers and in most cases is perpetrated by adults or older children in trusted caretaking chores. Incest appears to be the common form of child sexual abuse by relatives. Sexual abuse of children can be committed by mother, father, step-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins as well as grandparents. Molestation is the sexual abuse involving sexual stimulation to body and genital areas, including penetration. It can occur at all ages by perpetrators of all ages. Stranger Rape is violence, anger, and power expressed sexually in an attack on a victim. It usually entail penetration of body openings, that is oral, anal, and vaginal. Date or Acquaintance Rape is sexual abuse, not necessarily violent perpetrated by someone known to the victim, often a peer in a trusted social relationship (Brownmiller, S 1975). Marital rape is sexual abuse perpetrated by one spouse on the other or by a sexual partner in any long-term committed relationship. Sexual Assault is the physical attack to victim’s sexual body parts, often involving force or violence. This term can cover a wide range of activities and often describes the rape of boys and men. Exhibitionism or Exposure is displaying the naked body or parts of the naked body in an effort to shock, intimidate or sexually arouse a victim. Voyeurism is the invasion of a victim's privacy either secretively or openly with the intent of gaining sexual gratification. Obscene phone calls are the invasion of a victim's privacy with sexually suggestive messages over the telephone in an effort to shock, intimidate, or sexually arouse a victim. Sadistic Sexual Abuse is sexual abuse in which the offender incites or tries to incite reactions of dread, horror, or pain in the victim as a means of increasing the offender's sexual arousal during the abuse. May involve use of physical restraint, quasi-religious rituals, multiple simultaneous perpetrators, use of animals and insertion of foreign objects, genital mutilation and torture. Sexual exploitation is objectification and use of victims, by means of sexual activity or photographic imagery, to gain money or sexual gratification. Sexual harassment is the use of gender, status, and power differences to intimidate or control a victim, or to require sexual involvement. It may be expressed as flirting and sexual suggestiveness. Gender attack is the exposure into actions that demean the sexual gender of a victim more often with sexual overtones, such as cross dressing a child or verbally denigrating a victim's gender. Gay Bashing is verbal or physical attacks hurled against a victim's perceived to homosexual orientation. Sexual Violence these are acts of violence that entails harming of sexual parts of the victim's body. (Mahari J.)
Causes of sexual abuse
The causes of sexual assault are numerous as well as varied. They are nature, biological factors (evolution), physiology, substance abuse and psychopathology as well as environmental factors (attitudes, sex roles, sex and power motives, social learning, and dynamics within a relationship).
To start with, evolution can cause sexual abuse. The differences between men and women in current human mating patterns can be the result of strategies that created reproductive success among human ancestors. Evolutionary theories do not address the large number of assaults lacking reproductive consequences since they involve oral or anal penetration or victims who are prepubescent or male.
Secondly, physiology and neurophysiology can cause sexual abuse. The cause of sexual assault is said to be found in hormones and other chemicals in the body as well as head traumas and in brain abnormalities. Researchers have found a correlation between testosterone levels in humans and aggression however is not clear whether testosterone levels lead to aggressive behavior or is a rise as a result of aggressive behavior. Trauma and violence have effects on hormones, neurotransmitters, and brain function. Trauma and violence can lead to an increase in battering behavior as well as other violent and impulsive acts as evidenced in research.
Thirdly alcohol can influence a person to abuse another sexually. Dependable and reliable evidence links alcohol and physical aggression. Alcohol use is associated with 75% of acquaintance rapes. Alcohol alters the men’s perception of women’s sexual intent. They perceive alcohol as a sexual cue hence alcohol increases the likelihood that friendliness will be misperceived as sexual intent a man will therefore feel comfortable forcing sex after misperceiving a woman’s cues. Perpetrators are aggressive as victims are less effective at setting boundaries and defending themselves when drinking alcohol. Many assaults can occur in the absence of alcohol and many people drink without engaging in violent behaviors. The use and abuse of alcohol does not entirely account for the incidence of sexual assault in our society at large.
Psychopathology and personality traits are associated with sexual abuse in the sense that men who rape have been diagnosed with a wide variety of psychiatric and personality disorders and usually antisocial personality disorder. Nonetheless, personality testing of rapists has found no big differences between sexual offenders and those incarcerated for nonsexual mistakes. The degree of involvement in sexually coercive behavior seem to be related to personality measures of irresponsibility, a lack of social conscience and a value orientation legitimizing aggression and in particular against women. Most investigators have concluded that there is heterogeneity among rapists and that sexual aggression which is determined by many factors. It is said that the personality profile of convicted rapists closely matches the personality profile of men in the general population than other set of felons.
Attitudes and gender schemas induce the sexual harassment. Sexually aggressive men believe myths about rape and use of interpersonal violence as an effective strategy for resolving conflict rather than are non-aggressive men. These beliefs serve as rationalizations for sexual offenders thereby allowing them to imagine that their victim either desired to experience forced sexual acts. Once men have developed attitudes that support violence against women, they misinterpret ambiguous evidence confirming their sexual abuse beliefs. Acceptance of rape myths is related to adversarial sexual beliefs, tolerance of interpersonal violence as well as gender role stereotyping.
Another cause of sexual abuse is the Sex and power motives. Research has evidenced that motives of power and anger dominate in rapists’ rationalizations for sexual aggression than sexual desires are. Sexually aggressive men admit that their sexual fantasies are aggressive and sadistic in nature.
Relationship Context cannot be left out as cause of sexual abuse. The stage of relationship between a man and a woman may affect the probability of violence. Some research shows that men who rape on first or second dates may have similarities to stranger rapists, while men who rape early in what otherwise appears to be a developing relationship may misperceive their partners’ intent. Variables that appear to be risk factors are the man’s initiating the date, paying all the expenses as well as driving. Miscommunication about sex, heavy alcohol use, men’s acceptance of traditional sex roles, interpersonal violence, adversarial attitudes about relationships, and rape myths are closely attributed to sexual abuse
Societal Influences from a body of theories suggests that socio-cultural factors contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence. These theories suggest that some societies accept and encourage sexual violence through expectations and cultural customs which may be spread through our history, families, media and institutions.
History can also influence sexual abuse because the history of a society’s understanding of sexual violence has its roots in the English property law. The law construed marriage vows to imply consent to sexual relations and men are permitted to use force to gain sexual access to their wives. Feminists regarded rape as a mechanism for maintaining patriarchy, a violent means of inducing fear in the women and reinforcing their subordination to men. This perspective has shaped the way peoples’ culture defines and understands sexual assault as of today.
Family is cause of sexual abuse. Sexual violence endures in human societies because it is modeled by influential members of our society as it has positive results for the perpetrator. Children are exposed to violence between their parents are involved in violent intimate relationships when they are adults. The structure of a family has an impact on the attitudes and behaviors of children raised in them. Violent sex offenders are found to have experienced poor parental child-rearing, poor supervision, physical abuse, neglected and separated from their parents.
Also sexual expectations and rape myths can cause and encourage sexual abuse. Expectations transmitted by culture of a society encourage male to feel superior, entitled and that they should be looking out for and they are ready to initiate sex in their relationships with women. These sexual scripts usually teach women to feel responsible for setting the limits as well as the pace of sexual contact in their relationships with males. Rape myths deny them the existence of sexual assault as they excuse it minimizing the seriousness of effects of sexual abuse. Acceptance of rape mythical tales is correlated with sexually aggressive behavior.
In addition to this, cultural mores is another factor that cannot be overlooked. Cultural customs play a remarkable a role in defining and promoting violence against women and children. Customs differ in the amount of intimate partner violence as well as the acceptability of this violence. Almost all societies tolerate rape and have kind of mechanisms that perpetuate violence.
Media is another cause that cannot be taken for granted. Since the early days of the modern women’s movement, feminists argued that pornography encouraged sexual aggression towards women by portraying them as sex objects. This depicts violence against women more than sexually graphic material thus it encourage acceptance of violence and callousness toward women who are its main victims. Television and movies usually send the message that violence works.
Schools and Other Influences is another cause. They can contribute to socialization which is supportive of violent behavior when they reinforce sex role stereotypes and attitudes that could tolerate the use of violence. Participation in team sports can increase the risk of sexual aggression since peers are more influential in shaping individual behavior than biology, personality, family, religion, or culture. Janet (Meyer.A. 2000)
Sexual abuse of any kind must be condemned using strongest terms possible. Parents, guardian teachers, relatives as well as the society should combine efforts to ensure that the offenders apprehended as the victims are given timely medication as well as advice on how to put up with the trauma such that one is not affected for the rest of his/her life.
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