The sexual ·abuse of children is far more common than most people realise. At least 1 in 3 girls & 1 in 5 boys are abused in childhood. In most cases, the abuser is someone known & trusted by the child, & is usually male. Fathers, step-fathers, grandfathers, uncles & brothers are the most common. Abusers are men who are found across the full range of cultural, socio-economic & geographic groups. The abuse could range from sexual suggestions through to violent rape. It may only happen once, but it is more likely to be a frequent occurrence over an extended period of time.
The most significant & damaging characteristics of child sexual abuse are
The abuser knows that what he is doing is wrong, so he attempts to avoid detection. This often includes making the child feel responsible for what he is doing to her/him, or making threats about what will happen ifs/he tells anyone. The child is kept silent through fear & shame, & the thought that no-one would believe her/him if s/he told. Unfortunately, when children do tell they are often not believed or not supported.
Even as adults, it is very difficult for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to talk about what happened.
They still fear being blamed or disbelieved, & it takes great courage to finally break the silence.
Anyone who has experienced childhood sexual abuse has lived through a traumatic experience which can have severe & lasting effects.
S/he is also a strong, resourceful & courageous person who has survived & coped in whatever ways have been available to her/him.
S/he deserves support in her/his attempts to resolve the effects of abuse in her/his life & develop more positive coping strategies.