Child sexual abuse is a gradual process with the adult knowingly testing the child’s boundaries using his or her familiarity with the child, social status, or power to take advantage of the child.
Forms of child sexual abuse include:
- Statutory sexual assault
- Sexualized talk
- Sexting without permission
- Ritual abuse
- Sexualized talk
- Commercial sexual exploitation (Example: human trafficking
- Exposure and voyeurism
- Forced participation in the production or viewing of pornography
- Any other unwanted sexual act
Indicators of Child Sexual Abuse
Indicators of sexual abuse or exploitation include physical injury to genitals, sexually transmitted infections, bladder or urinary infection, difficulty swallowing, pain going to the bathroom, nightmares, resistance to removing clothing at appropriate times, sexually acting out, unexplained and early pregnancy, initiating sophisticated sexual behaviors, engaging other children into inappropriate sexualized play, playing out sexual scenarios with toys or dolls, excessive masturbation, or regression in young children.
Responding to Child Sexual Abuse
What should you do if a child discloses sexual abuse?
- Remain calm to avoid scaring or confusing the child. Let the child tell you what happened in his or her own words. The information the child gives you may not be complete and more details may be disclosed as time goes by. Do not pressure the child to talk. Leave the investigation to the proper authorities.
- Tell the child you are glad they disclosed to you and that the abuse is not their fault. Support the child no matter what.
- If the child was recently sexually abused, do not let the child bathe, shower, swim or clean up in any manner.
- Seek medical attention for the child. The child may have injuries or sexually transmitted diseases that are not noticeable. The child may also need a forensic medical exam.
- Be supportive. With proper treatment and support a child can develop a positive and healthy outlook. Free and confidential help is available for the child and their family. Contact Family Services Incorporated at 814-944-3585 for more information.
call 1-800-500-2849 or 814-944-3585.