The scars of sexual abuse and sexual assault are more often invisible than visible. A few minutes of unwanted fondling can have equally long lasting damaging effects as years of child sexual abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it was a single incident or multiple acts over a longer period of time. There is no good way to measure what story is more severe than another or what causes more harmful effect. Sexual abuse in any case cannot and should not be minimized. Anything that has been done to a person without their consent is abuse.
Any type of sexual experience you did not wanted to take part in is sexual abuse or sexual assault. Whether this was physical, verbal or whether you were forced to look at something of sexual nature, body parts or pornographic material. Even when you participated, when it felt good, when you got something for it and even when you had pleasure from it, it can still be abuse and if you were a child when this happened it definitely was abuse.
Bottom line is when someone with more leverage and power convinced, hustled, coerced, tricked, forced any one with less power into any type of sexual experience, it is abuse or assault. Does the abuser always have to be an older person? With child abuse, that is always the case. With adults abuse, that is not necessarily so, but regardless the age in all cases if you were taking advantage of, it was sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse often goes together with physical violence but if it didn’t, it still can be sexual abuse.
The shortest way for you to know whether you were abused or not is to answer the following questions:
– Was it against your will? Yes? then it was abuse.
– Were you too young (every minor) to make any judgment of such kind? Yes? then it was abuse.
In other words: when it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t good; when you say NO, it should mean NO. (But even when we don’t say no, it still can be abuse.)
The victim’s stories and allegations should always be taken serious.
According to loveisrespect.org, sexual abuse can be defined as those referring …”to any action that pressures or coerces someone to do something sexually they don’t want to do. It can also refer to behavior that impacts a person’s ability to control their sexual activity or the circumstances in which sexual activity occurs, including oral sex, rape or restricting access to birth control and condoms.”
Moreover, they further stated that it is important to know that just because the victim “didn’t say no,” doesn’t mean that they meant “yes.” When someone does not resist an unwanted sexual advance, it doesn’t mean that they consented. Sometimes physically resisting can put a victim at a bigger risk for further physical or sexual abuse.
Statistics from RAINN’s (Rape, Abuse, Incest, National Network) webpage shows the rampant and desperate cry of sexual abuse cases:
– There is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year;
– Every 107 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted; and,
– According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)–there is an average of 293,066 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.
As many of you have experienced children are not spared from the claws of sexual abuse: 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12 while 29% are age 12-17. The highest risk years are 12-34. Girls between the ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.
RAINN.org states that:
– 7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused; and,
– 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families in their Child Maltreatment Survey in 1995, stated and further identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse. This large amount, 75% were girls and nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.
Unluckily, combatting this issue has been regarded as a top priority among the authorities and lawmakers alike. It is more important that sexual abuse victims come forward and be strong enough at putting this evil wrong-doing to a halt. The victim’s voice must once and for all, be heard.
– U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Children and Families. 1995 Child Maltreatment Survey. 1995.
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