CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Problem Statement

Each year, nearly a million children are determined by child protective services to be the victims of abuse and/or neglect in this country, while many more are at risk. The majority of victims suffer from neglect, but some children also endure the effects of physical, psychological, or sexual abuse. It is estimated that in this country we will spend billions a year on direct and indirect effects of child abuse and neglect. In having prevention programs in the community, this reduces the risks of domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness and child abuse. While encouraging protective factors, such as social connections, knowledge of effective parenting, and access to support in times of need. The child’s only hope would be if a family member or a friend of the family recognizes the signs of the abuse and report it to the proper authorities.

Project Description

AWCD has touched very sensitive topic which has been ignored by society from long time. Action for Women & Child Development and its collaborative organization Action for Green Earth has established unique awareness model which starts from schools students to their community. AWCD & AGE has developed successful validated model called “Channel Awareness Workshop(CAW) “

Yes! Lets Fight for Child Sexual Abuse

(To Conduct Workshop)

What is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child Sexual Abuse is the use of a child for sexual gratification by an older or more powerful person. The offender is usually an adult, but could also be a more powerful child. Both girls and boys are vulnerable. Besides being a public health concern, it is a crime punishable by law.

Types of Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse includes the following Touching and Non-Touching Behaviors (but need not be limited only to these acts)

Touching behaviors include
  • Fondling a child's body for sexual pleasure
  • Kissing a child with sexual undertones/inclinations.
  • Rubbing genitals against a child's body.
  • Sexually touching a child's body, and specifically private parts (breasts and genitals). Includes encouraging or forcing a child to do likewise.
  • Making a child touch someone else's genitals, or playing sexual ("pants-down") games.
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to masturbate, with the child as either a participant or observer.
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to perform oral sex (mouth-to-genital contact on or by the child)
  • Inserting objects or body parts (like fingers, tongue or penis) inside the vagina, mouth, or anus of a child; includes attempts of these acts.
  • Non-touching behaviors include
  • Encouraging a child to watch or hear sexual acts either in person or lowering the bars of privacy
  • Looking at a child sexually
  • Exposing one's private body parts to a child (exhibitionism)
  • Watching a child in a state of nudity, such as while undressing, using the bathroom, with or without the child's knowledge (voyeurism)
  • An adult making suggestive comments to the child that are sexual in nature. Commenting on the sexual development of a child
  • Encouraging or forcing a child to read/watch pornography, giving pornographic material or using the child in pornography
  • Most people imagine abusers to be shadowy and frightening strangers. In fact, most often these abusers can range from family members to acquaintances and someone the victim trusts explicitly. Rarely are abusers complete strangers.

    Contrary also to what people may think, a person who abuses a child is usually not someone with a psychiatric disorder. They are usually indistinguishable from anyone else. In fact, often an abuser is a "regular" person who leads a "routine" life and is known to the victim, but has no inhibition or qualms for having sex with children.

    Furthermore, child sexual abusers do not share any specific common characteristics:-
  • Though most abusers are men, women can also be abusers.
  • They do not belong to any particular socio-economic class.
  • Education, or the lack of it, does not define an abuser.
  • The abuser need not have any psychological/emotional problems.
  • Abuser can be married and have children of their own.
  • The abuser may or may not have history of abuse in his/her childhood.
  • When abusers plans on targeting a child, they keep in mind the following factors:
  • Picking someone who can be safely victimized.
  • Spending time observing and then tricking the child into performing sexual acts so that the victim appears to be willing partner.
  • Manipulates an apparently "willing victim" through encouragement, coercion, surveillance, constraint and bribery.
  • You're a thief—a con artist. You recently met an elderly widow with a good-sized bank account fueled by pension and dividend checks. In sharp contrast, your own financial engine is running on fumes. You decide to take her money.

    So you befriend the lady. You run small errands for her. You buy her gifts. You listen to her stories and you comfort her when she feels lonely. You put your arm around her and tell her you understand her problems. You spend time with her each day. You tell her she's special. You gain her trust. Her natural suspicion disappears.

    Only then does the conversation shift to money. You tell her about a tremendous investment opportunity. You offer her a chance to share in this special event. If she's curious, you play on that curiosity. You answer her questions and downplay her fears.

    And your work pays off. She trusts you. She signs the check.

    Three minutes after her bank opens, you're in the wind, cash in hand and ready to target your next victim.

    Three minutes after her bank opens, you're in the wind, cash in hand and ready to target your next victim.

    But what if you're a child molester—a predator? What if the object of your desire isn't the widow's bank account, but her six-year-old grandson? What steps will you take to get what you want?

    Not much will change. A predator will identify and engage his victim. He'll gain the child's trust, break down his defenses, and manipulate him into performing or permitting the desired sex act. If necessary, the predator will gain access to the child by employing the same techniques with the child's parent or adult caretaker.

    The process is called grooming. It increases the predator's access to his victim and decreases the likelihood of discovery.

    Anna C. Salter is a respected psychologist. She is an expert in the field of child sexual maltreatment, and she spells it out:

    The establishment (and eventual betrayal) of affection and trust occupies a central role in the child molester's interactions with children....The grooming process often seems similar from offender to offender, largely because it takes little to discover that emotional seduction is the most effective way to manipulate children.
    These men are convicted child molesters. They, too, are experts in the field of child maltreatment, and they also spell it out:
    [P]arents are so naive—they're worried about strangers and should be worried about their brother-in-law. They just don't realize how devious we can be. I used to abuse children in the same room with their parents and they couldn't see it or didn't seem to know it was happening. I was disabled and spent months grooming the parents, so they would tell their children to take me out and help me. No one thought that disabled people could be abusers. [P]arents are partly to blame if they don't tell their children about [sexual matters]—I used it to my advantage by teaching the child myself. [P]arents shouldn't be embarrassed to talk about things like this—it's harder to abuse or trick a child who knows what you're up to. Here's what the predators are up to

    Grooming is a process. It begins when the predator chooses a target area. He may visit places where children are likely to go: schools, shopping malls, playgrounds, parks, and the like. He may work or volunteer at businesses that cater to children. Other predators strike up relationships with adults who have children in the home—single parent families make particularly good targets

    Victim selection and recruitment are next. There is no prototypical victim of child sexual abuse. Any child may be victimized. Not surprisingly, predators often target children with obvious vulnerabilities. A child who feels unloved and unpopular will soak up adult attention like a sponge. Children with family problems, who spend time alone and unsupervised, who lack confidence and self-esteem, and who are isolated from their peers are all likely targets.

    Predators engage or "recruit" their victims in different ways. Many use a combination of forced teaming and charm. They may offer to play games, give rides, or buy treats and gifts as tokens of friendship. They may offer drugs or alcohol to older children or teenagers. And they almost always offer a sympathetic, understanding ear. Your parents don't understand or respect you? I do. Other kids make fun of you? I know what that's like—it was the same way for me when I was your age. They don't trust you at home? Boy, I know what that's like—your parents never really want you to grow up. But I trust you. I respect you. I care for you more than anybody else. And I love you. I'm here for you.

    Successful predators find and fill voids in a child's life

    A predator will usually introduce secrecy at some point during the grooming process. Initially, secrecy binds the victim to the predator: "Here's some candy. But don't tell your friends because they'll be jealous, and don't tell your mother because she won't like you eating between meals." Later on, secrecy joins hands with threats: "If you tell your mother what happened, she'll hate you. It'll kill her. Or I'll kill her. Or I'll kill you."

    The forging of an emotional bond through grooming leads to physical contact. Predators use the grooming process to break down a child's defenses and increase the child's acceptance of touch. The first physical contact between predator and victim is often nonsexual touching designed to identify limits: an "accidental" touch, an arm around the shoulder, a brushing of hair. Nonsexual touching desensitizes the child. It breaks down inhibitions and leads to more overt sexual touching—the predator's ultimate goal.

    The best way to recognize grooming behavior is to pay attention to your child and the people in your child's life. Gavin de Becker sensibly reminds us that "[c]hildren require the protection of adults, usually from adults. Their fear of people is not yet developed, their intuition not yet loaded with enough information and experience to keep them from harm." There are many demands placed upon our time, but nothing—nothing—is more important than the welfare of our children. When we blindly surrender responsibility for them to others without question, we invite trouble. Parents should know their child's teachers, coaches, day care providers, youth group leaders, and other significant adults in their lives. Make unannounced visits. Ask questions. Stay involved.

    And please—talk to your children. Teach them to recognize grooming behavior. Teach them to be wary of any physical contact initiated by an adult. And teach them to trust you with their problems and their pain. The safest child is the child who knows he can bring his problems and concerns to parents and adult caregivers without reproach or retaliation.

    Sexual abuse is more likely to be identified through behavioral indicators, rather than by physical indicators. PHYSICAL INDICATORS
  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Anxiety related illnesses, such as anorexia or bulimia
  • Discomfort in urinating or defecating
  • Recurrent urinary infections
  • Evidence of physical trauma, to the oral, genital or anal areas, manifested as bleeding, discharge, soreness and/or itching
  • Bruising and other injury to breasts, buttocks and thighs and other parts of the body
  • Sexually transmitted disease in a child of any age
  • Unexplained pregnancy
  • BEHAVIOURAL INDICATORS

    Behavioral indicators in and of themselves do not constitute abuse. Together with other indicators they may warrant a referral.

  • Learning problems, inexplicable fall in academic grades, poor memory and concentration
  • Reluctance to participate in physical or recreational activities
  • Regression to younger behaviour, such as thumb-sucking, acting like a baby, bedwetting and/or speech difficulties
  • Tendency to cling or need constant reassurance
  • Sudden accumulation of money or gifts
  • Complaining of headaches, stomach pains or nausea without a physiological basis
  • Fatigue and sleeping difficulties
  • Poor self-care/personal hygiene
  • Depression
  • Social withdrawal (such as poor or deteriorating relationships with adults and peers)
  • Developing fears, phobias and anxieties (A fear of a specific place related to abuse, a particular adult, refusing to change into sports/swimming clothes)
  • Wearing of provocative clothing, or layers of clothes to hide injuries and/or to appear unattractive
  • Sexual knowledge, behavior, or use of language not appropriate to age level
  • Sexual inference in children's recreational activities such as drawing, playing, singing etc.
  • Sexually abusive behavior towards other children, particularly younger or more vulnerable than themselves
  • Age inappropriate sexual behavior.
  • Child running away from home/school.
  • Self-injurious behavior, like alcohol or drug abuse, body-mutilation, getting in trouble with law, suicide attempts
  • Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

    The effects of child sexual abuse vary from child to child with each child developing his/her own coping mechanism. The effects are dependent on a host of factors, the primary ones being age of the child, sex of the child, the relationship with the abusers, frequency of abuse and availability rof support systems etc. But some of the more common effects of child sexual abuse recorded are:

  • Distrust of others and themselves.
  • Terror and anxiety.
  • Shame, guilt, and self-hatred.
  • Alienatation from their bodies.
  • Isolation and withdrawal from people and activities.
  • Powerlessness, depression, and extreme passivity.
  • Anger.
  • Obsession with sex or complete aversion to it.
  • Questioning their sexuality and gender.
  • Drug and alcohol use, abuse and addiction.
  • Eating disorders.
  • Perfectionism and workaholism.
  • Mental illness and suicide.
  • Sexual offending.