Dancia is studying to become a Psychologist. She currently works as a health coach and provides telecounselling through 7Cups.
I feel that child sexual abuse in unacceptable. It tears away people's spirit and causes uncontrollable fear at times. Nobody deserves to feel this way. Nobody deserves to go through so much torment mentally and physically. Being sexually abused, especially as a child, tears away at the mental health and can lead to larger problems in life like having chronic paranoia. It drives people insane and have a higher risk of committing suicide. It might even make the victims feel worthless and deserving of pain. I would like to become involved in ending this social injustice by reporting any sexually abusive people I notice online. I will also report any websites that come across me that is morally wrong. I will try to find an organization nearby where I can help out with in any way I am able to. I plan to join group chats with people who were once sexually abused and try to guide them through telling an adult and into recovery.
This issue is occurring worldwide. The cause of child sexual abuse could be because the abuser was also once abused. This causes a cycle. The abuser might also be experiencing loneliness, low self esteem, depression, and is likely to be mentally ill. About 70% of child sexual abuse occurrence, the abuser is someone the victim knows and trusts. 23% of reported cases show the perpetrator is also under the age of 18. It occurs because the abuser wants power or control. The abuser is then motivated further by anger, the urge to conflict harm on someone, and the fear in the victim.
How often does this occur?
Reports show that since 2006 to 2013, child sexual abuse rates have nearly doubled. In 2006, 25% of girls and 17% of boys have been sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. By 2013, 40% of girls and 30% of boys have been sexually abused before reaching the age of 18. These are only reported case, and it is estimated that most sexual abuse goes unreported.
What are the penalties?
"Aggravated sexual assault" can be 25 to life. Depending on how much evidence and how bad the assault was, the perpetrator can spend 25 years to a lifetime in jail. "Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to third party or bodily harm" can earn up to 14 years in jail. "Sexual assault tried as an indictable offence" can earn up to ten years in jail, and "sexual assault tried as summary conviction offence" earns six months in jail plus a $6000 fine.
Does it have to be physical?
Child sexual abuse does not necessarily have to be within physical contact. In fact, it could even take place online. Saying unwanted inappropriate things is considered sexual abuse. With teenagers adding strangers online comes the heightened risk for this unwanted conversation to talk place. Many people online are found guilty of talking to teenagers in an inappropriate fashion. Even trying to extract sexualized pictures is considered sexual abuse, especially when manipulation is needed. This can be done by someone pretending to be a part of an agency and must take a look at body shape. It could, however, take place in the real world too. Other than dirty talk, taking sexualized pictures of someone without that person's knowledge is sexual abuse. Peeping into change rooms or bathrooms are also considered sexual abuse.
After the Attack
After the attack, the victims have a tendency to become hyper sexualized, sexually reactive, promiscuous, have poor self esteem, depression, anxiety, and/or post traumatic stress disorder. Some will turn to alcohol abuse or drug abuse. Considering 90% of people with eating disorders have been abused, it is likely that the victim develops a form of eating disorder. Some also become aggressive, have self injury tendencies, sleep issues, and have a fear of touch.
For the perpetrator, he/she will be put in jail, and sometimes will have to pay a fine. Perhaps this should not be the only procedure taking place. Considering abusers tend to have a history of mental instability, abusers should also be checked into a psych ward or mental hospital to receive proper treatment, hopefully stopping his/her abusive ways.
Why don't the victims tell someone?
There isn't just one reason why child sexual abuse victims keep their attack a secret. Many times, threats are given by the abuser. The threats could be towards the victim, or threatening to harm the victim's loved ones. When this happens, it is under the category "sexual assault with a weapon, threats to third party or bodily harm". Other times, the abuser does not need to send any threats. Abusers are often trusted people, possibly family members. The victim might have a fear of getting the abuser into trouble if this is the case. The abuser would know the victim would feel too guilty to rat him/her out, so he/she takes advantage. Sometimes the victims are afraid of being disowned and are filled with shame and guilt. They feel as if it is their fault for not taking enough precautions or were not strong enough to fight them off. If their parents have a history of being neglectful or abusive, they are more likely to have a fear of being disowned. Being disowned is also a common fear within religious families due to the "shame" of being impure. Lastly, the fear of disbelief. Sadly, many times children's pleads for help are dismissed. They can be viewed as exaggerations, or just wanting to get someone in trouble. If could also be seen as just a cry for attention.
How do the victims get over it?
First, like recovery from any traumatic experience, is to accept it and take notice of how it has affected the victim's life. The second step is to redefine sex as a positive thing, comforting the victim that not all sexual experiences will be negative. Third, the victim must realize that sexuality is not defined by what happened. This means that the victim is not "defiled" or a "slut". The fourth step is to recognize and handle inappropriate touching so that the traumatic experience is less likely to occur again. It will also act as a reassurance for the victim to have knowledge on handling these situations. The last step, as obvious as it may be, is to avoid sexual behaviours that recreate the scene. This would avoid mental breakdowns and flashbacks.
© 2014 Dancia Susilo
Dancia Susilo (author) from Canada on January 17, 2014:
I know. I have had a "modelling agency" contact me and ask for pictures of me half naked. It was ridiculous.
JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on January 16, 2014:
These are startling statistics. Plus it becomes even scarier with the use of the internet as a tool to perpetrate it.