Child sexual abuse has become a silent epidemic in the U.S. It occurs in homes, churches, hospitals and more. Sexual abuse of children is tragically common; one out of every three girls and one out of every eight boys will be sexually abused by age 18. Of these abuses, 80 to 90 percent are committed by a family member or close family friend.
Perpetrators typically begin to abuse a child by gaining his or her trust and that of the parents. The offender will then gradually behave in increasingly inappropriate ways around the child. This can include sexual jokes, exposure to pornography, “accidental” physical touching, back rubs, hugging, and other means. If the child does not know that these activities are inappropriate, the offender will continue to escalate into abuse. Perpetrators purposely seek out victims who are young and unlikely to defend themselves or tell an authority figure. However, a child who is well informed and able to resist may be able to prevent abuse from occurring in the first place.
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If a child you know has been sexually abused, it is crucial to obtain medical treatment if needed – to help the child and possibly obtain DNA evidence of the perpetrator. Sometimes abuse does not leave a physical trace or cause physical injury, such as bruises. If you suspect that a child is being abused by a parent, family member, church official, educator, or anyone else it is imperative that you contact the authorities to investigate.
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Sexually abused children face lifelong psychological problems related to the violations committed in their childhood. Sometimes they block out the memories due to the trauma and it takes years before they remember. Counseling is an important step in overcoming the extreme trauma and pain caused by childhood sexual abuse.
The most important step in stopping this horrific epidemic is to stop abuse before it starts. Make sure that children are taken care of by trustworthy family members or caregivers. Check in with children, especially if you see any signs of physical abuse. If a child confides in you about possible sexual abuse, make sure the child is safe call the police immediately.
If you were abused as a child or know a child who has been sexually abused, contact an experienced attorney who can review your case and advise you whether to pursue legal action. For a free consultation, call the Fitch Law Firm at 855-529-6446.