Sexual Abuse and its effects on parent-child relationships

Children are increasingly sexually abused by members of the same family. Significant research studies have been conducted on the issue of sexual abuse with analysis carried out from all angles. The documentation available about sexual abuse reveals several devastating effects on the victims of such abuses. In order to reduce damage casued by sexual abuse, it is important to comprehensively understand the effects of sexual abuse on children, their family members and how it may change child-parent relationships.

This understanding would help in developing intervention and prevention mechanisms to control the re-occurrence of child abuse. This paper therefore introduces the concept of child abuse examining its effects on the victims, family members and their relationships. The paper then develops intervention and prevetion strategies to reduce these effects. Sexual abuse is a major public health issue throughout the world. In the United States for instance, one in every three females and one in every five males have suffered sexual assault during their teenage life.

Sexual abuse cuts across all religious, cultural, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Unluckily, sexual abuse is commonly prevalent among children. According to a report by the United States National Institute of Justice of 1997, over 22. 3 million children had been sexually abused. Gender differences play a significant role in sexual abuse incidences with girls experiencing higher risks than boys during their childhood and at adolescence. Since most behavioral, emotional and physical problems have been shown to be as a result of childhood trauma, it is important to address the problem of child sexual abuse effectively (Alexander, 1999).

However, a number of misconceptions about child sexual abuse persist in the United States. These misconceptions are related to the definition of sexual abuse with some arguing that is the sexual intercourse involving a child and an adult. Other misconceptions include the argument that the perpetrators of sexual assaults are predominantly strangers and usually occur more frequently in adult females. However, these arguments have been proved to be false. Sexual abuse constitutes several actions including non bodily contacts as well as contact offences.

Sexual abuses by strangers have been identified to constitute insignificant percentages of the overall victimization with children being more vulnerable to incidences of sexual assaults than adults. More precisely, about 30% of forced rapes among females according to several research studies occur the childhood age of 11 years. Sexual abuses according to several researchers have different criteria with the commonly utilized definition being any sexual act between a child and an adult where there is no proof of consent.

Examples of sexual abuse include child and adult sexual contact, in addition to sexual contacts involving relatively older teenagers and a minor child. Different states have different ages upon which a child may give consent. Depending on this state by state age, sexual abuse involving two young teenagers can also be possible. For instance, in Texas, any sexual contact is only considered as sexual abuse when the year differentiation between the children is more than three years.

Furthermore, there are several types of sexual abuses including physical contact and non physical contact offences. Despite the misconceptions of law the criteria used by researchers, the consequences of sexual abuse are so devastating and severe no matter whether these acts can adequately described academically or legally as sexual assault. This paper describes the effects of sexual abuse and how it would affect family relationships (Finkelhor & Browne, 1986).

Sexually abused child usually finds it difficult to talk about the abuse. Possible indicators of sexual abuse include observable evidence of physical distress to the private parts and the mouth, genital bleeding, pregnancy and complaints of discomfort of the private …

Holden (2002) is concerned about the quality of Gershoff’s empirical data, as it is crucial to distinguish severe from normative physical punishment in order to investigate whether spanking has any of those negative outcomes, which are readily associated with abusive …

The adoptive parents are also affected by child sexual abuse as they have to take care of children suffering form emotional distress because of the sexual abuse and its effects on their families. A potential challenge for the families of …

Child “abuse is commonly recognised as any behaviour towards a child that causes harm to that child in some way. This behaviour may be deliberate, or the parent may not be aware of the affects of their behaviour.” (Flynn, H. …

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