The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse

There are very few things more distasteful, controversial and complicated to imagine than the sexual abuse of children. In the modern era, as technological advancements are made and forensics and investigative methods become more comprehensive, child sexual abuse has become an increasingly prevalent subject in our society. In the past, comprehensive studies and investigative methodology in this area have been virtually nonexistent. Up until recent decades, very little was known or said about the sexual abuse of children, but today the subject is attracting far more attention and effort than ever before. The vast scope of sexual abuse against youths has not yet been fully comprehended, and is so glaringly under-reported that acquiring definitive data and statistics is literally an impossibility.

There is even conflict among the various studies that have been conducted, with numbers all over the spectrum and most resulting in misleading figures that range from excessive to severely underestimated. Not nearly all cases of sexual abuse are reported to authorities, however from the millions of cases that have been reported we can extrapolate some very disturbing statistics.

  • About 1 in 4 female children are sexually assaulted or harassed before the age of 18.
  • About 1 in 7 male children are sexually abused before the age of 18.
  • 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 have been sexually solicited via the internet.
  • Roughly 60-70% of all reported cases of sexual abuse involve victims under 18.

As sexual abuse is not a static crime, the repercussions of this sickening behavior echo long after the act has been committed. It has been reported that over 30 million current citizens of the US have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse in the past.

An analysis of the perpetrators involved in these crimes have yielded some equally disturbing information concerning the relationship with their victims.

  • 30-40% of victims are sexually abused by a member of their own family
  • Roughly 40-50% are abused by a unrelated person whom they are acquainted with.
  • This leaves only around 10% of child sexual abuse victims who have been abused by a total stranger.

The results of child sexual abuse are numerous and far-reaching, impacting not only the victims themselves, but those who interact with them throughout their lives. Possible behavioral, mental, or physical problems abound.

It is generally believed that sexually assaulted individually have an increased tendency toward alcoholism and drug addiction. Nearly 80% of all sexual abuse victims have reported substantial substance and/or alcohol abuse at some stage. Young girls who have been subjected to sexual assault are many times more likely to develop mental disorders or substance abuse in their adult years than those who have never been abused. Concerning young male victims, many seek treatment for suicidal thinking and other psychological problems, as well as substance abuse. Men who have been sexually abused at a young age are far more likely to develop abusive tendencies, which may lead to violently abusing others themselves.

Other unfortunate consequences of child sexual abuse include an increase in teenage pregnancy and prostitution. Many children who have been victims of abuse display a heightened pattern of unsuitable sexual conduct. Pregnancy rates are also far higher among females with a history of receiving sexual abuse, particularly in the teenage years when pregnancy rates are multiple times the norm. It is estimated that over half of teen pregnancies have occurred after an event of abuse.

Sexual assault and child abuse are unusually heinous crimes requiring the attention of specialists with a deep understanding of the symptoms and trained to understand the underlying motive of those who commit the crimes. In an age when child abusers are more technologically savvy than ever, tracking potential perpetrators can be very difficult.

The legal system as a whole is very adult-oriented. Children who do come forward to confess being mistreated sexually are thrown into an adult world of legality and procedure completely alien to them, and in the course of police questioning and the search for evidence, coupled with what is often an intense public demand for rapid resolution, the children find themselves vastly unprepared for the process, and often are not considered to be anything more than evidence themselves rather than a violated human being.

Our legal system has undergone some positive reforms in recent years, but it is slow to change and remains a perpetual uphill battle. Successfully interviewing and working with abused children requires much practice, dedication and training, sometimes public law enforcement finds its ranks ill-equipped to deal with cases like these. Many families and individuals involved in a sexual abuse cases turn to private investigators as a detour from the bureaucracy, and in many ways can be more effective and pleasant to deal with than law enforcement. Private investigators can deliver significant one-on-one attention and dedication to your case, matched with years of experience and know-how.

Here at Graves Investigations, child sexual abuse is not a foreign subject, and we are well equipped to assist you in resolving your case. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, and public law enforcement has failed to deliver, give us a call and we will be happy to assist you.

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