The Severity of Child Sexual Abuse

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Child abuse, while having many different forms and levels of severity, can be basically defined as the maltreatment of a child by a parent or other adult. When one thinks of child abuse, usually the first thing that comes to mind is physical harm, but the issue is actually much more complex. The abuse of a child can also be manifested in verbal and emotional forms, as well as in sexual molestation. All forms of child abuse generally result in similar emotional disorders and behavioral issues, but the major consequences of sexual abuse, such as mental or emotional scarring, promiscuity, and the tendency of former victims to become sexual abusers, cause it to be the most severely damaging form of child abuse. Sexual abuse cannot be clearly defined with ease. In fact, sexual abuse is an umbrella term for any sort of situation, whether or not it involves physical contact, in which a sexually immature child is exposed to anything sexual in nature. Because no child is psychologically mature enough for sexual stimulation, the complex feelings associated with it are mentally and emotionally disfiguring. Children who have been sexually abused experience an array of negative emotions such as shame, guilt and anger, and may display oddly withdrawn or distrustful behaviors. They cannot help but feel that they somehow brought the abuse unto themselves (Saisan, et al). One major contributing factor to these severe psychological consequences is the concept of trust. Sexual abuse is, in most cases, committed by a parent or other trusted adult figure. While children are naïve on such adult topics, they can still get an overwhelming feeling that the attention is wrong, yet they are unsure of how to cope with it. If the child has an emotional atta... ... middle of paper ... ...cle of Sexual Abuse - Why Adults Who Were Sexually Abused as Children Have Abusive Relationships." Addictions. Ignite Your Faith, 27 June 2011. Web. 12 Jan. 2014. "Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect." Child Welfare Information Gateway. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. "National Child Abuse Statistics | Childhelp." Prevention and Treatment of Child Abuse | Childhelp. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. Saisan, MSW, Joanna, Segal, Jeanne, Ph.D., and Smith, Melinda, M.A.,. "Child Abuse & Neglect: Recognizing and Preventing Child Abuse." Understand, Prevent and Resolve Life's Challenges. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. Sharples, Tiffany. "Study: Most Child Abuse Goes Unreported." N.p., 2 Dec. 2008. Web. 7 Jan. 2014. Zieve, David, Juhn, Greg, and Eltz, David R. "Child Abuse-Sexual." New York Times. N.p., 13 Oct. 2008. Web. 12 Jan. 2014.

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