What is sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of sexual behaviour, it involves children or adolescents in sexual activities with an adult or any person older in which the child is used as a sexual object for the sexual gratification of the other. It can include:-

  • Being touched in sexual areas.
  • Shown sexual films, pictures, literature.
  • Spoken to in a sexual manner.
  • Made to pose for sexual photographs.
  • Forced to perform oral sex on an adult or older person.
  • Raped or otherwise penetrated.
  • Touched, kissed or held in a way that made you feel uncomfortable.
  • Used for child prostitution or pornography.
  • Forced to participate in ritualised abuse in which you were sexually or physically tortured.
  • Bathed or undressed in a manner that felt intrusive to you.
  • Told all you were good for was sex.
  • Exposed to others participating in sexual activity.

Some survivors don’t remember any specific details and yet have a feeling that something happened, if this is your instinct then it is highly likely that something did happen. Abuse does not have to be physical or violent, sexual violation can occur through many different circumstances.

There have been numerous attempts to define child sexual abuse, here are some definitions:

” Child sexual abuse is a violation of power perpetrated by a person with more power over someone who is vulnerable. This violation takes a sexual form, but involves more than sex. It involves a breaking of boundaries and a profound violation of the survivor’s sense of self. It is a devastating and selfish crime.” (Wendy Maltz)