HOW BAD IS CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE?One out of every 3 girls and 1 out of every 5 to 6 boys will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. In the majority of cases, the perpetrator is someone known to the child and/or family members and is usually someone they trust. These abused children range in age from the tiniest infant to the toughest teenager on up to elder abuse survivors. They look like you and I.
Unfortunately, only a very small percent of abuse victims will ever tell anyone. They are afraid. They are ashamed. They are afraid that a loved one will be hurt or killed. They are afraid that someone they love will go to jail. They are afraid no one will believe them. They are afraid the abuse will get worse. Imagine that…
Many of the services available for these young victims are scattered across the county and loosely coordinated. At the most critical point of disclosure or discovery, a terrified child must repeat the abuse scenario over and over again. Further, to get needed treatment and support, abused children and their families must negotiate a maze of systems, which can be completely overwhelming. Compounding these challenges, the community is burdened by the costs of a fragmented system.
Without early intervention, these tiny victims often go on to have significant emotional or behavioral problems, which can include: nightmares, bed-wetting, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, adolescent pregnancy, and suicidal tendencies. They will face problems in school, difficulty establishing and maintaining personal relationships, promiscuity, risky behavior, financial difficulties, among others. Victims pay for their abuse over and over, and the consequences can be life-long. It is critical to provide comprehensive, quality care in a compassionate manner to these victims in order to minimize the trauma they've endured and to prevent these likely negative life consequences.
WHO IS AT RISK?
WHAT DOES A PERPETRATOR LOOK LIKE?