Sexual Child Abuse

February 23, 2019 Psychology

Sexual Child Abuse
Sexual child abuse is a massive problem in our society today. Sexual child abuse issue makes people uncomfortable, it upsets them to think that anyone would hurt a child. “Sexual child abuse or child molestation is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation.” (Wiki) Sexual abuse can happen to women or men of any age. Child abuse inquires to emotional, neglect, sexual and physical abuse. “Sexual child abuse is a worldwide concern. It is an insidious, persistent, and serious problem that, depending on the population studied and definition used, affects 2-62% of women and 3-16% of men as victims. Pain and tissue injury from sexual child abuse can completely heal in time, but psychological and medical consequences can persist through adulthood.” (Felzen, Charles, & Johnson)
Who is likely to sexually abuse a child? “National USA statistics” indicate that “father only” and “other relatives” were responsible for 21.5% and 19.4% of sexual abuse victims, respectively. Other perpetrators were responsible for 24.9% of victims. Parents were the perpetrators of 45.3% cases of child sexual abuse. Mothers acting alone or with another person represented 3.9% and 7.9% of perpetrators, respectively.” (Parkhill, Michele R) This paper will discuss the investigation of sexual child abuse by child protection service (CPS) as well as their families and communities. This will also have the significant impacts on the present and future lives of victims and alleged perpetrators.

Thesis Statement:
This paper will discuss child abuse and sexual assault and the result of emotional disorder and behavior issues. This type of abuse knows no particular demographic and occurs across all cultural, economic and social status. This paper will look at three different sociological theories and how they can be related back to the problem of sexual child abuse. Social learning theory states that people model behavior that they have been exposed to as kids. Rational theory is a physical, emotional, psychological and sexual form to gain power. Social control theory explains how behavior conforms to what is expected in society. After discussing these theories, this paper will give solutions on how to prevent sexual child abuse.

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My hypothesis will deal with issues that occur in child abuse. Children from lower socioeconomic levels are much more likely to be abused. I will give reasons on why children get abused all over the world and suffer from mental disorders. I will show how abusers believe that abuse is simply an act of child discipline and a lack of parental skills. In addition, I will find information on how child abuse impacts its victims, and the development of psychological disorder in adults and force of being socially unstable. “Finkelhor mentions that sexually abused children and adolescents are commonly thought to be at risk in later years of themselves becoming sexually involved with child and adolescent. This belief is referred to here as the abused/abuser hypothesis of child and adolescent sexual abuse.” (Randall J)
The information that I am to reviewing will be with the use of Explorer and Texas Tech University library websites. This paper will focus on the studies on the peer review journal articles found at the TTU library. I have gathered information from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) website and The U.S. Department of Justice (NSOPW) National Sex Offender Public Website. Using these government websites, I will find recorded statistics and published rates of sexual child abuse within in the United States. All the information found will investigate from the government websites and peer reviewed journal articles to help report the results and surveys in the areas of social and psychological research in sexual child abuse.

Literature Review and Finding:
The social learning theory approach is adolescent sexual offending are victim or victimizer. Sociologist David Finkelor “communicates that studies suggest that a significant fraction of sexual abuse victims suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD-type symptoms including fragmentation memory, intrusive memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and dissociation or unconscious separation of some mental processes from others” (Finkelor) “The behavior in social learning theory have two methods: nonsexual offending delinquents and sexually offending delinquents. The latter were found to have: closer relationships with their perpetrators, a higher chance of having a male perpetrator, a longer duration of sexual victimization, more forceful sexual victimization, and the experience of penetration as part of their sexual victimization. Logistic regression showed that the gender of the perpetrators being both male and female and the forcefulness of the perpetrators were the best predictors of being in the sexual offender group.” (Miller). Children who have been sexually abused feel the negative emotions as guilt, anger and embarrassment with distrustful behaviors. Some children feel that it was there fault that it happened. Most sexual abuse is committed by a parent or someone trusted within the family.

The rational theory deals with an individual who makes the decision to commit the crime of child abuse.” There are various psychological and criminological theories that attempt to explain child sexual abuse perpetration. Most of the research up until now was undertaken with incarcerated populations of child molesters, and therefore these theories may be present with a selection bias. If we consider a social-ecological model for child sexual abuse prevention, the individual perpetrator is part of a much larger set of relationships than the one between themselves and their victim. As such, risk factors for child sexual abuse perpetration may exist at a broader, societal level; for example, in the portrayal of children and women in advertising or the hyper-sexualization of children. The levels within the social-ecological model are the individual, family, community, organizations/institutions, and society.” (Finkelhor) Researcher are helpful in indicating an individual’s role in committing child abuse. It is distinguished by the explanation on how offenders normalized interactions to gain both trust and access to victims. “According to Sawrikar, & Katz the differences in study results in relation to rape may be due to differences in the type of sexual assault studied, the age of the victims studied, the definitions of rape, the source of sample selection, reported versus unreported cases, and lack of control and follow up studies.” (Sawrikar, ; Katz). The research used in sexual child abuse is psychological and a sexual form to gain power by the perpetrator.
The social control theory exams on how to be aware of sexual child abuse. It is suggested that there is a decline in numbers of reported incidents may be due to decline in levels of understanding and awareness. How does someone recognize and respond to child, sexual abuse and find ways to prevent it from happening? Look under the (NSOPW) National Sex Offender Public Website, to find registered sex offenders near your home, work or school. You should look for signs around your own family, it’s possible that it’s happening in your own home. Be very cautious on who takes care of your children. Ask your children questions, let them be aware that private areas are not to be touched. Let your child know that you will always be there for them with the good or the bad. Always have the connection with your child. If I would have had this information and connection with my parent, I would have not been sexually abused as a child. As I researched this paper, I continuously kept reading that if you are sexual abused that you become a sexual abuser. In my own experience I have found this to be False. I chose not to abuse instead became a defender and protector. It is the victim’s choice to choose the road they want abuser or not abuse. In addition, this website will assist and inform the families and keep you safe. According to the” National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System”. children rarely admit to being sexually abused, it’s vital that parents, family members and friends keep an eye out for the following behavior. 1) withdraw from loved ones 2) feeling guilty or ashamed 3) strange anxiety 4) fear of people, activities or places 5) trouble sleeping 6) masturbating excessively 7) victimizing others 8) fear of recurring attack.” (NCANDS web) Social control will analyze the development of your child and help prevent sexual child abuse.

The research based on social learning theory is a purpose of stopping and preventing future child abuse and neglect by teaching the child and parent relationship skills in the family.” These findings indicate that it may not be the experience of sexual abuse itself that has an impact on a mother’s risk of physical abuse, but rather whether she is able to resolve that trauma.” (Mapp) There are so many reasons why sexual child abuse occurs, I believe that some abuser is usually drunk, intoxicated or maybe on drugs. Most abusers are friends, family members or acquaintances. Children are taught to respect and obey adults. Children should not have to go through this torture and their innocence taken from them. “There are very encouraging developments in the field of child sexual abuse research. A critical mass appears to have been reached, and many findings are now tumbling into public view. We can expect in the next several years that we will experience some soul searching as our current preconceptions and practices become confronted with research findings, some of which are certain to be unexpected.” (Finkelhor) There are still many questions that remain unanswered, like the different victims experiencing sexual child abuse. The impact of the survivor’s future and the adjustments in their life. We must understand and identify, treatment and prevention of child abuse. The main issue is to the survivors of sexual child abuse. We must offer physical, emotional and psychological support to the affected child and recovery from the terrible experience.

Burton, Miller, ; Shill. (2002). A social learning theory comparison of the sexual victimization of adolescent sexual offenders and nonsexual offending male delinquents. Child Abuse ; Neglect, 26(9), 893-907.

Finkelhor, Shattuck, Turner, ; Hamby. (2014). The Lifetime Prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse and Sexual Assault Assessed in Late Adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health, 55(3), 329-333.

Mapp, Susan C. (2006). The Effects of Sexual Abuse as a Child on the Risk of Mothers Physically Abusing Their Children: A Path Analysis Using Systems Theory. Child Abuse ; Neglect: The International Journal, 30(11), 1293-1310.
Randall J. Garland ; Michael J. Dougher – Department of Psychology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, (1990)
Rogers, Paul, Davies, Michelle, Anderson, Irina, ; Potton, Anita. (2011). Can Norm Theory Explain the Effects of Victim Age and Level of Physical Maturity on Perceptions of Child Sexual Abuse? Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 26(10), 1911-1933.

Sawrikar, ; Katz. (2018). Preventing child sexual abuse (CSA) in ethnic minority communities: A literature review and suggestions for practice in Australia. Children and Youth Services Review, 85, 174-186.


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