Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

Signs of Child Sexual Abuse

 

Child sexual abuse is the exploitation of a child for the gratification or profit of an adult. Sexual abuse can range from exhibitionism and fondling to intercourse or use of a child in the production of pornographic materials. Sexual abuse also may result in physical injury or be accompanied by other signs of abuse or neglect. Sexual abuse generally is perpetrated by someone known to the child and frequently continues over a prolonged period of time. Often it does not involve sexual intercourse or physical force. The incidence is estimated at 100,000 to 250,000 cases per year; however this type of abuse is difficult to detect and confirm.

 

 

PHYSICAL SIGNS

 

Any of the following physical signs may indicate abuse:

  • Difficulty in walking or sitting
  • Thickening and/or hyperpigmentation of the labial skin (especially when it resolves during out-of-home placement)
  • Horizontal diameter of vaginal opening that exceeds 4mm in prepubescent girls
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Bruises or bleeding of the genitalia, perineum, or perianal area
  • Vaginal discharge and/or pruritus
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections
  • Gonococcal infection – Pharynx, Urethra, Rectum, Vagina
  • Syphilis
  • Genital herpes
  • Trichomonas
  • Chlamydial infection when resent beyond first six months of life (may be present at birth up to 6 months)
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Nonspecific vaginitis
  • Candidiasis
  • Pregnancy
  • Sperm or acid phosphatase on body or clothes; sperm in the urine of a female child
  • Lax rectal tone

 

BEHAVIORAL SIGNS

 

Children may display a wide range of psychological reactions to sexual abuse. Reactions depend on the age of the child, emotional maturity, nature of the incident, duration of sexual abuse, and the child’s relationship to the offender. The child may:

  • Confide in a relative, friend, or teacher; the disclosure may either be overt or subtle and indirect
  • Become withdrawn and daydream excessively
  • Evidence poor peer relationships
  • Experience poor self-esteem
  • Seem frightened or phobic, especially of adults
  • Experience distortion of body image
  • Express general feelings of shame or guilt
  • Exhibit a sudden deterioration in academic performance
  • Show pseudomature personality development
  • Attempt suicide
  • Exhibit a positive relationship toward the offender
  • Display regressive behavior
  • Display enuresis (wetting self) and/or encopresis (soiling self)
  • Engage in excessive masturbation
  • Engage in highly sexualized play
  • Become sexually promiscuous
  • Have a sexually abused sibling.
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SEXUAL ASSAULT—KNOW THE FACTS

SEXUAL ASSAULT—KNOW THE FACTS

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Sexual assault is pervasive in Michigan and in the United
States. Recent studies provide compelling evidence to indicate the scope of the problem. The National
Violence Against Women Survey found that 1 of 6 U.S. women and 1 of 33 U.S. men has experienced
an attempted or completed rape as a child and/or an adult. (Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences
of Violence Against Women. U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. November 1998.)
Statistics indicate that sexual assault is a significant problem.

In Michigan, 40% of women have experienced some form of sexual violence, ranging from unwanted
touching to forcible rape, since the age of 16. (Survey of Violence in the Lives of Michigan Women.
Michigan Department of Community Health, Community Public Health Agency, 1996.)

Almost 5000 rapes and attempted rapes were reported to Michigan law enforcement agencies in 2000.
(Michigan Uniform Crime Report. Michigan State Police, 2001.)

Sexual assault is a crime committed primarily against girls and women under the age of 25.

The National Violence Against Women Survey found that of the women who reported being raped at some
time in their lives, 21.6% were under the age of 12 years old, 32.4% were 12-17 years old, 29% were 18-24
years old, and 16.6% were over 25 years old when they were first raped. This means 54% of women
victims were under 18 at the time of the first rape and 83% of women victims were under the age of 25.
(Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women. U.S. Department of Justice, Office
of Justice Programs. November 1998.)

Most sexual assaults are committed by someone the victim knows, not a stranger.

About 6 in 10 rape or sexual assault victims knew their assailant. Approximately 43% of victims are raped
by a friend or acquaintance; 34% by a stranger; 17% by an intimate; and 2% by another relative. (National
Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. 2000.)

More than 70% of rape or sexual assault victims knew their attackers, compared to about half of all violent
crime victims. (Sexual Victimization of College Women. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of
Justice. 2001.)

Men and boys are also victims of sexual assault.
In one study, 5% of boys in grades 9-12 and 3% of boys in grades 5-8 reported that they had been sexually
abused. (The Commonwealth Fund Survey of the Health of Adolescent Girls. New York: The
Commonwealth Fund. 1997.)

About three percent of American men—a total of 2.78 million men—have experienced an attempted or
completed rape in their lifetime. (Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women.
U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. November 1998.)

Sexual assault victims do not lie about the assaults, in fact sexual assault is a vastly underreported
crime.

Rape or sexual assault is the violent crime least often reported to law enforcement. In 1999, only 28% of
victims reported the assault to police. (Criminal Victimization 2000: Changes 1999-2000 with Trends
1993-2000. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice. June 2001.)

The rate of “false reports” or false allegations of rape is 2% to 3%, no different than that for other crimes.
(Schafran, L. H. 1993. Writing and reading about rape: A Primer. St. John’s Law Review, 66, 979-1045.)
Assailants use many forms of coercion, threats and manipulation to rape including alcohol and
drugs. Alcohol, Rohypnol, and other drugs are often used to incapacitate victims.

Men who have committed sexual assault also frequently report getting their female companion drunk as a
way of making it easier to talk or force her into having sex. (Abbey, A., McAuslan, P. & Ross, L. Sexual
Assault Perpetration by College Men: The Role of Alcohol, Misperception of Sexual Intent, and Sexual
Beliefs and Experiences. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 17, 167-195. 1998.)

Although the media has labeled drugs such as Rohypnol and GHB as the date-rape drugs of the present,
these are only two of the many drugs used to incapacitate a victim. Of the 22 substances used in drugfacilitated
rapes, alcohol is the most common. (LeBeau, M., et al., Recommendations for Toxicological
Investigations of Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults, Journal of Forensic Sciences. 1999.)

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence
3893 Okemos Road, Suite B2 Okemos, MI 48864
Phone: (517) 347-7000 Fax: (517) 347-1377 TTY: (517) 381-8470
http://www.mcadsv.org

Who are the victims of sexual assault?

Who are the Victims?


Women

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).1

17.7 million American women have been victims of attempted or completed rape.1

9 of every 10 rape victims were female in 2003.2

While about 80% of all victims are white, minorities are somewhat more likely to be attacked.

Lifetime rate of rape /attempted rape for women by race:1

Men

About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.1

  • In 2003, 1 in every ten rape victims were male.2
  • 2.78 million men in the U.S. have been victims of sexual assault or rape.1

Children

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.3

  • 29% are age 12-17.
  • 44% are under age 18.3
  • 80% are under age 30.3
  • 12-34 are the highest risk years.
  • Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.

7% of girls in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.4

  • 3% of boys grades 5-8 and 5% of boys in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused.

In 1995, local child protection service agencies identified 126,000 children who were victims of either substantiated or indicated sexual abuse.5

  • Of these, 75% were girls.
  • Nearly 30% of child victims were between the age of 4 and 7.

93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker.6

  • 34.2% of attackers were family members.
  • 58.7% were acquaintances.
  • Only 7% of the perpetrators were strangers to the victim.

 

 

http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

How Often Does Sexual Assault Occur?

How often does sexual assault occur?

In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault.1 (These figures do not include victims 12 years old or younger.)

Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.

Here’s the math. According to the U.S. Department of Justice‘s National Crime Victimization Survey — the country’s largest and most reliable crime study — there were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007 (the most recent data available).

There are 525,600 minutes in a non-leap year. That makes 31,536,000 seconds/year. So, 31,536,000 divided by 248,300 comes out to 1 sexual assault every 127 seconds, or about 1 every 2 minutes.

The Unvictims

Sexual assault has fallen by more than 60% in recent years.2 Had the 1993 rate held steady, 6.8 million Americans would have been assaulted in the last 13 years.

But, thanks to the decline, the actual number of victims was about 4.2 million. In other words, if not for the historic gains we’ve made in the last decade, an additional 2,546,420 Americans would have become victims of sexual violence.

1.        U.S. Department of Justice. 2007 National Crime Victimization Survey. 2007.
http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/frequency-of-sexual-assault

The Facts about Sexual Violence

The Facts

Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Several myths exist about sexual assault. These myths often shift responsibility and blame from the assailant to the victim. Understanding the myths surrounding sexual assault may help you in your recovery. What happened to you was a crime. You are not to blame for the assailant’s behavior.

Myth: Rape is caused by the perpetrator’s uncontrollable sexual urge.
Fact: Rape is an act of power and control, not sex.

Myth: Individuals who commit rape are mentally ill or psychotic and cannot help themselves.
Fact: Very few perpetrators are mentally incompetent and/or out of touch with reality. Rapes may be planned or carried out by acquaintances, intimate partners, family members or strangers.

Myth: The victim must have “asked for it” by being seductive, careless, drunk, high, etc…
Fact: No one asks to be abused, injured, or humiliated. This line of thought blames the victim for what happened instead of the perpetrator who chose to commit the crime. Individuals of all ages, from all walks of life, have been the targets of sexual assault. Not one of them “caused” their assailant to commit a crime against them.

Myth: If women would just stop drinking so much, they wouldn’t be sexually assaulted.
Fact: Alcohol is a weapon that some perpetrators use to control their victim and render them helpless. As part of their plan, an assailant may encourage the victim to use alcohol, or identify an individual who is already drunk. Alcohol is not a cause of rape; it is only one of many tools that perpetrators use.

Myth: If the victim did not physically struggle with or fight the assailant, it wasn’t really rape.
Fact: Assailants are not looking for a fight and they use many forms of coercion, threats and manipulation to rape. Alcohol and other drugs such as rophypnol (roofies) are often used to incapacitate victims. Michigan law defines sexual assault by the action of the perpetrator, not the victim. In fact, there is a specific law that says that the victim need not have resisted the perpetrator in order for it to be considered rape.

Myth: Most perpetrators are strangers to their victims.
Fact: Most rapes are committed by someone that the victim knows: a neighbor, friend, acquaintance, co-worker, classmate, spouse, partner, or ex-partner.

Myth: Serial Rapists are uncommon.
Fact: Most every perpetrator is a serial rapist, meaning that they choose to use coercion, violence, threats or force, etc., to assault women on a repeated basis.

Domestic Violence: An Introduction

Domestic violence and emotional abuse are behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Partners may be married or not married; heterosexual, gay, or lesbian; living together, separated or dating. Violence takes many forms and can happen all the time or once in a while. Abuse is not an accident. It does not happen because someone was stressed out, drinking, or using drugs. Abusers have learned to abuse, using their power to get what they want. The abuse may be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, and psychological.

Domestic violence crosses all ethnic, racial, age, national origin, sexual orientation, religious, and socioeconomic lines. Domestic violence can happen to anybody. In fact, studies suggest that one fifth to one third of all women will be physically assaulted by a partner or ex partner during their lifetime. In heterosexual relationships, 95% of all victims are female and 95% of all perpetrators are male. In same-sex relationships, domestic violence happens with the same statistical frequency as in heterosexual relationships.

“Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviors, some of which are criminal, that includes but is not limited to physical assaults, sexual assaults, emotional abuse, isolation, economic coercion, threats, stalking, and intimidation. These behaviors are used by the batterer in an effort to control the intimate partner. The behavior may be directed at others with the effect of controlling the intimate partner.” Batter Intervention Standards for the State of Michigan, 4.1 (January 20, 1999).


Domestic Violence Victims

Anyone can be a victim! Victims can be any age, sex, race, culture, religion, sexual orientation, education, employment, or marital status. Although both men and women can be abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Most children in these homes know about violence. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavior problems. NOBODY DESERVES TO BE ABUSED! THE ONLY PERSON RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ABUSE IS THE ABUSER!

Domestic Abusers

There is no “typical” abuser. In public, they may appear friendly and loving to their partner and family. They often only abuse behind closed doors. They also try to hide the abuse by causing injuries that can be hidden and do not need medical attention. Abusers often have low self-esteem. They do not take responsibility for their actions. They often blame the victim for causing the violence. In most cases, men abuse female victims.

Survivor vs. Victim

In most places, we use the term “survivor” due to our emphasis on empowerment advocacy. This happens when the advocate offers support, resources, advocacy, information, and education.

This is a way of recognizing strength, courage, and survival strategies of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors.

Not all women who have experienced domestic or sexual violence see themselves as “survivors.” Remember: Domestic violence and sexual assault is something that happens to individuals; it does not define who they are.

 

We are a MOVEMENT and our work is different than that of traditional social services in that we:

  • Focus on survivors’ strengths
  • Do not believe that we are the experts in their lives
  • Are survivor-driven, not service driven
  • Understand that violence can happen to any of us
  • Are non-directive in our approach to working with survivors

Instead of viewing survivors as sick or pathological, we believe that survivors are simply reacting in adaptive ways to oppressive societal conditions, restrictive sex roles, and the abusive intimate partners in their lives.

MCADSV New Service Provider training Manual and Resource Guide (May 2006).

Behind Closed Doors: Judy Chaet

Behind closed doors
Fear and intimidation tell the real truth about domestic violence

Sheila walked into my office; she was a bundle of nerves. She looked down at her hands, which were twisting a handkerchief round and round between her fingers. She had come in to talk about her problem (she was having trouble sleeping and remembering things). The first thing she said was, “I’m not one of those battered women — he doesn’t hit me.”

Sheila and I met many times over the next six months. Her story came out in bits and pieces. It was true: He didn’t hit her, except for that one time — the time he broke her jaw, her cheekbone and her favorite mixing bowl (all over the kitchen). After that, he never hit her again. But there was the time he cut the cord to the telephone, and wouldn’t let her fix it — because she talked to her 85-year-old mother too much. There was the time he threatened to kill her twin sister, if she ever left him. There were the times he kept her awake all night, telling her what a lousy mother she was and that she couldn’t even keep the house clean. And then there was the time he hanged her dog in the garage, because she couldn’t make it stop sleeping on the sofa.

The thing about domestic violence is that it is insidious — it is, by definition, private and “behind closed doors.” The true depth and impact of the violence are almost impossible to quantify. Was Sheila a battered woman? YES. The number of hits, or who hit whom first, does not define abuse. It is, rather, a pattern of behavior. Was Sheila afraid of her husband? You bet.

The more telling point is who has the power — and who is afraid. One partner in a relationship may have been the one to “hit first,” this time. But what went on in the hours or days before that hit? Domestic violence goes far beyond the physical violence. It is also the coercion and threats, the sexual abuse, the intimidation, the isolation, the economic abuse, the use of the children as a threat (or to make her feel guilty). And, most often, it is the minimizing of that abuse — the denial and the blame.

The minimizing, denial and blame are all cruelly intentional acts designed to make the victim feel responsible for the abuse. Sheila believed that her actions were the cause of his violently abusive behavior.

We have all been taught from infancy that the well-being of homes, families and marriages is the responsibility of women. When there are problems in these arenas, we look to the women first: “Where was she while the children were doing that?” “Why does she stay?” These are the questions we are used to hearing, and asking. These are the questions that battered women ask themselves. And these questions are reinforced by everything that batterers tell their victims: If it’s her fault, then there must be something she can do to stop the abuse. But the truth is, there is nothing she can do to stop the abuse: It is the batterer’s intentional choice to batter.

Are there men who are battered? Most reliable research says yes. And it’s a sad fact that all of us are most in danger from those we are closest to. But the 1995 Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) found that women were six times more likely than men to experience violence committed by an intimate (the number of incidents per 1,000 people is 9.4, and for men it is 1.4). And, according to other Justice Department crime statistics, three out of four rapes/sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, and 45 percent of murder victims are related to or acquainted with their assailants.

Surely there are men who are battered; the question is, What are the real numbers? The following numbers from the NCVS differ dramatically from those reported by Mr. Gelles using the Conflict Tactics Scales (CTS).

Average annual rate and number of violent victimizations committed by lone offenders by sex of victim and victim/offender relationship, NCVS 1992-94: