Facts on Sexual Abuse


One in three girls and one in five boys is sexually abused.
Sometimes boys have a harder time than girls telling anyone about abuse.
People who sexually abuse children can be either male or female.
When kids are molested, it can be very confusing, especially if the sexual touching felt good.
Kids often feel especially confused if the person abusing them is a parent, relative, close friend, or trusted person who does not threaten them but asks them to keep their “special secret.”
Most kids are sexually abused by someone they know and trust.Back to Top


About 100,000 cases of sexual abuse are confirmed each year in the United States. It is estimated that one in four girls and one in seven boys will be a victim of some type of sexual assault before the age of 18.Back to Top


Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse is forced or tricked sexual contact or interaction between a child and another person. It includes physical contact and non-physical contact.


Incest is sexual abuse that occurs within a family system. The abuser may be a parent, step-parent, grandparent, brother, sister, cousin, uncle or other family member. The family member does not need to be related to the victim by blood.

Acquaintance Rape:

Acquaintance rape is forced or tricked sexual contact, usually sexual intercourse, in which the victim and the abuser are friends or acquaintances. The abuser can be a friend, a friend of a friend, a neighbor, a classmate, a person the victim dates.

Sexual abuse, incest, rape, and acquaintance rape are all against the law and do not involve consent. Being forced into sexual contact, even by someone you know is a crime. Persons who commit these crimes need help, and if you are a victim of sexual assault, you need help too.Back to Top

What is Consent and Cooperation?

Consent is based on choice. Consent is active not passive. Consent is possible only when there is equal power and everyone involved has been given all of the information needed to make an informed decision.

Cooperation occurs when going along with something or someone because you want to fit in with the group and/or you want the person’s love and feel like you can’t say NO! If you can’t say “no” comfortably, then “yes” has no meaning. If the person is unwilling to accept a “no” answer, then they are forcing you to say “yes”.Back to Top

Types of Sexual Abuse

    • Sexually touching the child.
    • Someone having the child touch them sexually.
    • Photographing the child for sexual purposes.
    • Sexualized talk.
    • Showing the child pornographic materials or making them available to the child.
    • Making fun of or ridiculing the child’s physical development.
    • Exposing his or her genitals to the child for sexual gratification.
    • Masturbating or otherwise being sexual in front of the child.
    • Voyeurism.
    • Forcing overly rigid rules on dress or overly revealing dress.
    • Stripping to hit, spank, or getting sexual excitement out of hitting.
    • Verbal and emotional abuse of sexual nature.
    • Engaging the child in prostitution.
    • Witnessing others being sexually abused.

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Indicators of Sexual Abuse

    • A change in personality.
    • Increased irritability.
    • Increased day dreaming or inability to concentrate.
    • Need for “constant” reassurance.
    • Increased displays of fear.
    • A sudden rejection of appropriate physical attention (hugging, kissing.)
    • A sudden reluctance to be with a certain person or to go to a specific place (i.e. church, school, friend’s homes, relative’s homes.)
    • Regressive behavior: bed wetting, thumb sucking, pacifier, whining, baby talk, extreme clinging.
    • Unable to recognize, accept or own successes or defeats.
    • Increased negativism.
    • Increased isolation.
    • Depression.
    • Exhaustion or listlessness.
    • Sexually oriented displays of affection and play.
    • Your child uses terms for genitalia which are not appropriate.
    • Sudden school problems: decline in grades, inappropriate acting out, frequent absences, withdrawal from or loss of friends.
    • Sleep disturbances: nightmares, insomnia, sudden need for light left on, reslessness or frequent awakening.
    • Physical irrigation of or bleeding from vagina, anus, or surrounding genital are.
    • Increased “physical symptoms” of illness: body temperature changes, aches and pains.

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Sexual Abuse Alert List – For Kids

How Can You Determine if the Behavior is Inappropriate?

    • Treating you different from other kids.
    • Wanting to spend time alone with you, making excuses to go places or have others leave.
    • Asking you to do things that involve physical contact Attempting to touch private areas of your body, bruising against you, rubbing their body against yours.
    • Putting lotion or ointment on you when you can do it yourself.
    • Not respecting your privacy and entering the bathroom or your bedroom while your showering or dressing.
    • Asking questions of a sexual nature or accusing you of sexual behavior.
    • Showing you pornographic material and calling it sex education.
    • Making sexual comments about your body and how you dress.
    • Talking to you about their sexual experiences, walking around naked or inappropriately dressed.
    • Telling you private information about their partner.
    • Telling you that you are special or different, being mean and/or giving you special privileges in order to get you to cooperate.
    • Limiting your contact with others and friends and asking you to keep their behavior secret.
    • Treating you like a partner rather than a child.

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