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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Parenting the sexually abused (Part # 2)

What Is Child Sexual Abuse?

Child sexual abuse is any forced or tricked sexual contact by an adult or older child with a child. Usually the adult or older child is in a position of power or authority over the child. Physical force is generally not used, since there is usually a trusting relationship between the adult or older child and the child who is abused.

There are various types of sexual activity which may take place. It can include open mouth kissing, touching, fondling, manipulation of the genitals, anus or breasts with fingers, lips, tongue or with an object. It may include intercourse. Children may not have been touched themselves but may have been forced to perform sexual acts on an adult or older child. Sometimes children are forced or tricked into disrobing for photography or are made to have sexual contact with other children while adults watch.

Child sexual abuse does not always involve physical touching. It can include any experience or attitude imposed on a child that gets in the way of the development of healthy sexual responses or behaviors. For example, a child may be a victim of "emotional incest." If a mother tells her son, in great detail, about her sexual exploits, or if a father promises his daughter that she will be his life partner when she turns 18, these would be scenarios in which the child could be considered sexually abused. Siblings who are aware of a brother or sister's victimization, but are not actually abused themselves, may also suffer many of the same effects as an abused child.

In addition, some children experience ritualistic and/or satanic abuse. Ken Wooden, founder of the National Coalition for Children's Justice, defines ritualistic abuse as a bizarre, systematic continuing abuse which is mentally, physically, and sexually abusive of children, and for the purpose of implanting evil.

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