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October 17, 2019

What is Child Sex Abuse?


Child sexual abuse is a type of child abuse that involves harming a minor (someone under the age of 18 and sometimes 21) through sexual activity. The misconduct is carried out by either an adult or adolescent towards a child, and minors cannot consent to sexual activity, no matter the type or form of sexual activity. Acts of child sex abuse have a lasting impact on victims that traumatize them for years on end, sometimes lasting their entire lifetime.

The majority of crimes of sexual abuse are committed by someone a minor knows, trusts, and/or respects. Survivors who endured sexual abuse as a minor often grapple with the physical, emotional, and mental impact of the abuse for the rest of their lives, especially if they were abused by a family member, loved one, or respected adult. Complications survivors have faced include PTSD, depression, anxiety disorders, drug abuse, suicidal tenancies, etc.

Many child sex abuse victims do not understand that they have been sexually abused until many years later, because at the time they were young or confused about what happened. Numerous child sex abuse cases go unreported for this very reason, and abusers are left unaccounted for their crimes.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) categorizes child sex abuse as some of the following acts:

  • Exhibitionism/exposing oneself to a minor
  • Fondling
  • Intercourse
  • Masturbation in the presence of a minor or forcing a minor to masturbate
  • Indecent phone calls, text messages, or digital interaction
  • Possessing, creating, or distributing pornographic images or videos of children
  • Sex of any type with a minor. This includes anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
  • Sex trafficking
  • Any type of sexual conduct that harms a minor's welfare mentally, emotionally, or physically.

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