Child Sexual Abuse is the use of a child – girl or boy – for sexual gratification by an older or more powerful person. The offender is usually an adult, but could also be a more powerful child.
Types of child sexual abuse
CSA may be in the form of a single incident or many acts over a long period of time. Someone known to the child more often perpetrates abuse. Abuse may escalate over time, particularly if the abuser is a family member. Child Sexual Abuse includes both touching and non-touching behavior (but need not be limited only to these acts). It is CSA if there is:
Fondling- Touching genitals
Obscene phone calls
Exploitation – giving or receiving money / gifts / chocolates for using a child for sexual gratification
Oral or anal sex
Or any other sexual conduct that is harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
At What Age Can CSA Start
One of the youngest victims of sexual abuse was a one and a half months old baby. However, in majority of cases, sexual abuse begins around 5 years of age, peaks at around 12 -14 years of age and then begins to decline (as per the Govt. report). It can, however, continue into adulthood.
Who Can Abuse a Child?
Rarely complete strangers, most often family members or acquaintances and someone the victim trusts explicitly:
Fathers / mothers
Siblings / cousins
Other family members – uncles, aunts
Children More Vulnerable to sexual abuse
Children with low self-esteem.
Marital discord households, financial instability, illness-persistent or terminal illness, and the arrival of a younger sibling.
Children who are overly fearful of adults.
Children with parents who are ‘too busy’ for them.
Children without parental care- orphans, unaccompanied and separated children, street children, child laborers, children in institutions, etc.
Children living with mental or physical disability.
Children Less Vulnerable to sexual abuse
Children who receive physical affection and have good communication with their parents or caregivers.
Children with parents or caregivers who are aware of their child’s environment.
Children in a loving and secure family setting.
Children who respect authority but are not overly fearful of it.
Children who know personal safety rules in relation to sexual abuse.