Sexual Abuse of Children and Methods of Its Prevention
Around the world, there are many crimes such as alcohol/drug abuse, animal cruelty, cyber, federal, inchoate/incomplete, juvenile, sex, theft, and white-collar that exist today. Even though these crimes exist today; I feel that sex crimes are the most controversial today. These issues are controversial today as the perpetrator could be someone you may or may not know such as a stranger, acquaintance, helping/medical professional or relative that is committing child sexual abuse. Child sexual abuse is described as the perpetrator forcing or tricking another individual such as a child to have sex without his or her consent.
Reasons Why Children Are Forced Into Sexual Abuse
There are many ways of how a perpetrator can force or trick another individual to have sex. One reason why children are forced or tricked into having sex is to gain money as there probably from a poor family and they need money to survive. Another reason why children are forced or tricked into having sex is so that they can receive better grades. To clarify, sometimes there are teachers/ professors at high schools and colleges who offer good grades to students in exhange of having sex with them. The last reason why children are forced or tricked into having sex is how sex traffickers can either kidnap children to earn money or gain their trust slowly taking away or damaging all their personal belongings such as cash, cell phones, passports, etc so that the child can be dependent on them and believe their false promises of receiving education and getting a job (Axtell, 2019).
How Does Technology Impact Child Sexual Abuse/ Exploitation
Although, child sexual abuse keeps reoccuring somehow I feel there is evidence we can use to prevent this type of sexual abuse from happening again. We can use child pornography as evidence to expose the sex offender commiting sexual abuse against the child. Child pornography is a criminal federal offense where a female or male sex offender uses any visual reproduction/ technology such as (drawings, pictures, sound recordings, videos, etc) to sexual abuse and exploit a child or children (Schoettle, 1980). One prime example of child pornography is someone taking sexually explicit pictures/videos of you without your consent and sells, shares, trades, and uploads images of you on one or many sexually trafficking websites on the internet.
Sexually trafficking websites on the internet consists of communication between other sexually traffickers, sex offenders, perpetrators to share desires, experiences, and interests with others about children (Grocki, 2017). The second prime example of child pornography would be someone pressurizing you to take sexually explicit pictures/videos of yourself by constantly emailing, chatting, and texting. Another prime example would be someone hacking into your online account/accounts stealing your personal images and information and uploading them on their social media that are not intended for public sharing with the intent to public humiliate or shame you.
Everlasting Physical/ Behavioral Effects of Child Sexual Abuse/ Exploitation
When a sex offender engages with a child this way, there are everlasting effects on the child for years that last till adulthood. To clarify, these everlasting effects on the child for years could be physical / behavioral or both. According to the article Long-term consequences of child abuse and neglect by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, “The physical side effects on a child could result in the child having a higher risk of future health problems such as arthritis, back problems,bowel disease, brain damage, cancer, chronic bronchitis/ fatigue syndrome, emphysema/ obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, functional limitations, heart attack, high blood pressure, lung disease, malnutrition, migraine headaches, stroke, vision problems, and etc” ( Long-term consequences of child abuse, Child Welfare Information Gateway). Also they could have sexual transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, genital herpes, hepatitis C, HIV, human papillomavirus infection, syphilis, etc. This could result in bleeding, bruising, itching, swelling, and pain in the genital area (sex organs). With this is mind, these health problems could result in occurring immediately or taking months or years to emerge and be detectable.
On the other hand, the behavioral side effects on a child, especially a young boy or girl are running away from home or school, having trouble in school such as absences or drops in grades, shrinking away or threatened by physical contact at home or school or some other place, exhibiting signs of depression or PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)- expressing suicidal thoughts, causing self-harm, pregnancy, etc.
Even though there are physical and behavioral everlasting effects on the child for years that last till adulthood, its necessary for the caregiver, guardian, parent, etc to know that there is no foolproof way to protect their child from sexual abuse or in this case child molestation, but there are steps you or your child can take to reduce this risk from occurring again. One step you can take is to evaluate your caregivers whom you trust to come in contact with the child. One way you can evaluate your caregivers is to do background checks on them. The background checks evaluates criminal records, commercial records, credit history, employment history, financial records, motor vehicle and license records.
Another way you can evaluate your caregivers is to contact multiple individuals whom your agency/ caregiver has recommended to vouch for their character, performance, and interaction with others. Last but not least, a way to evaluate your caregivers is to run a search on the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW). The NSOPW is a website where you can find convicted sex offenders in any state, territory, and tribal area (Sjodin, n.d). You can find convicted sex offenders by searching by address, county, city/town, name, and ZIP code. When the convicted sex offender is found the address, criminal history, and physical appearance is listed.
Another step you can take is to build trust with your child. In other words, most children are very afraid about the perpetrator/ perpetrators that are around them since it can be practically anyone you know or respect. The perpetrator/ perpetrators assure the child to keep their relationship a secret since whoever their caregiver, guardian, parent, etc will possibly not believe them or they convince the child that whatever he/she is doing to them is possibly the child’s fault not the perpetrator (TV, 2016). Thus, they don’t tell anything to anyone, not even you. In order to prevent this action from occurring, it utmost important for you to show interest in their daily lives by getting to know the people they are being involved with such as their friends, teammates, coaches, etc so that you have their trust.
Once you have built trust with your child, the child can tell you about who the perpetrator is and about what is happening with them or around them. Then you can reassure the child that everything is going to be alright. First, you can send your child to a mental health counselor that deals with trauma impact and counseling. Then, you can then report these crimes to the authorities for assistance such as the Child Protection Services, National Child Abuse Hotline, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Sexual Assault Hotline, National Suicide Prevention Hotline, National Teen Dating Abuse Lifeline, Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, etc so that the perpetrator is arrested for his deeds.
Child sexual abuse is also known as child molestation is a crime that is prevalent today. However, I feel that there should be young girls, young boys, adults, etc should be more aware of these crimes as everyday these crimes happen and somehow I feel that no-one is doing anything to stop it because of their fear, respect, reputation, etc. This crime specifies in a culprit commencing sexual favors on the child that result in sexual abuse. There are many reasons of why children are forced/ tricked into sexual abuse: money, grades, education, job, etc.
Sexual exploitation is when a child is engaged in sexual activities to achieve anything they must have or need such as drugs, food, protection, and shelter. Some examples of the forms of sexual exploitation are child pornography, sex trafficking, and prostitution. While children face sexual abuse/ sexual exploitation there are long term symptoms/ side effects of physical and mental trauma that last till adulthood. The symptoms/ side effects of physical trauma and mental trauma are listed above.
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