Children can be sexually abused at any age, and most sexual abuse is perpetrated by people they know, including family members, friends, teachers, daycare workers, etc. According to the American Psychological Association:
- 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the age of 18;
- 90% of child sex abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way;
- 30% are abused by family members (aunts/uncles, cousins, step-parents, and even parents).
Pedophiles and those who sexually abuse children are very clever at grooming their child victims. By increasing knowledge about sex abuse and how sexual abusers operate, hopefully, we can prevent this type of abuse.
There are many tactics which abusers use to encourage sexual activity with their victims. Parents should be aware of these tactics and consider discussing them with their children. Children should know what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior and depending on the child’s age, maturity level, etc., parents should use their discretion in discussing the following tactics used by sexual predators:
A sexual abuser will initially develop a caring and loving relationship with the victim. That’s because children are naturally innocent and respond well to attention and affection. Whether it’s a teacher, daycare worker or family friend, a sexual abuser will gain a child victim’s trust through love and attention.
Gradual Increase in Sexual Activity
Once a relationship is established, the abuser will begin “innocent” touching, like hugging and physically placing their hands on the young child, say in a lap or on the back. Tickling and more physical games may be introduced. As time progresses and the child becomes more comfortable with the touching, the touching often becomes more aggressive and direct. In addition, children can be tricked into performing sexual acts. For example, a child may be tricked into taking off his or her clothes and posing nude for a picture.
Showing Child Pornography
By showing a child pictures of other children engaged in sexual activity, an abuser attempts to trick the child into believing that such contact is a special activity between an adult and child. Some tactics may include leaving child pornography lying around in order to get the child acquainted with sexual activity.
In some instances, a child molester may use drugs or alcohol to encourage children to engage in sexual activity.
Sexual abusers often use bribes, gifts and rewards to get a child to engage in the activity. Expensive gifts can also be used to make the child feel guilty for not engaging in sexual activity.
Threats and Blackmail
If the child begins to show resistance or threatens to tell, the abuser often resorts to threats of violence and blackmail to ensure silence and continued abuse. In many cases, threats to family members are often enough to get a child to acquiesce and engage in the activity.
By knowing and being familiar with the tactics employed by child molesters, parents can open dialogue with their children and encourage discussion about sexual abuse.
More Sex Abuse Legal Articles:
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Laffey, Bucci & Kent handles sex abuse cases in the Northeast area with offices in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. Attorneys at the firm are licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. For more information, contact Brian Kent, a Pennsylvania and New Jersey sex abuse lawyer and former sex crimes unit prosecutor.
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