What is Child Sexual Abuse?

By Jennifer Hillman

Since you have come to the realization that someone you know, love, and trust may be a sexual predator, it is time to add and store more information to your file folder.

While this may be a lot to take in, I plan to give you a little information each week to build your folder with necessary information to ultimately protect your children and other children from child sexual abuse.

This week, we will define what child sexual abuse is. Most people probably have a general idea; however, there are some forms of child sexual abuse that many people do not categorize as such. Child sexual abuse includes types of acts or behaviors that expose a child to sexual acts and/or behaviors. This includes (NSVRC, 2012, Darkness to Light, 2013):

  • Sex acts between two minors, or an adult and a minor, when power is exerted over the other; which includes, fondling, sex acts that involve penetration, touching the child’s breasts or making the child touch the perpetrator’s breasts, oral-genital contact, etc.
  • Exposure to or using a child for pornography
  • Exhibitionism
  • Voyeurism
  • Sex trafficking
  • Engaging in sexual behaviors via phone or internet

All of the behavior outlined above with a child is against the law. If any child describes this type of abuse to you or you suspect abuse, it is your ethical and moral obligation to report it immediately. I want to encourage you because I know this can be difficult…especially, since statistics say that you and your child know the abuser.  No matter what the perpetrator tells you, child sexual abuse is NOT love and it is NOT okay. Even if it is your own husband abusing your child, it is your obligation to protect your children. If not, you may be seen as aiding and abetting a criminal and you may face criminal charges as well. Please call 1-800-252-5400 to report any and all sexual abuse of a child.

Jennifer Hillman is a licensed speech-language pathologist, producer of the AWARD-WINNING educational DVD, “The Five B’s”, mother of two and an active advocate and speaker for sexual abuse prevention education in the home, churches and in schools.

For more information on this topic and the AWARD-WINNING educational DVD on empowering children about body safety to prevent sexual abuse, go to www.baileybeebelieves.com.