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What You should Know

Childhood sexual abuse

What is Child Sexual Abuse?*

Child sexual abuse is a significant but preventable adverse childhood experience and public health problem. Child sexual abuse refers to the involvement of a child (person less than 18 years old) in sexual activity that violates the laws or social taboos of society and that he/she:

  • does not fully comprehend
  • does not consent to or is unable to give informed consent to, or
  • is not developmentally prepared for and cannot give consent to
 
 
 

How Big is the Problem?*

Child sexual abuse is a significant but preventable public health problem. Many children wait to report or never report child sexual abuse. Although estimates vary across studies, the data shows:

  • About 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys experience child sexual abuse at some point in childhood.
  • 91% of child sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child or child’s family knows.
  • The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be at least $9.3 billion. Although this is likely an underestimate of the true impact of the problem since child sexual abuse is underreported.

Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse*

Experiencing child sexual abuse is an adverse childhood experience (ACE) that can affect how a person thinks, acts, and feels over a lifetime, resulting in short- and long-term physical and mental/emotional health consequences.


Examples of physical health consequences include:

  • unwanted/unplanned pregnancies
  • physical injuries
  • chronic conditions later in life, such as heart disease, obesity, and cancer

Examples of mental health consequences include:

  • depression
  • posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Examples of behavioral consequences include:

  • substance abuse including opioid use
  • risky sexual behaviors, such as unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners
  • increased risk for suicide or suicide attempts

Another outcome commonly associated with child sexual abuse is an increased risk of re-victimization throughout a person’s life. For example, recent studies have found:

  • Females exposed to child sexual abuse are at a 2-13 times increased risk of sexual victimization in adulthood
  • Individuals who experienced child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence
  • The odds of attempting suicide are six times higher for men and nine times higher for women with a history of child sexual abuse than those without a history of child sexual abuse

*These statistics are from the cdc.gov site.  https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/childabuseandneglect/childsexualabuse.html

 

sexual VIOLENCE

Sexual Violence*

Sexual violence (SV) is a significant problem in the United States. SV refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. Anyone can experience SV, but most victims are female. The person responsible for the violence is typically male and usually someone known to the victim.

The person can be, but is not limited to, a friend, intimate partner, coworker, neighbor, or family member.

 

 

*These statistics are from the cdc.gov site.   https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/fastfact.html

 

 

Many times adult women and men are victimized by those in leadership positions, such as counselors, pastors, teachers, mentors, employers or supervisors.  The perpetrators use their position of authority and trust to groom their victims and prey on their vulnerability.  Often times these victims are too ashamed to come forward or when they do come forward they are not believed or are blamed for the abuse.

How Big is The Problem?*

Sexual violence affects millions of people each year in the United States. Researchers know that the numbers underestimate this problem because many cases are unreported. Victims may be ashamed, embarrassed, or afraid to tell the police, friends, or family about the violence. Victims may also keep quiet because they have been threatened with further harm if they tell anyone or do not think that anyone will help them.

We do have data that show:

  • Sexual violence is common. More than 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 38 men have experienced completed or attempted rape and 1 in 14 men was made to penetrate someone (completed or attempted) during his lifetime.
  • Sexual violence starts early. One in 3 female rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old and 1 in 8 reported that it occurred before age 10. Nearly 1 in 4 male rape victims experienced it for the first time between 11-17 years old and about 1 in 4 reported that it occurred before age 10.
  • Sexual violence is costly. Recent estimates put the cost of rape at $122,461 per victim, including medical costs, lost productivity, criminal justice activities, and other costs.

*These statistics are from the cdc.gov site.   https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/fastfact.html

Consequences of Sexual Violence*

The consequences of sexual violence are physical, like bruising and genital injuries, and psychological, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

The consequences may also be chronic. Victims may suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, experience re-occurring reproductive, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and sexual health problems.

Sexual violence is also linked to negative health behaviors. For example, victims are more likely to smoke, abuse alcohol, use drugs, and engage in risky sexual activity.

The trauma resulting from sexual violence can have an impact on a survivor’s employment in terms of time off from work, diminished performance, job loss, or being unable to work. These issues disrupt earning power and have a long-term effect on the economic well-being of survivors and their families. Coping and completing everyday tasks after victimization can be challenging. Victims may have difficulty maintaining personal relationships, returning to work or school, and regaining a sense of normalcy.

Additionally, sexual violence is connected to other forms of violence. For example, girls who have been sexually abused are more likely to experience additional sexual violence and other forms of violence and be a victim of intimate partner violence in adulthood. Perpetrating bullying in early middle school is linked to sexual harassment perpetration in high school.

 

*These statistics are from the cdc.gov site.   https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/fastfact.html

Intimate Partner violence

What is Intimate Partner Violence*

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is abuse or aggression that occurs in a romantic relationship. “Intimate partner” refers to both current and former spouses and dating partners. IPV can vary in how often it happens and how severe it is. It can range from one episode of violence that could have lasting impact to chronic and severe episodes over multiple years. IPV can include any of the following types of behavior:

  • Physical violence is when a person hurts or tries to hurt a partner by hitting, kicking, or using another type of physical force.
  • Sexual violence is forcing or attempting to force a partner to take part in a sex act, sexual touching, or a non-physical sexual event (e.g., sexting) when the partner does not or cannot consent.
  • Stalking is a pattern of repeated, unwanted attention and contact by a partner that causes fear or concern for one’s own safety or the safety of someone close to the victim.
  • Psychological aggression is the use of verbal and non-verbal communication with the intent to harm another person mentally or emotionally and/or to exert control over another person.

IPV is connected to other forms of violence and is related to serious health issues and economic consequences. However, IPV and other forms of violence can be prevented.


How Big is The Problem?*

IPV is common.  It affects millions of people in the United States each year. Data from CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) indicate: 

  • About 1 in 4 women and nearly 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner during their lifetime and reported some form of IPV-related impact.
  • Over 43 million women and 38 million men have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

IPV starts early and continues throughout the lifespan. When IPV occurs in adolescence, it is called teen dating violence (TDV). TDV affects millions of U.S. teens each year. About 11 million women and 5 million men who reported experiencing contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime said that they first experienced these forms of violence before the age of 18.

Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence*

IPV is a significant public health issue that has many individual and societal costs. About 35% of female IPV survivors and more than 11% of male IPV survivors experience some form of physical injury related to IPV. IPV can also result in death. Data from U.S. crime reports suggest that about 1 in 5 homicide victims are killed by an intimate partner. The reports also found that over half of female homicide victims in the U.S. are killed by a current or former male intimate partner.

There are also many other negative health outcomes associated with IPV. These include a range of conditions affecting the heart, digestive, reproduction, muscle and bones, and nervous systems, many of which are chronic. Survivors can experience mental health problems such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. They are at higher risk for engaging in behaviors such as smoking, binge drinking, and sexual risk behaviors.

Although the personal consequences of IPV are devastating, there are also many costs to society. The lifetime economic cost associated with medical services for IPV-related injuries, lost productivity from paid work, criminal justice and other costs, was $3.6 trillion. The cost of IPV over a victim’s lifetime was $103,767 for women and $23,414 for men.