Turning Points Network
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Turning Points Network

We can work together to stop bullying and violence in our schools.

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Statistics show us that 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse by the time they reach their 18th birthday. A child under 16 years old is never able to consent to any kind of sexual activity, period. Child sexual abuse can also happen without any physical contact between the perpetrator and a child. For example, an adult exposes their genitals to a child or shows them sexually explicit photographs. When an adult engages with a child in these ways, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim. The emotional impact of these acts on the child can include, but are not limited to:

  • Doubt/Disbelief: “Did this really happen? Am I imagining this? Am I exaggerating or reading into it?”
  • Shock: “I feel so numb. Why am I so calm? Why can’t I cry?”
  • Guilt: “Maybe this is my fault. If only I had…”
  • Anxiety: “I’m a nervous wreck!” (Anxiety is often expressed in physical symptoms like difficulty breathing, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, change in eating habits, nausea, etc.)
  • Powerlessness: “Will I ever feel in control again? Maybe this is just how life is. Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion.”
  • Shame/Embarrassment: “It’s embarrassing to even think about it. How could I ever talk about it. I don’t think I can do it.”
  • Fear: Of not being believed, the process of telling, friends and family finding out, and the perpetrator.

Other forms of child sexual abuse include: fondling; sex of any kind; obscene text messages, phone calls or online interactions; exposing a child to sexual images or videos; masturbation in front of a minor.