.. s termed sexual abuse when it involves the display or touching of genitalia or anything which is not a comfortable part of a normal person to person contact. This brings us to our next form of Child abuse, that of Sexual or exploitive abuse. Sexual abuse is described as those activities by an older person for his or her sexual gratification without consideration for the childs psycho-social sexual development. Also, as contacts or interactions between a child and an individual of higher power when the child is being used for the sexual stimulation of that adult or another. (Ruth p.4) There are many categories of sexual abuse, these include; incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism, molestation, sex (statutory rape), sexual sadism, and child pornography.
It is estimated that approximately three hundred thousand children are involved in child prostitution and pornography. (Kempe p.9) Many times men or woman who abuse children were abused when they were young. In this way, abuse is very much a self fulfilling prophecy, or circle problem. Historically, sexual abuse was not as much of a problem as it is in modern times. Incidences of sexual abuse are highest in urbanized technologically advanced societies. We hold this to be self evident because the basic need of the sexual drive is denied a constructive (at least, less destructive) outlet in modern society.
In other cultures and times, prostitution was a valid form of employment, and this niche provided an integral outlet for connoisseurs of sex. (I.e. nymphomaniacs, and satirists). Without this vent men with sexual frustration may turn to the less reactive child as sexual prey. Due to the black market prostitution of children, a twelve year old boy can earn upwards of a thousand dollars per day selling himself on the streets of Los Angeles.
Sexual abuse can have severe consequences on the mental development of a children. (Mental? Did someone mention mental?) Mental Abuse of a child can involve several different activities. These can involved the common verbal forms, i.e. yelling, neglect, constant insults, etc. They also involve certain forms of mental torture and neglect.
Mental abuse is one of the most damaging forms of abuse, because unlike rape or other forms of sexual or physical abuse, mental abuse will be with you all of your life. I would offer this analogy to shed light what I am trying to communicate here. Physical and sexual abuse are like roadblocks in the road of life. They are there for a while, but you get over them eventually. Mental abuse, on the other hand, catalyzes the disillusion of the view of the street. If someone is always insulting you, always telling you that you are no good: then with time, your mind becomes accustomed to it, and begins to believe it.
This especially is a damaging consequence for young children and infants, who are as dependent upon mental support as they are for their physiological needs. It is an utter violation of such a relationship. Mental abuse not only affects the child, and the family, but society as a whole. In one of my interviews I received the following response to the question; What do you feel is the greatest misconception about abuse in today’s society? We still dont understand how much real damage it does, not only to the child but to society as a whole. Most people never fully recover from child abuse.
Our society has never recovered from child abuse..?(Kimball E-mail) This brings us to our final area of discussion on the subject of child abuse, that of neglect. Neglect is the most prevalent form of child maltreatment. The statistics are staggering. A recent Study prepared by the American Humane Association states that, nationwide, neglect consistently has accounted for the greatest number of maltreatment reports; in 1988 alone it represented sixty three percent of the approximately two million cases of reported incidents of the three predominant forms of child maltreatment: physical abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.? (Steinbach p.8) Neglect is the unlawful withholding of a childs basic needs. Food, Water, Shelter, Clothing; these are all things that a child needs to live an effective life in todays society.
To deny a child these things is to leave him lower on the ladder of needs than he or she would conceivably be otherwise. Neglect is by far more prominent than any other forms of child maltreatment, but, continually it is the least prominent villain in child abuse advertising schemes. Why are people so unwilling to admit this problem? Why do Americans consistently look overseas and across borders when sending their charitable donations? The problem is here! It is not imagined. Unlike the demons who lurk in the darkness of childrens closets, this villain will not vanish at the flip of a light switch. Many of these children do not have their own closets or lights..
In conclusion, we have gone over the most important points and facts about the different types of child abuse and what their affects are on children. We have tried to shed some light on this unspoken about, and shunned subject. The answer to the question which was posed at the beginning of this paper is vague a best and unanswerable at worst. Child abuse has always been around, and it always will be around as long as other people care more about themselves, than about others. The golden rule is the ultimate answer, the most dignified quest.
The last hundred years have only brought about changes in the discussion, description, and definition of child abuse. These things have helped do away with child abuse significantly, but the eradication of this most cursed of diseases is not in the sight of those who look to the future. I leave you with this final quote, spoken by a one Mr. Andrew Vachss. The effect that child abuse has not just on the victims, but on their subsequent victims and on society as a whole, is, in my judgment, far more devastating than the threat of drugs, of political upheaval, of economic disaster, or of environmental destruction..
I really think that child abuse is the most significant threat not just to the quality of life in this country, but to life in this country.?.