What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is when an adult, adolescent or older child uses a younger child or youth for his or her own sexual pleasure.
Sexual abuse can happen to both males and females, children and youth. It also includes “exploitation”—trafficking, prostitution and child sex abuse images (pornography).
Children or youth can be sexually abused by being touched on the sexual parts of the body or being forced to touch someone else’s. Sexual abuse can also be non-touching.
Non-touching sexual abuse:
- Being shown videos or sexual pictures
- Being forced to listen to sexual talk or comments about one’s body
- Being forced to pose for seductive or sexual photographs
- Being forced to look at sexual parts of the body
- Being forced to watch sexual acts
- Being watched in a sexual way while clothed or unclothed
- Receiving intrusive written or spoken questions or comments in-person or online.
Who sexually abuses children or youth?
Sexual offenders are usually people we know and trust. They can be anyone—child, youth, adult, male, or female.
Sexual abuse is never the fault of the victim
Sexual offenders are very good at trying to make kids feel responsible for the abuse. Children and youth are the innocent victims and are NEVER AT FAULT FOR SEXUAL ABUSE!
It is hard to tell someone when you have been abused, but it is important to do so to get help
Children and youth who have been sexually abused feel betrayed by the people who have hurt them and are afraid to disclose the sexual abuse because they fear negative consequences if they tell someone. But it’s important to tell someone so they can get help.
Get help for sexual abuse
If you have been or are being sexually abused, or if you know someone who is being sexually abused, it is important to get help.
Protect you and your friends from online sexual exploitation
Be on alert if an online contact:
- Asks you personal questions like where you live or go to school—don’t give details that will help them locate you offline!
- Offers you gifts or money—they are trying to find out where you live or make you feel like you owe them something.
- Asks where your computer is located—they might be trying to figure out if you are alone
- Tries to get you to talk about sexual stuff or send pictures. Remember—everything sent over the internet can be shared with a million people, and could last forever.
- Gives you nicknames like “beautiful” or is overly nice—they might be trying to soften you up to manipulate you
- Keeps bugging you to do stuff you don’t want to
- Wants to meet you in private. If an online friend is really legit, they should have no problem meeting you or your parents in public.