1 in 4* or, in some research, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 7 or, in some research, 1 in 6* boys have experienced sexual abuse.
*The Federal Center for Disease Control (CDC) collaborated with Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest HMO, to perform the Adverse Childhood Experience study (ACE). It involved physical examination of over 17,000 adult participants and surveys from each participant to determine what correlation may exist between childhood maltreatment and family dysfunction, and adult health and behaviors.
From those surveys, 16% of male participants and 25% of female participants acknowledged that they had experienced sexual abuse as children. Specifically, defined in the survey:
“An adult or person at least 5 years older ever touched or fondled you in a sexual way, or had you touch their body in a sexual way, or attempted oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you or actually had oral, anal, or vaginal intercourse with you.” (CDC)
This supported previous research that indicated between 20-33% of women
had experienced sexual abuse as children.
Nearly 3/4 of victims will not tell anyone for at least a year. Nearly half of victims will waitat least 5 years before telling. Some never tell. **
90% of cases are never reported
Which means the majority of sexual offenders are walking the streets free and unknown to society.
Why? It often takes a long time for the child to tell someone, and even though they may disclose to a friend, therapist, or family member – it’s not being reported. The child & family may not want to face the difficulty of having to go through the investigation & possibly a trial. The person may not believe the child. And often, since it takes so long for children to finally tell – many are often adults by the time they disclose their abuse.
Furthermore, when an abuser is a family member, or friend or another minor, the family may decide to not report to the police and attempt to deal with the abuse on their own, or they may just be relieved that the child is no longer being abused and not want to report. Even if they do report, cases involving family member are “screened out” by the police to be handled by the Department of Family Services, Child Protective Services, or other non-law enforcement agency that handles domestic issues. CPS must first substantiate the abuse before allowing the case to be handed over to the police for an arrest and possible prosecution.
Who are the Abusers?
30-40% are immediate or extended family members of the victim.***
As many as 50% of abusers know their victims and are in a position of trust with the victim and/or family.***
As many as 40% of abusers are larger or older children – siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors, community members ****
A US Department of Education report in 2004 indicated that 7% or 3.5 million 8th to 11th graders reported having physical sexual contact from an adult in their school.
Only 10% are estimated to be strangers****
The average age for reported sexual abuse is 9 years. That is the average – meaning there are a considerable number of victims under the age of 9 as well as over.
50% of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under age twelve.
20% of children will receive a sexual solicitation via the internet.
Less than 1% of abuse alleged by a child is false. *****
The Cost Victims Pay
Children that are sexually abused are at a higher risk to suffer from: low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic and schizophrenic syndromes, conduct/anti-social personality disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, obesity, failure to complete high school, attempted suicide or suicide, increased instability in relationships, more sexual partners, an increased risk of sexual problems and greater negativity towards partners, and prostitution.
Overwhelmingly, however, the findings of other research suggest that victims of child sexual abuse are generally at an increased risk of re-victimization. More specifically, women who have a history of child sexual abuse are at least twice as likely to experience adult sexual victimization (Classen, Palesh, & Aggarwal, 2005; Maker et al., 2001)