What is child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse is simply any sexual act with a child performed by an adult or an older child. The abusers are usually known to the child and are many times an authority figure that has power over the child. Regardless, it is not uncommon that a child victim trusts or loves the abuser and does not recognize the activity to be abusive or exploitative in any way. The abusers use various tactics to manipulate or force a child into engaging in the sexual activity. While some abusers use physical violence or injury to make a child participate in sexual activities, the majority instead trick, bribe, threaten and exploit children into participating in sexual acts that a child may or may not understand. Some common forms of sexual abuse include but are not limited to:

  • Touching or “fondling” of a child’s body, including genitalia
  • Making/having a child touch the abuser’s body, including genitals
  • Receiving or performing oral sexual acts by either the child or the abuser
  • Exposing the child to adult sexual activity of any kind, including pornographic or “dirty” movies or photos
  • Having a child undress, pose or perform in a manner that provides sexual gratification to the abuser
  • Forcing or manipulating a child into vaginal or anal sexual intercourse