What is Child Sexual Abuse?
Did you know that 1 in every 3 South African children are sexually abused before the age of 16 and the rate of sexual abuse of boys exceeds that of girls!
Child sexual abuse is any sexual act, or attempt to commit sexual acts, with a child, with or without the child’s consent. Children under the age of 12 cannot consent to sex because they do not have the maturity to understand the consequence of their decision. However, adults are not the only people that sexually abuse children, children do too! 43% of sexual crimes against children are committed by other children. If a 16-year-old has sex with a 6-year-old – that is sexual abuse.
Physical or noticeable traumas after being sexually abused are not the only effects. The cognitive, social, psychological and emotional development of the child is also impacted.
There are numerous things that will affect a child who has been sexually abused and all of these factors can affect children differently and at different times and levels of severity. These include: Age when the abuse occurred, the familiarity between victim and perpetrator, the severity of abuse, frequency and duration of abuse including the number of perpetrators committing the abuse either at one time or during the victim’s life, will impact the survivors functioning during adulthood.
Another interesting fact is that sexual abuse by familiar individuals (relatives) is more severe than sexual abuse by strangers or acquaintances. 60% of South African children are sexually abused by someone in their social circle!
Our children, the future of South Africa, need to be protected.
If you suspect your child is being abused and need help or if your child has been abused and needs counselling, please contact us (064 058 3460); The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (0800 41 42 43) or The Teddy Bear Clinic (011 484 4554) so that we can help you.