Issue: Child Abuse and E. J. Graff Essays

Submitted By ssteen123
Words: 2282
Pages: 10

19 November 2013
Sexual Child Abuse: Keeping the Numbers Down Child Sexual Abuse is defined as sexually interfering with or assaulting a child. This can mean many things including indecent touching of a child’s private parts to penetrative sexual assaults. Both male and females get sexually assaulted, but a child is defined as a person under the age of 18. A close family friend or a parent usually conducts the assaults (Child Sexual Abuse). By looking closely into the subject of child sexual abuse people have been able to identify the psychological factors the lead to the abuse as well the psychological effects on the child that is abused. The abuser is the one who initiates all the sexual abuse and is the offender in this scenario. When looking into the offender’s side of the abuse, many issues come into context, one being the history of the perpetrator. For example, Eileen Vizard stated, “…high levels of developmental, behavioral, and mental health problems” (506). When reading more into the perpetrators side of the abuse, you will learn that many of them were abused or neglected themselves. This is how many of the younger perpetrators start out. That’s all they know or see so they decide to do it themselves. The only protection an abuser has when it come to judgment is mental illness. Some people might not believe that the abuser is really sick, and some may not be, but the majority of sexual abuser have some type of psychological illness (Vizard, Eileen 504). No one will know for sure what drives a person to sexually abuse a child, but what we can learn are some of the actions that lead up to the abuse.
We must first understand who is abusing the children. They’re many assumptions made in this department so it is very difficult when a person is trying to figure out who the abuser is. First of all, child abusers come from all classes, racial and religious backgrounds and may be homosexual or heterosexual. The offenders are usually close to the victim, a family friend, parent, or uncle. According to U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs “About 6 out of 10 abusers fall into that group.” (Child Sexual Abuse). It is rarely a stranger who sexually abuses a child. This is a common misconception and is one of the hardest things to get over when researching sexual child abuse. The offender can have many psychological problems and most likely will see the harm they are doing to their victim, they just can’t stop. It’s almost like an addiction. The victims have a lot in common with their offenders. They mainly have psychological problems in common. According the Eileen Vizard sexually abused children develop mental health problems, which they have in common with their abuser (505). A person doesn’t sexually abuse a child without having a motive, like mental illness. Even though the child might not have these illnesses before the abuse takes place, the fact that they develop the illness is what they have in common with their abuser. It has been determined that almost 21 percent of all girls have been sexually abused before they reach the age 17 (Graff, E. J. 12). According to E. J. Graff, “…it used to be worse.”(12). This is true: recent studies on sexual abuse have shown that child abuse has gone down, but the number is still high. Sexual abuse is more common with younger children because they still don’t really know what’s going on. They probably know something is wrong, but they can be easily bribed to not tell. Furthermore, if the offender is someone close to them they are least likely to tell because they trust this person. If they say its okay, it’s okay. Many kids develop “…ambivalent feelings for the offender.” (Rita Shackel, 56). For the victim to be unsure about his or her abuser means that the abuser is most likely very close to them. Many people do not understand this; they usually assume if the victim is ambivalent about their offender, they assume the victim is lying about the whole thing. Who could still…