Effects of Child Abuse

Essay by ladeeiaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Sexual abuse of children has become a curse of the modern society. This problem has gained prominence in 1870s, then for some time it was ignored until in 1960 it surfaced back into the public attention. During past 10-15 years medical community has learned about the large scale of this child sexual abuse from parents or other family members as well as from strangers. In United States alone, there are "150 000 to 200 000 cases of child sexual abuse every year" (Finkelhor, 96). About 10% to 30% of the adult women in Great Britain have been the victims of sexual abuse in childhood. Only in 25% of these cases the offender was unknown to the child.

The psychological characteristics of the children victims of sexual abuse (immaturity, submission to the authority of the adult, gullibility, lack of life experience and sexual education, inability to critically evaluate the situation and forecast the behavior of others) make it easy for adults to abuse children.

At the same time, these characteristics serve to cover the facts of abuse. Moreover, if the child does tell adults about what happened, they may not believe him or her because of this. It is well-known that development of sexuality in the abused children is influenced by social, biological, psychological, and psychopathological factors. Thus, special attention is devoted to studying the psychosexual components of the sexually abused. Disgarmonic correlation between the somatic and psychosexual components explain different kinds of sexual dysfunctions of the victims, which is a consequence of the inadequate preservation of the psychological processes and psychological structures related to the sexual self-identification, sexual behavior, and psychosexual orientations.

The modern scientific and medical literature lacks systematic and thorough study of the psychosexual child development. These studies on the child sexual behavior are inadequately developed and "the...