Sexual abuse

Essay by rudog August 2004

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Childhood sexual abuse is far too prevalent within our society. Child abuse in general, as well as sexual abuse, is growing every year, MacLennon (1993) states that 140,000 cases were reported in the year of 1986 and according to Alexander (1989) about 25% of all women report a history of sexual child abuse. Statistics show that sexual child abuse occurs more frequently among females, 7 - 13 years of age, compared to males and that 85% of abuse occurs within the home (MacLennon, 1993). Such crimes demand attention not only from society, but from a psychological therapeutic standpoint as well.

In order to foster a treatment to aid those suffering any maladaptive behavior evoked from these experiences, a number of variables need to be considered. Finkelhor (1995) states, "Sexual abuse, like many other problems of childhood, does not occur in a vacuum. A variety of other individual, family and community problems tend to accompany sexual abuse."

The system of family communication, socio-economic status and marital discord are just a few external problems that can contribute to and magnify the effect of the actual act of sexual abuse. It has been proven that therapeutic intervention facilitates children's recovery (Alexander, 1989).

Thus far, therapy to treat such a phenomenon has usually been through group therapy, yet a wide range of other therapies have been utilized as well. Individual therapy which focuses on the victim, family therapy which centers around helping family members cope and aid in support of the victim and play therapy for those victims that are too young to express themselves verbally, are a few. However, the only consensus concerning which treatment works best is that any form of therapy is better than no therapy at all. No therapist can predict the exact experiences encountered by each individual victim...