The sexual abuse of children spans all races, ages, ethnic groups and economic backgrounds. Sexual abuse means any kind of unwanted or inappropriate sexual behavior with a child, whether or not there is actual physical contact. Tragically, this kind of abuse is not rare; studies estimate that one in four girls and one in seven boys are sexually abused as children.
Abusers can be family members, friends of the family, authority figures or strangers.
It is impossible to tell if someone is an abuser by simply looking - they may be someone who is highly respected in society and who has a good reputation. Most child victims knew and trusted the people who abused them.
Children are absolutely dependent on adults for their physical and emotional survival, and abusers have many ways of wielding this power over children. Abusers may use threats to coerce children, such as the threat of harm to them or their loved ones and withholding of love and affection. They may tell a child that he or she is special, that the abuse is a way to show love for the child, or that the child is responsible for the abuse.
If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it is important to remember that no matter what you may have been told, the abuse was not your fault and you are not alone.