The Facts: Sexual Abuse in the U.S.
We’re glad you’ve decided to take the next step in becoming an informed member of the public when it comes to protecting your family and determining any local threats from convicted sex offenders. This way, you can determine the best way to keep your family safe and educated about their surroundings, helping to prevent potential victimization. Following are some facts about children, teens and adults when it comes to sexual abuse and their likelihood of becoming a victim of sexual crimes.
Sexual Abuse in Children
According to the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW), up to 1 in every 3 girls and 1 in every 7 boys will experience some sort of sexual abuse in his or her childhood. In most cases (nearly 93%), sexual crimes against children are committed by someone the child knows.
Signs to watch for potential sexual abuses include general withdrawal, sudden mood swings and sudden changes in eating habits. They may also start to talk of making friends with a new adult, or start to have sleeping problems with no other explanation. Signs of these behaviors warrant an immediate and frank discussion with your child about the possibility of sexual abuse in their lives.
Teens: Increased Risk with Internet Usage
Given the high Internet usage of the teen age group, it’s important to realize that 1 in 7 of those using the Internet have received unwanted sexual advances; 4% of them have been the subject of abusers attempting to make offline contact; and 9% have seen distressing sexual material while online, says the NSOPW.
In addition to the warning signs spotted in child victims, teens may also be especially subject to sexual promiscuity, cutting or other types of self-injury, fear of intimacy, drug/alcohol abuse and even running away from home. If you notice several of these signs in your teen’s behavior, experts suggest you immediately begin to ask questions and consider professional help.
Adults: What Should You Do?
According to the National Violence Against Women Survey (NVAWS), 18% of adult women and 3% of adult men are victims of sexual assault at some time during their life. More than half of female rape victims and 71% of male victims were raped prior to turning 18.
If you have been the victim of sexual assault, the NSOPW suggests you call a family member or friend whom you trust, and seek medical attention. Visiting a clinic will help address injuries and protect against sexually transmitted diseases. If you plan on filing a report, you should not bathe, change clothes, put anything in your mouth or use the restroom before receiving a medical exam. It is also vital to remember that you are not at fault for your sexual abuse, and if you are the loved one of a victim you must refuse to judge them or approach their feelings and experiences with disbelief.