Who Are the Victims?
 
Anyone can become a victim of sexual violence!  Women, men and children can be victims, regardless of age, race, social and economic status, cultural background, religion, marital status, physical or mental ability, gender, or sexual orientation.
 
Sexual Abuse of Children
Today's parents must face the possibility that someone may hurt or take advantage of their child.  Research indicates that as many as one out of every four children will be the victim of sexual abuse.  Very young children are sometimes abused by someone they know and trust such as a relative, friend or caretaker.  Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal or emotional and can include:
 
  • sexual touching and fondling 
  • exposing children to sexual activity or pornographic movies and photographs 
  • having children pose, undress, or perform in a sexual fashion on film or in person 
  • rape or attempted rape
 
The use of physical force is rarely necessary to engage in sexual activity because of their trusting and dependant nature.  Children are often taught not to question authority and frequently believe that adults are always right.  Sexual abuse is an abuse of power over a child and a violation of a child's right to a normal healthy relationships.

What to Watch For:
  • physical  complaints 
  • fear or dislike of certain people or places 
  • sleep disturbances 
  • headaches 
  • school problems 
  • withdrawal from family, friends, or usual activities 
  • excessive bathing or poor hygiene 
  • return to younger, more babyish behavior 
  • depression 
  • anxiety 
  • discipline problems 
  • running away 
  • eating disorders 
  • passive or overly pleasing behavior 
  • delinquent acts 
  • low self-esteem 
  • hostility or aggression 
  • drug or alcohol problems 
  • sexual activity or pregnancy at an early age 
  • suicide attempts 
  • copying adult sexual behavior
  • persistent sexual play with other children, themselves, toys or pets 
  • displaying sexual knowledge, through language or behavior, that is beyond what is normal for their age 
  • unexplained pain, swelling, bleeding, or irritation or the mouth, genital, or anal area 
  • urinary infections 
  • sexually transmitted diseases 
  • hints, indirect comments, or statements about abuse