In our prior post, we highlighted the common signs that parents and caregivers should look for to determine if a child is being abused. With all the information and statistics on how often children are abused, many people have a misunderstanding of what exactly abuse is (and is not). First and foremost, sexual exploitation is just as pervasive and destructive as sexual abuse. Both involve the erotic use of a child in physical and emotional ways, but many may not understand the extent of actions that comprise sexual abuse.
This post will examine some of the common misconceptions about sexual abuse.
Physical contact need not be made – Many people do not realize that a number of non-touching behaviors can constitute sexual exploitation or abuse. They include taking pictures of children in sexual positions or exposing one’s genitals to a child.
Sexual abuse does not need to include penetration – Additionally, abuse and exploitation does not need to include penetration of the vagina or anus. Further any touching of a child’s genitals for the pleasure of an adult (or an older child) constitutes sexual abuse.
Children can never give consent – Abusers may defend themselves by saying that their victim(s) never said no or that the child appeared to “like it.” As a matter of law, children do not have the capacity to give or withdraw consent to sex. As a practical matter, children are not likely to say no to people they look up to, even while being abused.
If you have questions about how to seek justice for an abused child, an experienced attorney can advise you.