Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse involves any contact or interaction whereby a vulnerable person (usually a child or adolescent) is used for the sexual stimulation of an older, stronger, or more influential person. (It should be noted here that the stronger or more influential criteria may be real or perceived. Sexual abuse may even occur between two same age children when one child is compliant in nature and the other is the leader.) Sexual abuse is much broader than forced, unforced, or simulated intercourse. It includes any touching, rubbing or patting that is meant to arouse sexual pleasure in the offender. It may also involve visual, verbal, or psychological interaction where there is no physical contact.

Sexual abuse/harassment can occur when there is a differential of power. The submissive or subordinate adult is coerced by a priest, pastor, therapist, boss, doctor, or teacher through sexually provocative content or forced participation in sexual contact, or manipulated. The power differential threatens the victim's wellbeing or relational standing

Visual Sexual Abuse may involve exposing a victim to pornography or to any other sexually provocative scene, including exposure to intercourse, or various states of undress in the home or elsewhere.

Verbal Sexual Abuse involves an attempt to seduce or shame a child by the use of sexual or suggestive words. (Occasionally, however, this shaming may be unintentional. The child internalizes the words that a careless adult uses toward him or her and grows up bearing that false image.)