“I was 5 years old when it first happened. I didn’t understand what was going on because I was only a child and looked up to my stepdad. He always provided for my mom, brother, and I, but favored me. In order to get his attention and approval, I’d have to let him use me. Throughout the 7 years this was happening, I always felt empty and lost inside, not knowing when it would end- Survivor”.

Sexual abuse, also called child molestation, is a form of abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual encounter. Forms of sexual abuse include engaging in sexual activities with a child (whether by asking or pressuring, or by other means), indecent exposure (of the genitals, female nipples, etc.), child grooming, and child sexual exploitation, including using a child to produce child pornography.
Statistics indicate that 12% of females and 4.5% of males report having been sexually abused before the age of 15 years. In reality, the statistics are probably much higher as these only reflect the cases that were actually reported at or around the time of the abuse. Of those reported cases:
• 45% were abused be a relative (i.e. parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunty or cousin)
• 47% were abused by a friend, neighbour, acquaintance or were otherwise known to them;
• 11% were abused by a stranger.

And as recent reports have revealed, abuse can even be perpetrated by a child’s own peers.
Sexual abuse includes incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism, molestation,rape, sexual sadism, child pornography, child prostitution etc. Children are common victims of sexual abuse due to their age, naivety and relationship with the abuser. Sexual abuse is not exclusive to any religion, class ,age, educational background etc. It cut across all strata of society. Majority of sexually abused cases are discovered due to abdominal pains and infections. This is so because victims are silent about the abuse or often times threatened by the abusers, bribed by the abuser, anxiety, depression, traumatized by the event and most commonly afraid of being judged by the community.

*Poverty. *History of past abuse. *Physically and mentally challenged children
*War or conflicts. *Unaccompanied children
*Single parents or broken homes
*Social isolation ( lack of emotional support network).

*Unexplained genital injury *Poor self esteem
*Vaginal or penial discharge *Eating disorders
*Pain on urination *Regression in behavior
*Pregnancy *Sleep disturbance
*Bed wetting or faecal soiling *Acute traumatic responses
*Anal complains *Depression

*Sexual abuse takes place in the hands of strangers. Statistics shows that 45% were abused be a relative (i.e. parent, step-parent, grandparent, sibling, uncle, aunty or cousin).
*Sexual abuser are psychopaths or mentally ill people.
*Children cure HIV/AIDs hence one is healed after a sexual encounter with them.
*Seductive children entice abusers by their appearance and way of walking.
*Sexual abusers were victims of sexual abuse themselves.

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