Child sexual abuse
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|A baker's dozen on sex|
Child sexual abuse is typically defined as any sexual activity performed by an adult on a child or any unwanted or inappropriate sexual behavior by another child. The term "child" varies between jurisdictions, but is generally considered to be somebody who has not reached or not completed adolescence. Child sexual abuse is generally distinct from statutory rape, which involves an adult and a minor (generally around 14-18, depending on the laws of different states and nations).
Child sexual assault is one of the truly taboo acts, considered morally reprehensible in nearly all circumstances. The primary justification for sexual contact between children and adults being considered wrong is that a child cannot give full informed consent to sexual activity; being at an age where, perhaps partly as a result of cultural values of obedience instilled in them, they are likely to believe and submit to any adults they meet (particularly custodians), they are not in a position to fully understand their actions in the context that the adult does.
Child sexual abuse poses extreme and irreversible developmental risks to children. It was formerly widely believed by the public that such abuse was rather rare, but in the 1980s, large numbers of victims began coming forward with their stories, greatly raising the profile of the problem. It is now believed that at least one in 10 people have been sexually abused as a child.
 Examples of large scale child sexual abuse
Large scale child abuse has often come at the hands of organized religion, though rarely sanctioned by that religion.
 Modern child-brides
It has been estimated that there are over 50,000 child brides in the world at any given time. "Child", it should be noted, is a girl under 11 years old. India is often claimed as having the highest rate of child brides, however the practice is also found in Guatemala, Niger, Pakistan and Afghanistan - in all cases, rural, uneducated, and impoverished areas have the highest incidents of child marriage. These countries have long cultural and religious traditions of marrying young girls - marriages which today are likely to be consummated at the time of marriage, and not after the child has begun menstruating.  This practice is formally denounced by all major religions, and marrying a bride under 14 is illegal in every county.
 The priest molestation scandals
In the early 2000's, multiple hundreds if not thousands of charges that priests in the Roman Catholic Church had committed sexual assault on children came to light. With each new story, more adults who had been abused as children stepped forward to add their voice despite pressure on them to keep silent. The vast majority of these incidents had been covered up by the Church itself. The priest was simply moved to a new parish, often without punishment or counseling. And often the priest re-offended in the new parish without parents knowing he was a danger to children.
 Orthodox Jewish crisis
Several stories in the late 2000s demonstrated that there has been long running abuse of young boys within the Yeshivas and the bathouses. It is highly disconcerting to note that the local Orthodox authority will try to pay off the families to keep them quiet. Failing that, that the local Orthodox community shuns anyone who speaks out about such abuse.
 When valid concern turns to fear and woo
 The day care panic
In the mid 1980s a number of people involved in the day care industry (caring for other people's children while they were at work) in the U.S. were accused of various levels and amounts of sexual abuse of children in their care, often in connection with Satanic ritual abuse.
Of prime note is the Amirault family day care scandal, which put several adults in jail. Although the evidence against them has been debunked, the Massachusetts Supreme Court upheld all of their convictions on the grounds of "finality" (i.e. that reopening it would be "unfair" for the alleged victims-no concern for whether it's "unfair" to have been wrongly convicted, of course). All those convicted are free on probation or parole, but still considered legally guilty, and subject to being registered as sex offenders, forbidden contact with children, etc. 
 Hypocrisy over pedophilia
While the Daily Star lambasted Chris Morris over a Brass Eye episode that was "a comedy about paedophiles", they print, right next to it, an article lecherously commenting on the 15-year-old Charlotte Church's breasts. (In case you can't read the circled copy, it reads "Their double standards are incomprehensible.")
 COPINE scale
The rating used the United Kingdom to categorise child pornography and images of child sex abuse gives an indication of the range of images that can be found the possession of pedophiles and offenders. While most people might see "pedophile" and immediately think of dirty old men having full sex with underage children, they may be surprised to see that penetrative sex only appears, on the 10-point scale, at number 9. While not necessary morally right or legal, lumping in categories 1-5 with 9 and 10 is somewhat wronger than wrong.
|1||Indicative||Non-erotic and non-sexualised pictures showing children in their underwear, swimming costumes from either commercial sources or family albums. Pictures of children playing in normal settings, in which the context or organisation of pictures by the collector indicates inappropriateness.|
|2||Nudist||Pictures of naked or semi-naked children in appropriate nudist settings, and from legitimate sources.|
|3||Erotica||Surreptitiously taken photographs of children in play areas or other safe environments showing either underwear or varying degrees of nakedness.|
|4||Posing||Deliberately posed pictures of children fully clothed, partially clothed or naked (where the amount, context and organisation suggests sexual interest).|
|5||Erotic Posing||Deliberately posed pictures of fully, partially clothed or naked children in sexualised or provocative poses.|
|6||Explicit Erotic Posing||Pictures emphasising genital areas, where the child is either naked, partially clothed or fully clothed.|
|7||Explicit Sexual Activity||Pictures that depict touching, mutual and self-masturbation, oral sex and intercourse by a child, not involving an adult.|
|8||Assault||Pictures of children being subject to a sexual assault, involving digital touching, involving an adult.|
|9||Gross Assault||Grossly obscene pictures of sexual assault, involving penetrative sex, masturbation or oral sex, involving an adult.|
|10||Sadistic/Bestiality|| a. Pictures showing a child being tied, bound, beaten, whipped or otherwise subject to something that implies pain.|
b. Pictures where an animal is involved in some form of sexual behaviour with a child.
This is somewhat analogous to the U.S. federal distinction between child porn and child erotica, which focuses on whether genitalia are displayed in a "lascivious" manner.
 Pedantic definitions
The term "pedophile" is often applied to anyone with a sexual interest in those below the legal age of consent. This is an over-generalization, since it lumps someone who wants to have sex with 17-year-olds together in the same category with someone who wants to have sex with 7-year-olds. It's also complicated by the fact that the age of consent varies from one country to another, and even from one state to another; an adult having sex with a 15-year-old is illegal in California or New York, but legal in Canada or New Mexico, for example.
Some more exact terms used to describe sexual preferences for young people are:
- Pedophilia: Sexual preference for pre-pubescent children (~0-10 years). Considered a mental disorder by the APA. 
- Nepiophilia and infantophilia: Sexual preference for infants (~0-3 years).
- Hebephilia: Sexual preference for adolescents in the early years of puberty (~11-14/15 years).
- Ephebophilia: Sexual preference for adolescents in the later years of puberty (~15/16-19 years).
(Note: Ages listed above are estimates. Actual classification is based of physical maturity of the victim.)
There have been people and organizations which have attempted to argue that child sexual abuse is not abuse, and can in fact be helpful to the child in question, because of the love shown to the child.
Organizations like the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) have attacked legitimate science for not supporting this preconception. "A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse," published by three psychologists in Psychological Bulletin, is perhaps the most notable example: after being lambasted by various conservative critics for "praising pedophilia," including Laura Schlessinger, a Catholic newspaper, and the Family Research Council, the United States Senate voted unanimously to condemn the team's paper for its conclusion that "Child sexual abuse does not cause intense harm on a pervasive basis." The paper was criticised by Stephanie Dallam in 2001 as it had sampled only college students to produce its results, ignoring the possibility that victims of abuse would be unable to get as far as college, or would drop out early. The Family Research Council, a conservative organization supportive of repressed memory therapy, summed up their ludicrous position as such: "if psychology finds no harm in something considered morally wrong, we believe they are not looking carefully enough."
Beginning with Alfred Kinsey, many other child sexual abuse researchers have become the victims of "concerned citizens" outraged by the suggestion that the results of child sexual abuse might not be "as pervasive, severe, and long-lasting as generally assumed." 
 Legal ludicrousness
Pedophiles are so despised that the way they are treated is sometimes illogical and unethical. As Judith Levine  points out, the repulsiveness of child sexual abuse has tainted anything to do with child sexuality, such as sex education. The disappearance of realistic and effective sex ed programs for teens in the US can in large part be traced back to the generalized (irrational) loathing society feels when even considering the existence of pre-legal sex. The laws under which pedophiles are prosecuted are some of the most unjust statutes in existence; even minor crimes (peeing in public, an 18 year old having consensual sex with a 15 year old, teenagers taking pictures of their own nude bodies) can land you on a sex offenders registry. Murderers, cat-burglars and car thieves serve their terms, pay their debt to society, and return to life in the community with relatively few restrictions. Sex offenders, on the other hand, live in a legal limbo and are denied all manner of civil liberties long after they have served their sentences. Of course, this is downright silly. If a sex offender is harmful, he needs to be in jail. If he is rehabilitated, he should (within a few common sense restrictions) be free. It's illogical for the same person to be responsible enough to roam the streets, and still be dangerous enough to warrant super-stringent supervision. Demonizing public pissers, for example, detracts attention and resources away from catching and jailing real predators who genuinely harm children. We shouldn't hold our breath waiting for a more sensible view to prevail; anyone who dares speak up against this madness runs the risk of being called a pedo-defender and possibly a fellow deviant.
 Psychological effects
Associations between sexual abuse in childhood and psychological problems in adulthood have been found by most papers investigating the effect of child sexual abuse. Although child sexual abuse has no characteristic pattern of outcome, some abused children later suffer from depression, PTSD, drug abuse disorders, and a wide range of other problems. At the very least, half of abused children appear to experience negative sequelae.
The issue has, however, been clouded by improper methodologies used by most researchers. Pope & Hudson, 1995, argued that many studies "are so severely vulnerable to selection bias, information bias, and lack of consideration of confounding variables that they are rendered almost valueless." Although early studies that corrected for these problems found that no significant problems could be attributed to child sexual abuse, recent studies have found negative outcomes for some types of CSA.
 See also
- Catholic Church
- Child abuse
- Child predators on the internet
- Crimen sollicitationis
- Informed consent
- Moral panic
- Repressed memory
- Video: Panorama: "Sex and the Vatican" -- Episode from the BBC news magazine about child sex abuse coverups by the Vatican. (29 September 2006 -- 39 minutes.)
- Video: Frontline: "Hand of God" -- Episode from the PBS news magazine about child sex abuse in the Boston Archdiocese. (16 January 2007 -- 90 minutes, cut into ten segments. Click on a picture to view that segment.)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Ainscough, Carolyn and Toon, Kay. Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse.
- ↑ Ainscough and Toon suggest that the potential for abuse can be mitigated by teaching children that they need not submit to adults' requests for physical touching (even non-sexual touching such as hugs) to which they feel uncomfortable acceding.
- ↑ 11-year old girl married to 40-year old man
- ↑ http://www.npr.org/blogs/pictureshow/2011/06/29/137059781/the-secret-world-of-child-brides
- ↑ http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/nyregion/ultra-orthodox-jews-shun-their-own-for-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.www
- ↑ http://www.cyberussr.com/hcunn/witch/fells.html
- ↑ DeYoung, Robert (July-September 1999). "An Investigative Determination - Child Pornography or Child Erotica?". The Journal of Computer Crime Investigation & Forensics (7.3). http://www.htcn.org/activekb/questions.php?questionid=3.
- ↑ http://behavenet.com/pedophilia
- ↑ http://psycnet.apa.org/?fa=main.doiLanding&doi=10.1037/0033-2909.124.1.22
- ↑ Note, however: "In a sobering postscript to this story, a psychologist of my acquaintance in New York City informed me that he had run into his congressional representative at a local establishment a few weeks after the vote. The congressman informed him that he and a number of other representatives were aware of how silly the resolution was and had considered voting against it. Nevertheless, because the resolution was piggybacked onto important legislation and because it was worded in such a way that voting against it was politically dangerous, he and his colleagues ultimately opted to vote for it. When my psychologist colleague pointed out to his representative that this vote could ultimately exert a chilling effect on research concerning controversial scientific topics, the congressman responded that he was unaware of these negative consequences but would be certain to keep them in mind in the future."
- ↑ Science or Propaganda? An examination of Rind, Tromovitch & Bauserman (1998)
- ↑ The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse: Truth Versus Political Correctness
- ↑ http://www.amazon.com/Harmful-Minors-Perils-Protecting-Children/dp/B005UVULC6
- ↑ K.A. Kendall-Tackett, L.M. Williams and D. Finkelhor. (1993). "Impact of sexual abuse on children: A review and synthesis of recent empirical studies," Psychological Bulletin 113 (1993), pp. 164–180
- ↑ Fergusson, D.M. & Mullen, P.E. (1999). "Childhood sexual abuse: An evidence based perspective," Thousand Oaks, California: Sage Publications.
- ↑ http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1026&context=psychfacpub
- ↑ B. Rind, P. Tromovitch and R. Bauserman (1998). A meta-analytic examination of assumed properties of child sexual abuse using college samples. Psychological Bulletin 124, pp. 22–53.
- ↑ M.E. Fromuth (1986). The relationship of childhood sexual abuse with later psychological and sexual adjustment in a sample of college women. Child Abuse and Neglect 10, pp. 5–15.
- ↑ Nash et al., 1993. M.R. Nash, T.L. Hulsey, M.C. Sexton, T.L. Harralson and W. Lambert (1993). Long-term sequelae of childhood sexual abuse: Perceived family environment, psychopathology, and dissociation. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 61 , pp. 276–283.
- ↑ http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/59/2/139
- ↑ Kendler, K. S., Bulik, C. M., Silberg, J., Hettema, J. M., Myers, J., & Prescott, C. A. (2000). "Childhood sexual abuse and adult psychiatric and substance use disorders in women: An epidemiological and cotwin control analysis," Archives of General Psychiatry, 57 , 953-959.