Sexual Abuse of Children vs. Familial Abuse

Subject: Sociology
Pages: 6
Words: 1682
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: Bachelor

Nowadays, many laws and regulations govern the types of sexual abuse. Moreover, they determine the specific actions that fall within this definition, as well as the punishment for the deed. Usually, the definition of sexual abuse includes acts of a sexual nature by one person in relation to another. Likewise, if the person who commits such actions is an adult and the victim of abuse is a minor, it is considered child sexual abuse. In addition, acts committed to persons who have not reached the age of consent, which varies in different countries, also apply to the CSA (children sexual abuse). The aim of this work is to analyze the different types of abuse, such as The Sexual Abuse of Children and Familial Abuse.

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The film Precious, which depicts the life of an obese girl from a dysfunctional family, has shown several types of sexual abuse. Thus, sexual abuse is any act of a sexual nature aimed at sexual gratification (Tower 113). Child sexual abuse is considered a sexual act committed by an adult against a child (Tower 113). Accordingly, both sexual abuse and familial child sexual abuse were portrayed in the film. One can know that these are such types of abuse by considering the facts and scenes depicted in the film. Thereby, one of the facts was the pregnancy of the main character from her father at an early age.

Sexual abuse can be committed not only from father to child but also from mother to child. Accordingly, there was also a scene in the film indicating the mother’s intention to obtain sexual gratification with the help of the daughter. Accordingly, these acts are also characteristic of familial sexual abuse, performed in older age. Moreover, nowadays, researchers distinguish many sub-terms of the concept of child sexual abuse (Bryce and Petherick 72). However, it was child sexual abuse and juvenile sexual abuse that was depicted in the film since the actions from the mother were committed at the daughter’s age of sixteen. As it was discussed in the text, it is necessary for actions to be considered as abuse to have the motive of sexual satisfaction, as it was in the film.

In modern psychology, researchers have been able to identify some similarities and differences in some types of offenders. Firstly, perpetrators differ in which gender of the victim they choose: male or female. Thus, the fixated offender usually are primarily oriented to children, predominantly males (Tower 128). As one may observe in the movie Precious, the father and mother were sexually abusing the female, namely the daughter. The regressed offender may co-exist with an adult female but still abuse the female child, and alcohol plays an important role (Tower 128). This is exactly what happened in the film, the father lived with his wife, however, at the same time committed sexual violence against his daughter. Therefore, one may make a conclusion that the father was the regressed offender.

Speaking about what makes a person become the offender, researchers distinguish several reasons. One may divide these causes into the background and current ones: background roots include the conditions in which the offender grew. The future offender might be sexually abused in childhood, grew in a dysfunctional family, used drugs and alcohol (Bagley and Mallick 27). Current causes include those that have led to sexual abuse of the child in the current period of time.

It includes a dysfunctional marriage, a bad relationship with a wife, alcohol or drug abuse (Bagley and Mallick 27). Among the signs and red flags that should be monitored is a dysfunctional sex life in relation to the wife. Additionally, the red flag is the intimidated behavior of the child, which can be caused by threats from the offender. Unfortunately, the topic of child sexual abuse often goes silent or unnoticed because it is difficult to talk about.

Furthermore, it is important to identify the symptoms of abuse that the victim exhibits. Such symptoms include the strange behavior of the child, which can be a signal of abuse. Among them are the following: agitation, anxiety, or constant apprehension, changes in sleep habits (sleeping too much or not enough), developing a drug or alcohol problem. In addition, the child may be extremely apologetic or meek, one may lose interest in daily activities, and seem fearful and depressed (Mathews 18). If an outside person (teacher, educator, friend) notices such a change in the child’s behavior, it is necessary to conduct a conversation and try to find out the reason.

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Moreover, the researchers managed to identify the symptoms, more precisely, the conditions under which a person can become an offender. It includes psychological problems that have occurred as a result of poor developmental conditions. For example, factors of brain development, neuropsychological functioning, and ecological environment (living or working conditions with access to children) (Mathews 19). This interacts with background and ongoing causes, which together lead to the manifestation of sexual abuse. Access to a child most often includes family conditions, namely when a parent has a daughter or a son. Correspondingly, they live in the same house, which constitutes the offender’s unhindered access to the child.

Adults play an important role around the victim and the offender. The most crucial factor of adults in relation to the victim is, as was mentioned, the ability to recognize the signs and symptoms of the victim. Again, these include strange changes in the child’s behavior that need to be addressed in time (Mathews 19). In addition, it formulates the responsibility of adults around victim and offender, namely to pay attention to signs and red flags of potential abuse.

Surely, among the other responsibilities is the proper reaction if one becomes aware of done abuse. It involves conducting a conversation with a child, trying to find out the reasons, and making the child sure that one can speak about it. For instance, in the film, the mother did not react to the abuse in relation to her daughter, moreover, the mother blamed the child for breaking down with the father.

Speaking about current reporting requirements for the type of abuse, one should pay attention that there are several types of abuse today. These types include sexual abuse, emotional abuse, physical abuse, neglect, and exposure to family violence. In the United States, any form of sexual abuse must be reported as it causes significant harm to the child. Moreover, one distinguishes emotional abuse, which includes threats that the child will not be provided with food or any other type of care. It also involves bullying, namely negative reviews about the child’s appearance or characteristics. As one might note, the film featured not only sexual abuse but emotional abuse as well. This consisted of the mother’s mockery to her daughter about her appearance, as well as insufficient care. All of these features constitute current reporting requirements for different types of abuse.

Familial child sexual abuse by parents has devastating long-term consequences for children. After analyzing the research, it was possible to identify that this leads to psychological problems and suicide attempts (Dawning et al. 3). Moreover, it can result in long-term consequences affecting not only the psychological state of the individual but also the family life. These include alcohol or drug abuse, long-term depression, and the inability to live with family members, as well as a dysfunctional marriage (Dawning et al. 3). All of these consequences apply to the types of abuse that have been identified in the film and book, namely familial child sexual abuse and emotional abuse.

Moreover, speaking about emotional abuse, this kind may contribute to the development of psychological complexes. This is because in emotional abuse, as a rule, attention is paid to the individual’s external/internal characteristics or shortcomings.

In addition, researchers have identified several treatments and intervention strategies for sexual abuse. They include both medical and therapeutic agents targeting specific spectra. One such spectrum is remoteness from the problem: namely, the ways to forget or distance from the cause (Toon 58). Such methods are useful if the consequences of the sexual abuse are not severe, such as deep depression or suicidal thoughts. This concerns mild to moderate consequences, namely fears, complexes, or moderate PTSD. Methods include memorization of thoughts and actions during which symptoms diminish or disappear (Toon 58).

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For example, memorizing unconscious thoughts or actions and repeating them in the future consciously, moreover, with an enhanced effect (Toon 59). In other words, if one notices that while walking with friends, depression weakens, it is necessary to repeat this every day and increase the period of time spent with friends.

Moreover, one may need to live with friends, for example, in a dormitory, for that period of time until the depression completely disappears. In some cases, it may take a week or a month, and if this period of time was not enough, such an intervention is most likely ineffective. Another example would be art therapy: sometimes, people subconsciously do not notice that depression or panic attacks are alleviated by engaging in creativity. In this case, it is necessary to delve into the type of creativity as it can become a new deep hobby. Moreover, if an individual succeeds, such as selling a painting at an auction, it can help to forget about the incident and start a new life completely.

As a result, one may conclude that sexual abuse is not one type of problem. It is divided into child sexual abuse and family child sexual abuse. Further, violence can be not only sexual but also emotional, physical, as well as expressed in ignorance and ignorance. In any case, abuse committed in childhood, especially family abuse, entails serious consequences for the child’s psyche. This includes psychological problems and complexes in the long term. Moreover, it can lead to serious problems such as deep depression and even thoughts and attempts at suicide. Additionally, it was identified that there are two types of offenders, namely the fixated offender and the regressive one. Among the possible ways to mitigate the consequences and interventions is the distancing from the problem methods and art therapy.

Works Cited

Bagley, Christopher, and Mallick, Kanka. Child Sexual Abuse and Adult Offenders: New Theory and Research. Routledge, 2019.

Bryce, India, and Petherick, Wayne. Child Sexual Abuse: Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact, and Management. Elsevier, 2020.

Dawning, Nancy, et al.“The Impact of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adverse Childhood Experiences on Adult Health Related Quality of Life. Child Abuse and Neglect, vol. 120. 2021. ScienceDirect. Web.

Mathews, Ben. New International Frontiers in Child Sexual Abuse: Theory, Problems and Progress. Springer, 2018.

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Toon, Kay. Breaking Free Workbook: Help For Survivors of Child Sex Abuse. Hachette UK, 2020.

Tower, Cynthia. Understanding Child Abuse and Neglect. Pearson, 2013.