Childhood sexual abuse is a devastating crime with lifelong implications for victims and survivors.
Studies by David Finkelhor, Director of the Crimes Against Children Research Center, show that:
- 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse;
- Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5–10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;
- During a one–year period in the United States, 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 are sexually victimized;
- Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of youth ages 14 to 17 are sexually victimized;
- Children are most vulnerable to childhood sexual abuse between the ages of 7 and 13.
According to a 2003 National Institute of Justice report, 3 out of 4 adolescents who were sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew well.
Being informed and advocating for your rights or your child’s rights is the first step in ending the silence, shame, confusion, and denial that allow childhood sexual abuse to occur in our homes and communities.
The child is always the victim. A child’s involvement with an adult offender is never consensual or consenting.
Childhood sexual abuse is often referred to as a “silent crime” because victims have difficulty disclosing. Non-offending adults are often complicit in not reporting the abuse, and perpetrators—who are often trusted by the child or known in the community—easily manipulate situations so that they can continue the abuse. In addition, the abuse is often not physically apparent; rather, the evidence of abuse may manifest itself in behavioral and psychological changes that can be misidentified as moodiness or disobedience.
For victims, the act of coming forward takes great strength and courage. Experts agree that false accusations of childhood sexual abuse are rare. When a child does disclose abuse, we begin by believing and seeking justice for the victim survivor.
The attorneys at the Marsh Law Firm have extensive experience helping victims and survivors of childhood sexual abuse achieve both criminal and civil justice. We help sex abuse survivors rebuild their lives with dignity and respect. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Professor Marci Hamilton of Child USA on Statutes of Limitation
Marsh Law Firm founder James R. Marsh was recently named Board Chairman of Child USA which is the nation’s leading think tank conducting research based public policy reform for children.
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