The sexual abuse of a child is something that occurs across all ethnic and socio-economic boundaries. The abuse often goes undiscovered because the child is afraid to talk about it. There are signs you can look for though. The presence of a single sign does not prove child abuse is occurring in a family; however, when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination you should take a closer look at the situation and consider the possibility of child abuse.
There is remarkably little known about child abusers and pedophilia. What little we do know typically comes from abusers who were caught and convicted, not from persons with pedophilia tendencies that choose to not act on those tendencies. Regardless, researchers have pieced together a bit about the psychology behind a sexual child offender.
From the mouth of an abuser: Parents are so naive. They’re worried about strangers and should be worried about their brother-in-law. They just don’t realize how devious we can be. I used to abuse children in the same room with their parents and they couldn’t see it or didn’t seem to know it was happening. Read the devious methods child abusers use to “groom” their victims in preparation for the abuse.
The following was posted anonymously and used with permission of the author. It tells the story of a sexual predator and the steps the abuser took to maintain contact with his potential, and past, sexual abuse victims. It also demonstrates the frustration the victims live through when dealing with a legal system that all too often offers more protection to the offender than the victim.
Physical indicators of sexual abuse are not always present and in fact, most examinations of sexually abused prepubertal girls result in normal examination findings due to the elasticity of the hymenal tissue and rapid healing of any injuries that may have occurred during the sexual abuse. Long term problems resulting from sexual abuse are rare but may include gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome, non-ulcer dyspepsia, or chronic abdominal pain. Occasionally gynecological disorders may persist such as chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrheal, or menstrual irregularities.
Emotional abuse, or psychological maltreatment, is a fairly common form of child abuse but one that is often difficult to identify or categorize. Although complex and difficult to define, experts agree that occasional negative actions or responses to a child are not considered emotional abuse (we all lose our heads at times and say things we regret later). Regardless, even occasional emotional abuse may be harmful to the child. As Douglas Besharov states in Recognizing Child Abuse, “emotional abuse is an assault on the child’s psyche, just as physical abuse is an assault on the child’s body.”
A child abuser can be a mother, father, a friendly neighbor, a friend of your parents, someone at your church, or even a teacher. You can’t really tell by looking at them if they are a child abuser or not. Child abusers can sometimes look just like normal people. But there are signs you can look for, ways the person acts around others and things like that, that might let you know the person could be a child abuser.