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Child sexual abuse does not need to involve physical contact

Survivors of child sexual abuse must recover from emotional trauma. Emotional trauma can take much longer to heal than physical injury. While it makes sense that sexual abuse is often associated with unwanted touching, physical contact is not needed. Children can be victims of sexual abuse without ever being touched by the abuser.

What is considered child sexual abuse?

Children may face emotional trauma defined as sexual abuse from seemingly safe spaces such as daycare centers to churches. According to the Veteran’s Administration, child sexual abuse—broadly defined—includes any sexual behaviors between an adult and a child that are “meant to arouse the adult in a sexual way.

Accordingly, there is a range of activities that is considered child sexual abuse. While many people associate child sexual touching, there are many other ways an adult can abuse a child or adolescent sexually. They include:

  • Sexual talk/innuendo
  • Forcing a child to watch sexually explicit programs
  • Forcing a child to look at sexually explicit photos
  • Forcing a child to watch sexual activity
  • Exposing genitals to a child

The range of activities that can be considered child sexual abuse is vast. If you feel like you or your child have been sexually abused, please contact a qualified medical professional.

Is there help?

Beyond psychological counseling and medical intervention, there are other ways of getting help for abuse. Not only can the perpetrator be prosecuted in criminal court, he/she can also be held civilly liable. Many survivors are too concerned about the public nature of lawsuits to get help from an attorney. It is important to understand that you can file a lawsuit anonymously, so your name is not in the public record. Attorneys who specialize in this area of law can provide further accountability for the abuser, allowing the victim another measure of healing.

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