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Review Article



Childhood Sexual Abuse

Evrim Aktepe.

Cited by (8)

Abstract
Sexual abuse is defined as use of child or adolescent by the adults for satisfying of sexual urges and needs with forcing, threatening or tricking. Sexual abuse can be in the form of sexual abuse without touch, sexual touch, interfemoral intercourse, sexual penetration, and sexual exploitation. The prevalence of sexual abuse is reported as 10-40%. It is seen in female four times more than in males. Abusers are frequently male, only 5-15% of them are female. The abuse by females is usually towards male child. Thirty-fifty percent of abuse cases among child and adolescent are outside the family including strangers or familiar person. Some features of abusers are introvert personality, pedophilic and antisocial personality. Most of the abusers have a history of sexual abuse or aggression during childhood. Sexual intercourse between two people who are not allowed to marry by law is called as incest. Family pattern of incest is defined globally as disorganized and dysfunctional. The most commonly reported familial pattern is rigid and patriarchal family pattern with a harsh father using force quite frequently. The clinical features and impacts of the sexual abuse on the child varies according to the relation between abusers and the child, form of abuse, duration of abuse, presence of physical assault, developmental phase, child age and psychological development before the abuse. Sexual abuse history may result in psychiatric disorders including anxiety, depression, substance dependence, suicide act, borderline personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder. Abuse negatively affects interpersonal relationships and self esteem of abused individuals. Several studies reported close association between risky sexual behaviors in adulthood and a history of of sexual abuse during childhood. Four traumatic dynamics including traumatic sexuality with abuse, feeling of betrayal, weakness, and stigmatization exist in childhood abuse. Trauma can cause behavioral and psychological results by itself, early trauma may also lead to biological effects. Especially traumas during neuron plasticity phase may lead hypersensitivity of neuroendocrine stress response. Early life stresses are shown to lead changes in corticotrophin releasing factor system in preclinical and clinical phase studies. In the treatment of sexual abuse, emotional process related with trauma should be focused on. This process may be conducted with play therapy. Development of higher level defense mechanism, increasing ego capacity, orientation to social activity and personal activity according to skills is aimed. For the elimination of guiltiness related with stigmatization, the child should be told that it is not herhis fault to incorporate into sexual interaction and the culprit is abuser. It is fairly important for medical staff, school and family to have sufficient information about sexual abuse for prevention and early recognition.

Key words: Child, sexual abuse, incest



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