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Discover our wide selection of textbook content and advanced teaching tools. View a sample course, read testimonials or sign up for a free instructor account today. Choose from more than 900 textbooks from leading academic publishing partners along with additional resources, tools, and content. Subscribe to our Newsletter Get the latest tips, news, and developments. For sex crimes committed by minors, see Juvenile sex crimes. Child sexual abuse, also called child molestation, is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. UNICEF has stated that child marriage “represents perhaps the most prevalent form of sexual abuse and exploitation of girls”.
The global prevalence of child sexual abuse has been estimated at 19. The word pedophile is commonly applied indiscriminately to anyone who sexually abuses a child, but child sexual offenders are not pedophiles unless they have a strong sexual interest in prepubescent children. Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. A study funded by the USA National Institute of Drug Abuse found that “Among more than 1,400 adult females, childhood sexual abuse was associated with increased likelihood of drug dependence, alcohol dependence, and psychiatric disorders. The associations are expressed as odds ratios: for example, women who experienced nongenital sexual abuse in childhood were 2.
A well-documented, long-term negative effect is repeated or additional victimization in adolescence and adulthood. A specific characteristic pattern of symptoms has not been identified, and there are several hypotheses about the causality of these associations. Child abuse, including sexual abuse, especially chronic abuse starting at early ages, has been found to be related to the development of high levels of dissociative symptoms, which includes amnesia for abuse memories. Because child sexual abuse often occurs alongside other possibly confounding variables, such as poor family environment and physical abuse, some scholars argue it is important to control for those variables in studies which measure the effects of sexual abuse. A 1998 meta-analysis by Bruce Rind et al. Depending on the age and size of the child, and the degree of force used, child sexual abuse may cause internal lacerations and bleeding.