Here’s a distressing statistic to consider: Some 85 percent of the time, children are abused by someone they know. Abusers are often immediate or extended family members, such as fathers, mothers, stepparents, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts, or cousins. They can be neighbors, babysitters, religious leaders, teachers, coaches, or anyone else who has close contact with children.
Child sexual abuse has been reported up to 80,000 times a year in the United States, but the number of unreported instances is far greater, because the children are afraid to tell anyone what has happened, and the legal avenues for validating an episode is difficult. The problem should be identified, the abuse stopped, and the child should receive professional help. The long-term emotional and psychological damage of sexual abuse can be devastating to the child.
Sexually abused children may:
- Say their bodies are dirty or damaged, or fear that there is something wrong with them in the genital area
- Refuse to go to school
- Develop delinquency/conduct problems
- Become secretive
- Have nightmares or problems sleeping
- Become depressed or withdraw from friends or family
- Show an unusual interest in or avoidance of all things of a sexual nature
- Become aggressive
- Engage in suicidal ideation
- Relive aspects of sexual molestation in drawings, games, fantasies
Abusers can make the child extremely fearful of telling or reaching out for help, especially when it is a member of the family. Only when a special effort has been made for the child to feel safe, can the child talk freely.
If someone you know needs help, you can contact us:
Toll free: 855-529-4274
Tim Kosnoff, direct: 425-837-9690
Dan Fasy, direct: 206-462-4338
Kosnoff Fasy, Seattle office: 206-257-3590