Sexual Abuse Against Minors

“Any intentional harm or mistreatment to a child under 18 years old is considered child abuse. … Sexual child abuse is any sexual activity with a child, such as fondling, oral-genital contact, intercourse, exploitation or exposure to child pornography.”1

People who abuse minors include strangers and family members, family friends and other children. There is no one type of person, male or female, adult or child, who can be defined as a sexual abuser of minors. Any person can sexually abuse a child, and some abusers may get friendly with families of young children just to have that opportunity.

Grooming is “a method used by offenders that involves building trust with a child and the adults around a child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with her/him. In extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families,” according to the American Bar Association.2

Learning the warning signs and educating children are steps to stop sexual abuse of children and empower them to avoid being sexually abused.

The sourced articles below should provide you more information on sexual abuse against minors.

Footnotes: 1. “Child abuse,” mayoclinic.org, 10/5/2018; 2. “Understanding Sexual Grooming in Child Abuse Cases,” americanbar.org, 11/1/2015


  1. Westerners ‘Fuelling Philippine Child Sex Video Rise’

    “Reports of suspected cases of online child sex abuse across the world have soared from just over 100,000 five years ago to more than 18 million last year, figures from the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children suggest. The Philippines is considered to be at the epicentre of the problem.”

    Mike Thomson, bbc.com, 6/26/2019

  2. Warning Signs For Young Children

    “It’s not always easy to spot sexual abuse because perpetrators often take steps to hide their actions. Some signs are easier to spot than others. For instance, some warning signs might be noticed by a caretaker or parent, and are often red flags that the child needs medical attention. Listen to your instincts. If you notice something that isn’t right or someone is making you uncomfortable—even if you can’t put your finger on why—it’s important to talk to the child.”

    Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), rainn.org, accessed on 10/9/2018

  3. Understanding Sexual Grooming In Child Abuse Cases

    “The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART) uses the following definition of grooming; Grooming is a method used by offenders that involves building trust with a child and the adults around a child in an effort to gain access to and time alone with her/him. In extreme cases, offenders may use threats and physical force to sexually assault or abuse a child. More common, though, are subtle approaches designed to build relationships with families. …”

    American Bar Association, americanbar.org, accessed on 10/9/2018

  4. International Development Committee Report Into Sexual Abuse And Exploitation In The Aid Sector

    “The International Development Committee report into Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in the Aid Sector published today (31st July 2018) reaffirms that sexual abuse and exploitation within the aid sector is endemic and rooted in a power imbalance that is predominantly, although not exclusively, gendered.”

    Equality Now, equalitynow.org, 7/31/2018

  5. Why Children Don’t Tell

    “The reasons many survivors remain silent are not black and white. They are complex. …
    [1.] Self-Blame …
    [2.] Shame …
    [3.] Fear …
    [4.] Protection …
    [5.] Admiration …
    [6.] Disillusionment …”

    Robin L. O’Grady with Nicole Matthews-Creech, lacasacenter.org, 7/4/2018

  6. IWF Research On Child Sex Abuse Live-Streaming Reveals 98% Of Victims Are 13 Or Under

    “A new study by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has revealed shocking statistics on children being groomed, coerced and blackmailed into live-streaming their own sexual abuse over webcams, tablets and mobile phones.”

    Internet Watch Foundation, iwf.org.uk, 5/15/2018

  7. #Metoo Explainer: What’s The Difference Between Sexual Abuse, Assault, Harassment…

    “Sexual abuse : The term that has been in the news most recently with reference to sports doctor Larry Nassar’s trial is sexual abuse, a form of mistreating children. Sexual abuse is mainly used to describe behavior toward children, not adults.”

    Sarah L. Cook, Georgia State University; Lilia M. Cortina, University of Michigan, and Mary P. Koss, University of Arizona, chron.com, 3/9/2018

  8. Talking To Your Young Athletes About Sex Abuse

    “Here’s what they had to say about the steps every parent should take to protect their kids. …
    [1.] Talk to your kids, a lot. …
    [2.] Be present. …
    [3.] Watch the interaction between the coach and your child. …
    [4.] Remember that older kids are as much at risk as younger ones. …”

    Amanda Loudin, espn.com, 1/16/2018

  9. Sexual Assault Is About Power

    “Despite its name, sexual abuse is more about power than it is about sex. Although the touch may be sexual, the words seductive or intimidating, and the violation physical, when someone rapes, assaults, or harasses, the motivation stems from the perpetrator’s need for dominance and control. In heterosexual and same-sex encounters, sex is the tool used to gain power over another person. And as #MeToo attests with heart-breaking clarity, sexual abuse affects children and adolescents as well.”

    Lyn Yonack, MA, MSW, BCD-P, psychologytoday.com, 11/14/2017

  10. The Cycle Of Sexual Abuse And Abusive Adult Relationships

    “Maureen Canning, MA, LMFT, herself a child abuse survivor, recovered sex addict, and relationship therapist, explains the many reasons in her book Lust, Anger, Love: Understanding Sexual Addiction and the Road to Healthy Intimacy. The top ten reasons sexually abused children grow up to have abusive relationships in adulthood include the following. …
    [1.] It Feels Familiar …
    [2.] It Is an Attempt to Heal …
    [3.] They Feel Inadequate …
    [4.] They Feel Grandiose …
    [5.] It is a Search for Power and Control …
    [6.] They May Be Sexually Aroused by Abusive Behavior …
    [7.] They Feel Very Angry …
    [8.] They May Try to Hurt Others Before Being Hurt …
    [9.] They are Searching for Intensity …
    [10.] Living a Fantasy Feels Safer Than Reality …”

    Elizabeth Hartney, PhD, verywellmind.com, 10/28/2017

  11. Common Symptoms In Adult Survivors Of Childhood Sexual Abuse

    “Physical Symptoms of Childhood Sexual Abuse
    [1.] Chronic pelvic pain …
    [2.] Gastrointestinal symptoms/distress …
    [3.] Musculoskeletal complaints …
    [4.] Obesity, eating disorders …
    [5.] Insomnia, sleep disorders …
    [6.] Pseudocyesis …
    [7.] Sexual dysfunction …
    [8.] Asthma, respiratory ailments …
    [9.] Addictions (alcohol addiction/ drug addiction) …
    [10.] Chronic headache …
    [11.] Chronic back pain …”

    Natasha Tracy, healthyplace.com, 10/19/2017