Childhood Intimacy Problems Serve as Term Paper

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Other determining factors influencing long-term affects of abuse to a child include:

Whether the child's mother is supportive and child can confide in her.

Whether the child's experiences success at school

Whether the child has nurturing relationships with peers. (Ibid.)

Childhood intimacy problems and sexual abuse, interacting with family background, contribute the child's developing self-esteem and sense or "world" mastery being disrupted. These deficits, in turn, increase the probability of a child experiencing psychological problems later in his/her adult. These developmental deficits may lead to social and personal vulnerabilities later in life, and consequently contribute to the risk of mental health problems developing and/or increasing. (Ibid.)

Sexual Abuse "Signs"

Effects of early sexual abuse, which include childhood intimacy problems, last well into a person's adulthood and effect their relationships, family and work. Individual symptomatology tends to be reflected into the following four areas:

1. "Damaged goods: Low self-esteem, depression, self-destructiveness (suicide and self-mutilation), guilt, shame, self-blame, constant search for approval, and nurturance.

2. Betrayal: Impaired ability to trust, blurred boundaries and role confusion, rage and grief, difficulty forming relationships.

3. Helplessness: Anxiety, fear, tendency toward re-victimization, panic attacks.

4. Isolation: Sense of being different, stigmatized, lack of support, poor peer relations." (Ibid.)

Brodwin, (Ibid) also notes that adult childhood sexual abuse survivors may experience a number of the following (copied) symptoms:

Fear of the dark, fear of sleeping alone, nightmares, night terrors

Difficulty with swallowing, gagging

Poor body image, poor self-image in general

Wearing excessive clothing

Addictions, compulsive behaviors, obsessions


Suicidal ideation

Phobias, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, startle response

Difficulties with anger, hostility, rage

Issues with trust, intimacy, relationships

Issues of boundaries, control, abandonment

Blocking out memories especially between 1 and 12 years of age

Denial, flashbacks

Multiple personalities

Signs of posttraumatic stress disorder (Ibid.)

Past research establishes the fact when a child experiences sexual abuse; he/she becomes more at risk for imminent, as well as, future psychiatric problems. (Mennen, 1993)

The Sensible Thing

The FBI Uniform Crime Report confirms that, 92% of all sexual assaults reported to police are substantiated. Along with believing the victim of a sexual offence, it is also vital to avoid blaming him/her in any way. Puckett (2006) cites Claire Kaplan, director of Sexual and Domestic Violence Services at the UVA Women's Center, to note many victims of sexual abuse do not "tell" because of being told the assault was their fault. The physical pain subsides in time as the body heals, albeit, the pain inside does not just simply dissipate. It lingers inside a person and it eats at them. Even though the pain from being sexually abused lingers and girls are considered to be at risk" when they become adults for repeated acts of victimization, Green (1993) reports that a significant, albeit smaller number of these abused females will molest children. The American Humane Association study in 1981, determined that: "14% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse against boys and 6% of the perpetrators against girls were women." Other of the scarce number of current studies of female sexual offenders indicates that "50% to 95% of them had been sexually abused during childhood." One Australian researcher posits that females who sexually abuse children, just as males, exert a devastating impact on victims; however, this concern is hugely ignored in society. (Miles, 2006) Among the many labels attributed to sexual predators, "the worst of the worst" and "very nasty criminals" are included. ("A BETTER ANSWER...," June 15, 1997).

Many in society contend that the only answer for "community protection" is to keep them "locked up."

Common, Yet Uncommon, Concerns

Valente (2005), as most researchers noted in this project, relates commonly known, uncommon concerns regarding childhood sexual abuse. Not only can this issue which blatantly reflects problems with intimacy damage a child's.".. self-esteem, self-concept, relationships, and ability to trust. It can also leave psychological trauma that compromises a boy's confidence in adults." Even though some males may adjust to sexual abuse, if they willingly participate, numerous other boys experience negative fallout, including quality of life problems, impaired functioning; poor personal relationships, self-destructive behavior(s).

As the study completed by Valente (Ibid) explores components related to boys being sexually abused, such as prevalence, psychological consequences, characteristics, treatment, and the boys' coping patterns, their reluctance and/or failure to disclose abuse is also explored.

Denial, anxiety, self-hypnosis, dissociation, and self-mutilation are common psychological responses to abuse. Becoming an angry avenger; a passive victim; daredevil; rescuer; conformist are some coping methods boys who have been sexually abused may use. Male victims may run away; perform in school or on their job; require expensive medical and/or emergency care, require mental health visits. Suicide may be attempted when/if the by decides life is not worth the pain. (Ibid.) Sexual abuse of males is estimated to range from 4% to 16%, dependent on sexual abuse definitions, the population studied, and the data collected. Particular populations such as psychiatric patients, homeless men, psychiatric patients, and sexual offenders note larger rates. (Ibid.) This particular study, as all others explored in this project, notes that the majority of sexual abuse are primarily male (from 53% to 94%), with most stating they are heterosexual. Female sexual perpetrators, Valente (Ibid), notes are usually adolescent baby sitters. Family members are found to be more likely to abuse boys prior to them turning 6 years-old. Abuse incidents in this study ranged from isolated cases to chronic abuse ranging 6 months to 4 years. For some children, the only positive memory of positive interaction with their family was right before their abuse started which usually began as horse play, tickling, playing and wrestling with a friend/adult or family member.

After the abuse became evident to the boys being victimized, they would often struggle mentally, questioning if the abuse was normal behavior or wrong.

Physical force, manipulation, rewarded secrecy and threats of harmful consequences frequently accompanied the abuse, constituting a problematic intimacy. Sometimes male abuse victims complied with sexual abuse, thinking it would defer or eliminate beatings. (Ibid.) the boy's, with average age of 8 years and 4 months, felt something was wrong with them; that they were less than male, as they were singled out to be abused. Some feared the abuse would transform them into a homosexual or that they were homosexual.

Being placed in the role of sexual objects challenged their self-concept as being strong, masculine, valuable individuals. (Ibid). As the boys experienced fear and intimidation, coupled with sexual stimulation, they also.".. reported feeling helpless, isolated, alienated, guilty, blamed themselves, and felt humiliated." Sexually abused boys, researchers determined are two to four times more likely to experience a deluge of "disorders," including mood; post-traumatic stress;, borderline personality disorder; eating disorders; aggressive behavior; school problems, run away behaviors; etc.. Of evils when compared with physical abuse or isolation. Rage or its opposite contender, extreme passivity are common among children who have survived chronic sexual abuse. Defenses against rage, such as passivity or identification with the aggressor, may be common. Violence toward their self, such as self-mutilation may also emerge. (Ibid) an angered abused boy who becomes an avenger determines someone has to pay for his suffering. In turn, this desire for revenge motivates him to abuse other individuals. By becoming the dominant abuser, he strengthens his sense of control, feeling more masculine; dominant; powerful. Instead of being the victim as in his youth, the young man relives the trauma, however, ascertains that the experience as an abuser is sexually exciting. Consequently, he begins to pervert or.".. defile a child but he selects an ideal child who is unlike him, but reflects the child he would have wanted to be if his early trauma had been avoided." (Ibid).

An even stronger link between childhood sexual victimization and subsequent sexually abusive behavior in men appears to exist as the study Green (I993) notes that Groth and Freeman-Longo (1979) completed, indicating that 80% of a sample of convicted sexual offenders (both rapists and child molesters) were sexually abused when children. Green also cites Seghorn et al. (1987) to report that.".. 57% of child molesters had a history of previous sexual abuse."

The sexual offense, researchers attest, may portray the perpetrator's reenactment of their initial experience of being abused. Their ensuing abuse cycle could also signify anger expressed toward the abuser, and also the perpetrator/former victim identifying with the person who abused them. (Ibid.)

III: Sexual Perpetrators' Profiles

Sexual Offender or Predator?

Just kids! That's about the craziest argument I've ever heard.

Every criminal in the world was a kid once. What does it prove?

Career sexual predators are not easily identified, yet according to Duane L. Dobbert, they are among us. Dobbert's book, Halting the Sexual Predators Among Us, published in 2005, notes that more than 103,845 kids are sexually abused each year, and that a 20-percent increase in rape incidents has been currently noted. Vague advice usually accompanies statistics; Dobbert notes and contends that more…

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