Analecto

31 de março de 2019

What I learned by reading “Children’s Disclosures of Sexual Abuse in a Population-Based Sample”.

Filed under: Saúde e bem-estar — Tags:, , , — Yure @ 21:26

Children’s Disclosures of Sexual Abuse in a Population-Based Sample” was written by Hanna-Mari Lahtinen, Aarno Laitila, Julia Korkman and Noora Ellonen. Below, what I learned by reading this text.

  1. Most studies on child sexual abuse are retrospective (adults are interviewed about their childhood experiences) or are focused on children who reported the occurrence ( forensic samples).
  2. Because these methods are not that good, the authors of this study used data collected from children in the general population.
  3. They obtained data on 11,364 children and adolescents between the sixth and ninth year of Finnish elementary education.
  4. Of these, only 2.4% had sexual contact with subjects at least five years older.
  5. Of those 2.4%, 80% tells the experience to other people, but most tell to a friend, not to an adult (48%).
  6. Only 26% shared the experience with an adult.
  7. 12% told the authorities.
  8. 41% of those who did not tell the experience to adults did not do so because they did not think the incident was serious enough to warrant intervention .
  9. Only 14% did not report the experience out of fear.
  10. The primary evidence in cases of sex with minors is the testimony of the minor.
  11. There is no consensus on what counts as child sexual abuse and what does not.
  12. It is harder for a child to reveal that something sexual has happened to her if she does not trust her parents.
  13. Some fear being blamed for what happened.
  14. Boys talk less to adults about their sexual experiences, so a sample with several boys as subjects will have lower percentages of reporting behavior.
  15. Fear and pain increase the chances of complaint: of course the child will tell adults if something serious happens to them.
  16. If the experience is not seen as abusive, it is likely that the child or adolescent had experience with a friend.
  17. Complaint occurs most often among those who feel victimized (because some deny that the experience was negative).
  18. As adults can reinterpret their childhood sexual experiences differently than they interpreted when the experience happened, interviewing children gives us a more accurate picture of what really happened.
  19. The participants’ ages ranged from ten to seventeen (55% of the sixth year, 45% of the ninth year).
  20. Emotional abuse: silence treatment, insult, throwing or kicking things, threatening with violence.
  21. Physical abuse: shoving, pulling, slapping, punching, kicking, spanking, threatening with a knife or a firearm, attacking with a knife of firearm (yes, some parents do that to their children), other forms of violence.
  22. The definition of “sexual abuse” found in the study tries to be as close as possible to the definition used by the Finnish Criminal Code , so the text also considers “harmless” and voluntary experiences as abuse, provided that the age difference is at least five years between the participants.
  23. Despite this, the study probed the child’s impression of the act, that is, it gave the children a chance to say whether they considered the incident to be abuse or not, regardless of what the law says.
  24. The study also looked at the quality of the act, that is, whether the child considered the incident to be positive, negative or insignificant.
  25. Of the 11,364 children interviewed, 256 had sexual experiences with a person at least five years older.
  26. 45% had only one experience, 20% had between two and ten experiences and 13% had more than ten experiences.
  27. Most of the subjects who had such experiences were ninth grade girls.
  28. The mean age of the subject was fourteen years and the mean age of the partner was twenty-three years.
  29. 64% of libidinous acts were between the child and someone who was twenty-years-old or older.
  30. The mean age difference was nine years.
  31. 119 of the children who had sexual experiences with partner five years older also suffered emotional abuse perpetrated by the mother.
  32. The mother physically abuses her children more often than the father.
  33. Only 16% (35 subjects) of the children and adolescents considered the sexual experience as abuse, 51% considered the experience non-abusive and 33% were undecided.
  34. Most libidinous acts were non-penetrative contacts.
  35. The experience was positive for 71% of the boys, but for only 26% of the girls.
  36. 46% of the girls evaluated the experience as negative, against 9% of the boys.
  37. If we sum boys and girls, 34% of the subjects evaluated the experience as positive, 27% as insignificant and 40% as negative, that is, negative sexual experiences with a person at least five years older are a minority phenomenon.
  38. Force, intimidation and blackmail were employed only 20% of the time.
  39. 35% of the experiences were with strangers, 14% with friend, 16% with acquaintance, 8% with romantic partner, 6% with family.
  40. 80% of children and adolescents told the experience to someone: 48% to a friend or parents, 11% to siblings, 6% to others, 5% to teacher, 7% to police, 2% to the school counselor and 4% to social services.
  41. So, only 26% told the experience to adults.
  42. 41% did not tell the experience because they did not think it was something worth mentioning, 14% because of fear, 14% because they did not think anyone would want to listen, 14% because they saw no benefit in telling someone, 10% because of shame.
  43. 8% did not report for other reasons, including “I liked what happened“.
  44. The child who feels abused or undecided about how to feel regarding the experience is most likely to reveal what has happened to an adult.
  45. If the experience is negative, the child will probably reveal what happened.
  46. Disclosure is also more common among young children (under seven).
  47. The child who suffers emotional or physical abuse at home tends more to keep secrecy (perhaps out of fear of the parents‘ reaction).
  48. Reporting is more frequent when the partner is 30 years old or older.
  49. Other factors that encourage reporting are the use of force, violence or blackmail during the contact.
  50. Although a minority of these children and adolescents have told the experience to any adults, the total majority (80%) discloses to someone, even if just to friends.
  51. The definition of “abuse” is different between adults and children, the child does not think that a lot of things that we adults find unacceptable can be regarded as abuse.
  52. For the child, the age difference alone does not automatically turn into “abuse” a given sexual contact.
  53. In the case of adolescents, being called “hot” can be seen as compliment, not asharassment.”
  54. Thus, most cases of adult-child sexual contact may not be too serious.
  55. Child sexual abuse is not on the rise.
  56. Children with special needs are abused more often.
  57. A third of the sexual invitations done to children fail if the child says, “I will tell someone.”

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