The Utah mom who solicited her daughter's virginity online pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual exploitation. Here are facts about family member child sexual abuse and parental prostitution.
Child sexual abuse, exploitation and prostitution
An estimated 90,000 cases of child sexual abuse or incest are reported annually. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychology explains the actual incidence is much higher. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network says 25 percent of girls younger than 18 have been sexually violated and one of six boys have experienced sexual abuse. 75 percent of sexual abuse occurs with family members, friends and people the child trusts.
Faces of child sexual abuse
How does a sexually abused act? Individual children respond differently, but hallmarks include difficulty sleeping, nightmares, withdrawn and escapist behavior. Children can appear to live in a fantasy world or show signs of Cinderella complex. Sexually traumatized kids are prone to angry outbursts and depression. They may stop caring for themselves, abuse food, avoid grooming or they may sexualize themselves. Abused kids may self-mutilate. They often manifest acute anxiety around certain people. They often have separation anxiety issues and suffer from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. They may display inappropriate sexual knowledge and behavior for their age. Sexually abused children may make overtly sexual advances, particularly if they have been taught to use sexual behavior to get things.
Sexual abuse thrives on lies, threats, secrets and shame
Many children are afraid to report perpetrators and ashamed of sexual trauma. Legal procedures for validating an incident are complicated too. Gregg Milligan is a maternal sexual abuse and prostitution survivor and activist. He echoes the secretive, manipulative, shame-based nature of abuse. Abusers wield power in the form of threats. He also kept quiet with threats of sexual mutilation.
Places to get help or report suspected abuse
Marilisa Kinney Sachteleben writes about parenting from 23 years raising four children and 25 years teaching K-8, special needs, adult education and home-school.