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Sexual Abuse of Children


This research paper deals with child sexual abuse. The main focus of this paper is to identify the causes of child sexual abuse including impacts and consequences of this obnoxious activity. This paper depicts how child sexual abuse damages the social development of a child. An abused child may become a criminal in his or her later life. This paper also suggests how the parents should treat their children, especially how they can teach their children to control their emotional feelings. In proper parenting, love, care and awareness are important factors which help in developing a child’s psychological condition. Child sexual abuse may harm his or her normal mental and psychological growth. In this paper child sexual abuse and its harmful effects are described from social perspective. Social development is seriously hampered due to child sexual abuse. Researchers’ tried to reveal facts in regard to child sexual abuse and to focus on the causes and effects of this problem. A sexually abused child, especially an abused female child, becomes frightened and feels disgust to having sex in her later life.

Key words: Sexual abuse of child, social development, parenting, society, timid, introvert, meek.

Sexual Abuse of Children


Child sexual abuse is a common problem in almost every country of the world. People related to the study of child abuse claim that unreported child sexual abuse occurs even in the developed countries like the UK, the United States, Canada and most other European countries. Furthermore, researchers argue that this rate of child sexual abuseis extremely high in underdeveloped and developing countries of the third world. The effects and consequences of child sexual abuseare far more terrific than one can imagine. A child that has been abused sexually bears the effects of this abuse throughout his/her whole life. Children who have been abused in their childhood turn into replicators who mirror those obnoxious behaviors in their later life more viciously. Among the nonaggressive signs and symptoms which grow in a child in response to ill-treatment and exploitation during childhood, a range of pessimistic personality traits such as lowered personality, lack of confidence and submissiveness are the most notable ones. Referring to the negative impacts of child sexual abuse, Dr. Kirsten (2010), a professor of Psychiatry at King’s College London, says, “A history of maltreatment is related to negative impacts throughout the lifespan, as victimized children are more vulnerable to repeated abuse and are more likely to experience poor physical and mental health in adulthood” (p. 3). The question which arises here is how child sexual abuseor mistreatment affects a child’s social growth. The answer of this question partly depends on the theory of socialization which foretells that a child’s social growth is greatly affected and influenced by its interactive affiliation with the vicious agents of socialization. Secondarily, we have to depend on the psychodynamic theories in order to identify how an abuse and mistreatment shape a child’s psychology.  

Background of this Study

These later life replications of children violent behaviors, along with nonaggressive impacts of sexual abuse, essentially predict greater overwhelming impacts on the society. Whereas the nonaggressive effects turn a grownup child into a static, unproductive and good-for-nothing burden of the society, the effects which are violent in nature change him/her into a grown-up devil, who subconsciously wants to treat the society in the same way he/she once was treated during his or her early days. Child abuse harmfully affects a child’s social growth, because if the child is raised in unsociable environment without love, care and awareness that children deserve that child will have poor social skills. In some cultures, it is thought that cruel punishment is a method of child’s social discipline, but “a child may view punishment as an endorsement of aggression and force, and learn only that a large person has power over a smaller one” (Carlson, 2009, p. 2).  Such types of punishments can lead to the encouragement of “counter-aggression”, “feelings of resentment”, and “deep humiliation”. Most of the ruthlessly punished children may grow up having uncaring attitudes towards others’ pain.

 Any type of abuse harmfully affects a child’s social growth because the child becomes disconnected from society. Although these are the most frightening realities of child abuse, there are hopes as well. Evidence exposes that profound speculative knowledge and insight into the constructs of child sexual abusecan help respective people and authorities come up withinterference programs to deal with this problem. Indeed, child maltreatment negatively affects a child’s social improvement, and there is a need to set up practical solutions and precautionary measures to eliminate the problem.

Theoretical Perspectives on Child Abuse: a Psychoanalytical Focus

There are various theoretical perspectives which can impart significant insights to the antagonistic relationship between an abused child and the society. Though various theorists have defined this relationship from different perspectives, the psychoanalytical perspective of child sexual abuseappears to be the most convenient and the most effective in explaining the impacts and consequences of child sexual abuseon the society. A psychoanalytical perspective necessarily depends on the socio-psychological theory of a child`s development to clarify child sexual abuseand its impacts on the child. Child sexual abuse wasformerly considered as a straight creation of parental psychopathology. However, researchers’ further examination of this area has prompted the appearance of newer determinants behind the incident of child sexual abusein human society. Psychodynamic theorists try to look deeper into the psychological nature of the impacts on children. This viewpoint is related to a child’s insight and explains all types of the child`s behavior formed by the environment of his/her childhood period. Such approach to child sexual mistreatmentassist in the detection of newer determinants, both visible and invisible, such as settings, surroundings, husband-wife relationship, parent-child relationship, close-relatives-child relationship, etc. which are supposed to contribute to the social development of a child.

A Psychoanalytical Approach: How Abuse Affects Child’s Social Development

According to the psychodynamic approach, a child’s character starts developing when the child is born. However, the most vital stages of the character development are during childhood. Thus, childhood experience of maltreatment disgustingly hinders the psychological growth as well as social development of a child. Indeed, Sigmund Freud’s theory of psychodynamic personality development is widely used to explain this phenomenon. According to Freud, there are three components of personality, such as Id, Ego and Superego; they are the most significant traits of a child’s development as a social being. A child receives the Id when he/she is born. Explaining the role of the Id in a child’s personality, Daniel K. Lapsley and Paul C. Stey (2011), professors of the University of Notre Dame, state “the Id is the oldest and most primitive psychic agency, representing the biological foundations of personality…It is the reservoir of basic instinctual drives, particularly sexual (libidinal) drives, which motivate the organism to seek pleasure” (p. 1). Apart from the Id, the other two, Ego and Superego, can be considered as, more or less, two social constructs of a child personality. The Ego is the “modification of the id that emerges as a result of the direct influence of the external world…the “executive” of the personality in the sense that it regulates libidinal drive energies so that satisfaction accords with the demands of reality” (p. 1). In a normal setting, the ego part of a child’s personality is assisted by his/her spontaneous communication with his/her parents and others in the social surroundings. In return, the child becomes rational by internalizing rules, norms and regulations of the society.

Anyhow, if the balanced relationship among these components is broken, then growth of a man’s social personality becomes abnormal. When a child is maltreated, these two social constructs (or components) of the child’s personality are largely affected. The child becomes either timid, which means that the ego fails to rely on his or her ability to face a particular situation, or aggressive. This aggressiveness means that the child`s ego has developed a standard that makes the child rely on his/her bodily strength instead of the rules. The Superego of an abused child is affected in such a way that either it cannot create any ideal or it creates negative ideals such as lifelong abhorrence of a particular person or people such as parents, teachers, etc. or any system such as church or school, etc. Afterwards, the results of the malformed Id, Ego and Superego are tremendous. An abused child will suffer from submissiveness, lack of self-confidence, individuality, personality, courage, etc. For instance, a sexually abused girl, perhaps, will show her abhorrence of having sex throughout her life. On the other hand, a boy, who was punished and rebuked by his teachers, will supposedly have a lifelong hatred for school, education and learning. Indeed, these indications become amplified in his social personality. Even various reports demonstrate that abused children pose a threat of becoming juvenile offenders.


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