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Child sexual abuse

Abuse often difficult to notice because the abuser does not use his fists but uses seduction, threats and blackmail instead.

The predator

The sexual predator of a child is not necessarily a stranger, on the contrary! He can be a member of the family (a parent, a stepparent, a grandparent, a brother or a sister) or someone outside of the family but known (a friend, a neighbour, someone who looks after the child, a teacher, a coach).

Those who sexually molest children make sure that children are very afraid to tell and it will take tremendous efforts to make them talk about it. So don’t rely on the fact that your child will spontaneously tell you about it if he is abused.

The victim

No matter which path the sexual abuse takes, the child always develops negative feelings and thoughts. The victim child lives in confusion and anxiety: he was betrayed, his landmarks are gone, and yet he feels responsible for what is happening to him and for the family drama that he unwillingly caused.

Even a two or three years old who does not know that this sexual activity is “wrong” will develop issues because of his incapacity to face this over-stimulation.

A child who is abused for a long-time generally develops poor self-esteem, the feeling of being useless and an abnormal conception of sexuality. The child can withdraw and become unable to trust adults.

The notion of consent

Any sexual activity without consent is a crime and represents a sexual aggression.

For children aged 11 and under consent does not exist.

From 12 years old and over, the notion of consent is applicable. However, a child that age does not consent if he:

  • Refuses
  • Is paralysed by fear
  • Is afraid to react
  • Has no other choice but to do what the molester says
  • Is victim of physical violence, blackmail, intimidation, manipulation and threats.

Incitation and sexual contacts are not criminal if they involve two teenagers aged 12 years old and over and:

  • Consent to sexual activities
  • Have no more than two years between them;
  • Are not in a situation of authority or dependency with each other (ex: babysitter, coach, etc.).

Between 14 and 17 years old, incitation and sexual contacts are criminal if:

  • The other person is in a situation of authority (teacher, principal, police, etc.)
  • The other person is in a position of trust
  • One of the two persons is in a position of dependency
Hints to look for

Children change when they are molested. Try to find out more if your child shows:

  • An unusual interest or avoidance for anything sexual;
  • Sleep problems, nightmares;
  • Depression or withdrawal;
  • A seductive attitude;
  • The conviction that his body is dirty or broken or the conviction that something is not right with his genitalia;
  • Refusal to go to school, delinquency;
  • Secrecy;
  • A theme of sexual aggression in drawings, games, fantasies;
  • Unusual aggressiveness;
  • A suicidal behaviour, other major behavioural changes.

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