Does Sexual Abuse Usually Occur Just Once?

Your daughter tells you that Uncle Charley has touched her bottom and she doesn't like to sit on his lap anymore! Should you believe your child? Yes.

Your initial reaction is to confront Uncle Charley, who tells you that your child is making it up and even if it did happen, he will never do it again.

He promises he will never ever touch another child inappropriately and you want to believe him. Should you believe him? Probably not.

Perhaps abuse will occur just once with a certain child, but most pedophiles will just cast their eye for a more amiable victim. It is usually not the first time the molester has done this. Nor will it be the last time, even if the child convinces the molester to leave him or her alone. Offenders who have been caught tell researchers that nobody does it just once.

This is a compulsive act which stems from compulsive thought patterns. Pedophiles have repetitive sexual fantasies involving children usually in one age group or gender. Some may be able to contain those fantasies and thought patterns and not act upon them. and they do not become offenders. The perpetrator feels compelled to abuse on a regular basis, especially when things are not going well in their life, or they are under stress. Most offenders abuse more than one hundred times before they are caught. Many will re-offend after serving their time in custody.

Sex abusers will continue the same sick patterns until they are physically stopped or the fear of intervention on the part of the molester becomes very evident. They may be abusing or grooming more than one child at the same time. For instance, if a teacher is caught and arrested for molesting a student in his/her classroom, the chances are high that they have tried to molest others in the class and other classes they have taught.

It is the same for those who commit incest: very rarely is it just one victim. The molestations sometimes continue for months or years starting first with a good touch such as backrubs or tickling. But then it escalates into a touch that is inappropriate. The relationship is usually broken off only when it is discovered accidentally or when a child tells an adult who believes them.

Unfortunately, parents or other adults often think the child is lying, particularly if the abuser is someone familiar to the family or a member of the family. It is a rare exception for a child to make up stories about having been sexually abused. Due to lack of understanding, many parents may blame and shame the victim, especially if the abuse has gone on for some time.

It is not the child's fault! As a caring adult and the protector or your child and others who might have been affected and most certainly will, if the offender is not stopped, you must tell the proper authorities. It is important to your child that they see that you will believe them and act on their word. It is also important to the community that the sexual abuse, no matter how seemingly innocent the offender may try to make it out, is documented. Pick up the phone now and call the police; they will give you and your child guidance and support.

© Judy H. Wright, Parent Educator, www.artichokePress.com

This article has been written by Judy H. Wright, a parent educator and PBS consultant. You will find a full listing of books, tele-classes, and workshops listed at www.ArtichokePress.com. You have permission to use the article providing full credit is given to author. She may be contacted at 406-549-9813 or [email protected]

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