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Long Term Effects Of Child Abuse Essay

Causes and Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect

2527 Words11 Pages

Child abuse is defined by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services as being, "Any recent act or failure to act on the part of a parent or caretaker which results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation"; or "An act or failure to act which presents an imminent risk of serious harm."(Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect 2015). Abuse can be divided into three different categories: physical, sexual, and mental. In our society, the act of abuse is a common factor in everyday life. Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children. One widely accepted estimate of sexual abuse is that one in four girls and one in eight boys…show more content…

There are many categories of sexual abuse, which include incest, pedophilia, exhibitionism, molestation, sex (statutory rape), sexual sadism, and child pornography. It is estimated that approximately three hundred thousand children are involved in child prostitution and pornography. Many times men or woman who abuse children were abused when they were young. In this way, abuse is very much a self-fulfilling prophesy, or circle problem. Historically, sexual abuse was not as much of a problem as it is in modern times. Incidences of sexual abuse are highest in urbanized, technologically advanced societies. We hold this to be self-evident because the basic need of sexual drive is denied a constructive outlet in modern society. In other cultures and times, prostitution was a valid form of employment, and this niche provided an integral outlet for connoisseurs of sex (ex. Nymphomaniacs.) Without this vent, men with sexual frustration may turn to the less reactive child as sexual prey. Due to the black market prostitution of children, a twelve-year-old boy can earn upwards of a thousand dollars per day selling himself on the streets of Los Angeles. Mental abuse of a child can involve several

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dren (18 percent). However, early sexual abuse may occur and not be documented until much later in life (Stein and Lewis, 1992).

In a recent review of studies reporting quantitative findings about the impact of sexual abuse of minors, Kendall-Tackett et al. (1993) found that sexually abused children were often more symptomatic than their nonabused counterparts in terms of fear, nightmares, general post-traumatic stress disorder, withdrawn behavior, neurotic mental illness, cruelty, delinquency, sexually inappropriate behavior, regressive behavior, running away, general problem behaviors, and self-injurious behavior. Estimates of sexually abused children diagnosed as meeting the DSM-III-R criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder range from 21 percent (Deblinger et al., 1989) to 48 percent (McLeer et al., 1988).4

Sexually abused children, particularly those abused by a family member, may show high levels of dissociation, a process that produces a disturbance in the normally integrative functions of memory and identity (Trickett and Putnam, in press). Many abused children are able to self-hypnotize themselves, space out, and dissociate themselves from abusive experiences (Kluft, 1985). In some clinical studies, severely abused children appear to be impervious to pain, less empathetic than their nonabused peers, and less able than other children to put their own suffering into words (Barahal et al., 1981, Straker and Jacobson, 1981).

Behavioral Consequences

Physical aggression and antisocial behavior are among the most consistently documented childhood outcomes of physical child abuse. Most studies document physical aggression and antisocial behavior using parent or staff ratings (Aber et al., 1990; Hoffman-Plotkin and Twentyman, 1984; Perry et al., 1983; Salzinger et al., 1984); other measures, such as child stories (Dean et al., 1986); or observational measures across a wide variety of situations, including summer camps and day care settings (Alessandri, 1991; Bousha and Twentyman, 1984; Howes and Eldredge, 1985; Howes and Espinosa, 1985; Kaufman and Cicchetti, 1989; Main and George, 1985; Trickett and Kuczynski, 1986; Walker et al., 1989). Some studies indicate that physically abused children show higher levels of aggression than other maltreated children (Hoffman-Plotkin and Twentyman, 1984; Kaufman and Cicchetti, 1989) although other studies indicate that neglected children may be more dysfunctional (Rohrbeck and Twentyman, 1986).

A prospective study comparing preschool children who were classified as physically harmed with those who were unharmed (Dodge et al., 1990) found that children with a history of physical harm were rated six months later as more aggressive by teachers and peers. These differences were not accounted for by the child's demographic or family background. Evidence