How Common Sexual Abuse Really Is and What We Should Do to Stop It

Being sexually abused can leave a person emotionally scarred for the rest of his or her life. It’s something that no one should have to go through. We should all take the necessary steps to ensure that sexual abuse is prevented and one of the first steps in solving the problem is learning about the extent of it first.

The Numbers Behind Sexual Abuse

According to the recent figures, there’s at least one American who’s sexually abused every 73 seconds. Out of those victims, one of them is a child every 9 minutes. To make matters worse, only a small fraction of the abusers actually end up in prison.

That’s not all. This is just a glimpse of the reality behind sexual abuse. In fact, there are a lot of other factors to consider as well. This is because perpetrators come in the most unexpected of forms. Some are family members, some are close friends, and some are even people tasked with taking care of others.

People also take advantage of their positions to commit the horrid act. According to data from, cases of patient abuse in hospitals do happen. At a local hospital in San Francisco, around 130 incidents have been reported in 2019.

The truth is that both men and women can be victims of sexual abuse. The perpetrators choose no victims. Even when faced with the threat of persecution and the criminal justice system, it’s still impossible to stop sexual abuse. What we can do at least is to help the victims get justice and ensure that the perpetrators suffer for their crimes

What to Do?

If you believe that you’ve been a victim of sexual abuse, you need to seek help immediately. Understandably, you might feel uncomfortable reaching out to people, which is why we suggest going to immediate family for help first. They’ll be sure to help you out in such cases.

Sexual abuse cases should be handled legally. This means after getting help from your relatives and opening up about the problem, you should find an attorney who can help you out with the matter.

Attorneys that handle sexual abuse cases will first try to get an account of what happened exactly. This helps them prove the claim in court. A hearing will follow after the initial investigation and these court hearings are usually a major ordeal for victims.

Although sexual abuse if a physical crime, the psychological impact it has on victims is tremendous. It’s hard to the point that they can’t stand to see the perpetrator without feeling scared or unsafe. As such, it’s important to seek psychological treatment as a means to control the trauma brought by the event.

With honest testimony and the right proof, the perpetrators can be held accountable for their crimes. The severity of the punishment usually lasts between 2-10 years and possibly even longer. In most cases, the perpetrators will be put on the sexual offenders’ registry as well.

How to Know If Someone Has Been Sexually Abused?

A lot of victims don’t open up about the problem out of fear or shame. It’s good to know some signs that can reveal whether a person has been sexually abused or not.

For children, signs of sexual abuse can manifest in physical and emotional forms. Physical signs you should look for are minor injuries such as cuts and bruises on the child’s body.  Your child might not immediately reveal these which is why you should look for the emotional signs first.

Children or teens who have been sexually abused are going to exhibit behavioral changes. They may seem depressed, anxious, and most importantly, they tend to avoid the people who’ve actually abused them. 

The manifestations of adults will remain more or less the same. However, since they are usually more emotionally strong, they tend to be more open and upfront about the incident.

What’s important is that you don’t force the testimony out of the victim. Be mindful that the incident is very traumatizing. Forcing victims to admit what happened only leads to them being more hurt or traumatized than they already are. It’s best to ease into the topic instead of forcing it on them.

Sexual abuse is a horrific crime that deserves no mercy. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse, then it’s a must that you seek help as soon as possible. It’s only right that the perpetrators get what they deserve because what they did could affect the victim for a lifetime.