Thesis

Sexual abuse of boys : incidence, characteristics, and impact : with implications for intervention

This study examines the incidence, characteristics, and impact of sexual abuse on boys. Implications for intervention are also examined. The study develops and utilizes a compilation of existing written material on the sexual abuse of boys. For this thesis, I surveyed and analyzed a variety of written material including journal artic1es, books, and pamphlets. The search focused on material pertaining to boy victims of noncommercial sexual exploitation and their short term reactions to the abuse. I interviewed ten professionals who work in the field of child sexual abuse to determine if their clinical impressions challenged the existing body of written material on the sexual abuse of boys. Examination of written material indicates that cases involving boys are less often discovered than cases involving girls because of less attentiveness by professionals and less willingness on the part of boys to report their abuse. Boys are victims in one fifth to one third of child sex abuse cases. Boys are sexually abused by male and female perpetrators who either are family members or are not family members. Perpetrators gain sexual access by: (a) using threat or violence; (b) using interpersonal power derived from superior age, status, or familial position; (c) misrepresenting moral standards; (d) playing on the boys' need for attention or approval; or (e) using bribes. Physical trauma resulting from sexual abuse includes bruises lacerations, and genital infections. Emotional impact varies and includes reactions such as guilt, depression, fear, social withdrawal, acting-out behaviors, somatic complaints, sleep and eating disturbances, and confusion over sexual identity.

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