What is Sexual Abuse?

Teen sexual abuse occurs when a teenager is abused in a way that can be considered sexual in nature. Teenage sexual abuse most commonly occurs when an adult in a position of power takes advantage of his or her authority to coerce a teen into sexual activity. However, teen sexual abuse does occur between teenagers, often when one wants to display power over another. Even though the victim may be a teenager, if she or he is under the age of 18, it is considered child sexual abuse when the perpetrator is an adult of at least 18 years of age.

Date rape is a form of sexual abuse. It is important to realize that sex involving threats, impaired judgment (due to alcohol or drugs) and coercion does not constitute consensual sex. Also, just because a drugged, drunk or scared person does not resist sex, it does not mean that he or she is not a victim of sexual abuse. Society is moving toward glamorizing rape, and saying that it is actually enjoyed. However, this is rarely the case, and teen sexual abuse in any form is a serious problem. And a crime.

Physical teen sexual abuse

Some child and teen sexual abuse is physical in nature. This means that actual physical contact is made, although it may not necessarily be intercourse. The sexual contact may or may not be painful. Some acts that are classified as sex acts, and that fall under the umbrella of teen sexual abuse include fondling the genital areas of a teenager, oral contact with genitals (either forcing the teen to perform oral sex or performing oral sex on the teenager), penetration with digits (such as fingers), and, of course, vaginal or anal intercourse. Additionally, forcing a teenager to masturbate in front of the perpetrator can be considered physical teen sexual abuse.

Non-physical teen sexual abuse

Sexual abuse does not need to involve physical contact or sexual intercoursebetween the perpetrator and the victim in order for it to be considered abuse. Exposure on the part of the perpetrator is considered sexual abuse. Additionally, voyeurism, which is basically being a “peeping tom,” is considered teen sexual abuse. Some sexual abuse perpetrators set up recorders in teenagers’ rooms so that they can record and watch them. This is a form of teen sexual abuse. Child pornography is also considered non-physical sexual abuse. It is important to note that degrading sexual comments can also be considered a form of teen sexual harassment, if not teen sexual abuse.

Who is most affected by teen sexual abuse?

While females seem to be sexually abused as teenagers more than males, race, economic status and culture do not appear to play a role in the likelihood of being victimized by sexual abuse. And it is difficult to get information on male teen sexual abuse due to the reluctance of males to report being abused sexually. Additionally, our society puts a premium on sexual activity in males, and so male teenagers who may have had non-consensual sex are encouraged to be proud of their sexual activity after the fact.

What is Sexual Abuse? Main Source Material:

  • “Understanding Child Sexual Abuse,” American Psychological Association. [Online.]