a child‘s playground

 

There are two kinds of child abductions: parental child abduction and abduction or kidnapping by strangers. Unfortunately, both are often being downplayed by society, institutions and even authorities. If a child is abducted by a stranger, it very often results in a criminal or sexual act. But also abductions for pedophile rings are frequently disguised and underestimated. Among other things this is because powerful people from the upper class are at the very top of these rings (as we can see in Norway, Great Britain and Hollywood at the moment).

Sexual abuse of minors is not uncommon. Several statistics prove that sexual assaults occur far more often that most people are aware of. The alarming facts say the same: around 10% of child abuse is sexual abuse. On average, one in ten children is sexually abused worldwide. Rape of an adult is often considered a more frequent crime, but the child rape rate considerably higher. Almost 70% of reported sexual assaults occur with children under the age of 17. The majority of sexual assaults are not reported; only about 38% of the victims disclosure the fact.


Those who sexually assault children or juveniles are generally known to the victim. 90% of all sexual abuse cases occur within the victims circle of friends, acquaintances or family. Mostly it’s not just a one-off assault; if the abuser comes from the inner circle, then sexual assaults last three to eleven years on average. The „evil stranger“ is a rarity.


In South Africa, the country with the highest number of child rapes, a study of the union Solidarity Helping Hand indicated that a child is raped every three minutes. The basic attitude of South African men and young boys shows that there is not enough education and awareness within society. Every fourth man admits to having raped someone. 62% of boys above the age of 11 think that forcing someone to sex is not an act of violence. Additionally, a third of the boys believe that girls enjoy being raped. Another misbelieve of the uneducated population is that you can be cured of HIV/AIDS when having sexual intercourse with a virgin. This increases sexual assaults of young girls and benefits the spreading of the disease.


According to the Indian government, 53% of girls and boys in India, the country with the second-highest number of child rapes, have been victims of sexual abuse.


Though whoever thinks that sexual assaults and rapes of children especially occur in third world countries is mistaken! The UK and USA are included in the five countries with the highest number of child rapes. In 2000, Scotland Yard has reported that approximately 250.000 Brits are paedophiles – this means one in every 200 adults. In the USA, facts are likely terrifying: according to a study by the Children Assessment Centres, every fourth woman and every sixth men under the age of 18 have had their experience with sexual abuse. This means that there are no less than 42 million (already adult) victims of sexual assault.


The long-term effects of sexual child abuse are vast: depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and fear strengthen the addiction and violence potential. Due to their emotional trauma, abuse victims are more likely to slide into delinquency. The best example of this is that 50% of the offenders themselves have been victims of sexual abuse. Also, 80% of drug-addicted girls have been sexually abused in their childhood; 70% of prostitutes.


Sexual abuse of children can lead to lifelong consequences. Not only their possible potential is taken away, but also a chain of events and decisions is set in motion that will affect them throughout their entire life.


No matter what race, religion, nationality or social class, no matter if you live in Austria or South Africa, child abuse is on the daily agenda.



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© 2017 Anja Grundböck Photography.

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There is almost no empirical data of sexual child abuse cases by catholic clerics or other employees of the catholic church, but the estimated figures show that between 1 and 5 % of priests and deacons worldwide have been accused of sexual abuse of someone under the age of 18.

The United Nations call forced marriages a “modern form of slavery”. According to UNICEF, there are 720 million women and 156 million men today that have been forced to get married before their 18th birthday - approximately 250 million women even before their 15th birthday. High rates especially occur in southern Asia and Africa. The actual marriageable age differs from country to country. For example, in the US states of Kansas and Massachusetts, children have to at least be 12 years old. Child marriage often leads to sexual exploitation and violence towards the victims. Because girls are not allowed to refuse sexual intercourse or insist on birth control, they are at the mercy of health risks due to premature pregnancies and diseases.

The International Labour Organization estimates that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year. It is the third most lucrative criminal business after weapon- and drug smuggling.

Wars and armed conflicts increase sexual exploitation and over half of the rape victims in conflict zones are children; partly these numbers are even higher. For example, after WWII women and children were raped by allied soldiers in all occupation zones – often as a trade for groceries. Where there’s war, there’s sexual abuse on the daily agenda. 

Studies show that 1.8 million children are being forced into prostitution or pornographic acts. According to ECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) 12 billion US Dollars revenue are made every year through child prostitution and pornography. The offenders keep up the demand of an industry that booms in countries like Cambodia, the Philippines, Bulgaria or Romania – countries were poverty and the hope for a better life drives children into this line of "work".

In 2003, approximately 3 million pornographic images of children were invoked on the internet. As of December 2012, NCMEC’s (National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) child victim identification program has reviewed and analyzed more than 80 million child pornography images since it was created in 2002. Since child pornography is one of the fastest growing businesses online, with an estimated annual revenue of $3 billion, it’s clear that the number of data available on the internet increases rapidly. In most of the cases consumers are male and come from a good background and a higher social class where thorough internet knowledge is available. IT-experts, doctors and even police officers have easy access towards respective material.

According to experts, pedophiles explicitly look for sport clubs to get closer to children. But only very few clubs are aware of the dangers and their carelessness is alarming: studies have shown that sport clubs come in last behind churches, schools, boarding schools and other care facilities concerning the safety and pursuit of abuse.

Approximately 150 million girls and 73 million boys under the age of 18 have been victims of sexual abuse. It happens within the family, at school or their residential quarters, in jail or at work.

90% of all sexual abuse cases occur within the victims circle of friends, acquaintances or family. The „evil stranger“ is a rarity. What are you doing to protect your children?