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Perpetrators of sexual abuse of children are men and women who are struggling with meeting their own needs with other adults, so they turn to children to get those needs met. Oftentimes, these are men or women who have themselves experienced a history of sexual, physical, and/or emotional abuse, and have never gotten help. Many professionals today believe that some of these perpetrators are hard wired to feel sexually attracted toward children or teenagers. Perpetrators of such violence and betrayal are usually known to the child, and often to his family. They engage in a process called grooming, where they offer special interest and gifts and attention to the child. Perpetrators are attuned to pick victims who appear to be vulnerable-they may appear different, they may come from a troubled family or an impoverished background. They may come from a family where there is little love available to them.
What is important to know is that it is never a child’s responsibility for being abused. It is never a child’s responsibility to end abuse, and oftentimes, because of the grooming, it is difficult for the child to code what is being done to him or her as abuse, as the perpetrator has told them that he or she cares about them.
So it is very confusing, to be told you are cared about, and then to be treated in a way that is hurtful and uncomfortable.
It is also important to know that any child who is abused sexually can fully heal and recover, with proper support, professional help, and connecting with other survivors.
Even those who perpetrate or who feel tempted to perpetrate can get help. Just because they are hard-wired or are struggling does not mean that help is not available to them to learn how to manage their feelings and attractions.
HIV/AIDS was rated as a major cause of child sexual abuse. There exist numerous social and cultural beliefs that influence the spread of HIV, Aids. The “HIV/Aids Virgin -Cure” also referred to, as the virgin cleansing myth is the belief that having sex with a virgin will cure or prevent a HIV infected person from developing AIDS. This particular myth is prevalent in South Africa and also in some parts of India and Thailand. The practice is believed to be the reason behind the high rates of child sexual abuse in South Africa, a country with the highest rates of rape and child defilement in the world. In Kibera, about 40% of the respondents explained that they believed in the common myth that men who are infected with HIV/Aids they could be cleansed off the virus if they have sexual intercourse with virgins. This false myth thus places children in a risky situation by making them more vulnerable since they do not have the right or physical strength to fight back such attackers.
The HIV/Aids scourge has exposed children more to sexual abuse since when their parents die the children are left orphans at an early age and this makes them easier targets of child labor and child prostitution in an attempt to fend for themselves. Their relatives also sexually exploit children when they seek accommodation in their homes. Men are also target young girls for sex so that they do not contract the HIV /Aids virus.
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