Sexual Abuse Disclosures
FACT: Elliot and Briere (19943) found that 75% of children did not disclose within a year of the first incident, and 18% waited more than five years.
FACT: Sorenson and Snow (19914) found that almost three-quarters of children studied did not reveal abuse when first questioned.
Adolescents who disclose may be wracked with guilt, fear, confusion, and anxiety. If adults invalidate the youth's disclosure, the anxiety is intensified. And even if adults do believe, often the threats the offender made to the child in order to keep the secret actually come true: the family splits apart or is divided; the offender is removed from the home (when the perpetrator is a family member), thereby splitting the family further; the youth's world begins to fall apart. If there are no supports and effective intervention of the sexual abuse, adolescents will retract sexual abuse disclosures.
According to Summit (19835): The lie "confirms adult expectations that children cannot be trusted. It restores the precarious equilibrium of the family. The children learn not to complain. The adults learn not to listen" (p.188).
Sexual abuse steals childhood away from children and youth. Regardless of whether the child/youth is male, female, able-bodied or disabled in some way, sexual abuse destroys the child's self-esteem and self-worth. They feel profound pain and experience overwhelming loss. The effects of sexual abuse clearly show that we pay dearly for this pain and loss, as sexually abused children run away, become addicted to drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, and may go on to sexually abuse other children and youth.
As a society, we must set our biases aside. We owe it to our children and youth to believe and understand them when they disclose sexual abuse. And when we do receive sexual abuse disclosures from children, we need to the child or youth:
|Sexual Abuse Victims||Male Victims|
|Female Victims||Victims with Disability|
|Sex Abuse Disclosures|
|Sexual Abuse||Sexual Abuse Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Definition||Male Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Signs||Female Victims|
|Sexual Abuse Effects||Victims with Disability|
|Sexual Abuse Statistics||Sexual Abuse Disclosures|
|Abuse Headlines||History of Abuse|
|Sexual Abuse Signs||Child Abuse Stats|
|Sexual Abuse Effects||Emotional Abuse|
|Sexual Abuse Stats||Emotional Abuse Types|
|Sexual Abuse Victims||Emotional Abuse Signs|
|Male Victims||Emotional Abuse Effects|
|Victims w/ Disability||Emotional Abuse Stats|
|Sex Abuse Disclosures||Physical Abuse|
|Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Signs|
|Male Sex Offenders||Abuse & Discipline|
|Female Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Effects|
|Child Sex Offenders||Physical Abuse Stats|
|Adolescent Sex Offenders||Child Neglect|
|Incestuous Sex Offenders||Child Neglect Signs|
|Internet Sex Offenders||Child Neglect Effects|
|Child Abuse Law||Child Neglect Stats|
|Age of Majority||Poverty & Neglect|
|Duty to Report||Sexual Abuse|
|Abuse Intervention||Sexual Abuse Defined|
Sexual Abuse Disclosures
NOTE: Information pages on this site were based on material from the Canadian Red Cross RespectED Training Program. Written permission was obtained to use their copyrighted material on this site.
1 Elliot, D. & Briere, J. (1994). Forensic sexual abuse evaluations: Disclosures and symptomatology. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 12, 261-277.
2 Sorenson, T. & Snow, B. (1991) How children tell: The process of disclosure in child sexual abuse. Child Welfare League of America, 70, 3-15.
3 Elliot, D. & Briere, J. (1994). Forensic sexual abuse evaluations: Disclosures and symptomatology. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 12, 261-277.
4 Sorenson, T. & Snow, B. (1991) How children tell: The process of disclosure in child sexual abuse. Child Welfare League of America, 70, 3-15.
5 Summit, R. (1983) The child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome. Child Abuse and Neglect, 7 (2), 177-193.