It is frightening to realize how widespread sexual abuse is in our society and yet how strong the denial of it is.1 "Don't waste your time talking about what an aberration it is and how unlikely it is " just get to the place where you understand that one of the things humans do is have sexual contact with children,"" says [Gavin] de Becker, author of Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane).2 Sex with children is a crime. It has long been illegal for adults to have sex with children in the U.S. But [thanks to a 1994 federal law, it is also] illegal for Americans to travel overseas to have sex with children under 18.3.
Child sexual abuse first became an issue when Freud (pic) theorized that most cases of hysteria in women have been caused by "premature sexual experiences- [Sigmund Freud, "The Aetiology of Hysteria,"" 1896]. Studies on child molestation began in the 1920s while the first national estimate of cases came out in 1948. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act was enforced in 1974 along with the creation of the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect. The National Child Abuse Coalition was formed in 1979 to pressure the congress to pass and implement laws.4.
The Sexual Assault Resource Center reports that one in three girls and one in five boys will be sexually assaulted by the time they are 16 years old [John N. Briere, Child Abuse Trauma (Newbury Park, CA: Sage Publications, 1992); Diana E. Russell, The Secret Trauma: Incest in the Lives of Girls and Women (New York: Basic Books, Inc., 1986)],5, i [though] fewer than 10 percent of child sexual abuse cases are reported to authorities.6 [A 2001 University of Pennsylvania] study estimated that in the United States, 325,000 children a year were subjected to sexual exploitation, including prostitution, use in pornography and molestation.7 "According to Unicef, a million children are forced each year into pornographic productions that generate $20 billion in sales,"" [Swiss Justice Minister Ruth Metzler] said.