Is inappropriate touching considered child sexual abuse?
Sometimes people can make us feel uncomfortable just by being around them. Whether it’s the long hug, unwanted touch, or look they give, it can be confusing—especially to children. Because this area can be confusing for many people, here are some examples of inappropriate touching:
- Being groped
- Having someone rub your thighs
- Being forced to sit on someone’s lap
- Having your buttocks grabbed or rubbed
- Having your breasts touched
- Having your private parts fondled
When people think of child sexual abuse they often assume that intercourse had to have occurred; however, this is not true. Unwanted touching such as groping and touching of private parts is considered child sexual abuse. Additionally, being subjected to pornography or forced to take nude photographs is child sexual abuse, as is oral and anal sex.
Sadly, children are often intimidated, threatened, or they feel guilty, which is why they often don’t tell anyone about being touched inappropriately by a coach, leader at church, teacher, Boy Scout troop leader or member, or by any other adult or child. Additionally, many children are confused about what happened and whether it is or isn’t considered sexual abuse.
What children and their parents need to know is that abusers often start out with groping and inappropriate touching—coercing children into it. Sometimes children don’t even know that sexual behavior has occurred until the abuser graduates to the next level and it is more obvious, such as asking the child to touch the abuser’s private parts or engage in a sexual activity.
Just because inappropriate touching doesn’t involve intercourse, doesn’t mean that it is harmless. In fact, many children have been emotionally scarred for life by being touched by someone against their will. To learn about preventing child abuse and what steps to take if abuse has occurred, please order a copy of our free book, When the Unthinkable Happens: Your Guide to Florida Child Abuse Claims.