Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (4)

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Local and foreign consumers and organizers of the sex industry are also perpetrators of child prostitution. Every year, tourists and locals, overwhelmingly men, create a huge demand for children and adolescents. This demand is often met by sending, abducting and/or selling local children from economically disadvantaged areas to various cities under the disguise of work.
This prostitution is often organized and run by local men and women who profit from this exchange. Refugee children are among those particularly at risk of being subjected to exploitation due to their economic instability and physical displacement. Increasingly younger girls are particularly at risk because they are thought, by the perpetrators to have fewer diseases (particularly HIV/AIDS) than older girls.
Staff and caregivers in institutions, and school-teachers are also perpetrators of sexual abuse and exploitation of children. The vulnerability of displaced children in institutions or living with foster families increases the risk of such occurrences.
Institutions can be depersonalized and dehumanizing. Children may have little opportunity to form healthy attachments and therefore may have no one to turn to in distress. Some teachers and others in authority also exploit children. However, the sensitivity around recognizing and reporting such problems often allows them to be overlooked and children to remain unprotected in such circumstances.
Neighbours, acquaintances and others in their own community also perpetuate sexual violence and rape during and after situations of armed conflict. Cases of abuse and violence by friends and neighbours, with whom the victim had previously lived in perfect harmony, illustrate the extreme societal and individual disruption caused by armed conflict. The general loss of accountability for behaviour in times of upheaval, along with a breakdown of traditional and communal values, leads to a general incapacity of victims and perpetrators to separate acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Other Children may also be perpetrators. In situations where HIV and AIDS are prevalent, it is not uncommon to find adolescent boys seeking younger sexual partners and where coercion is used on an unwilling girl, this should be seen as a form of sexual exploitation. However, it is important not to lose sight of both the potentially traumatic effect on the victim and the needs of the perpetrator, who may himself/herself be a victim of sexual abuse or exploitation and who is entitled to help and support.
What are the impacts of sexual exploitation?
Individual impact: the effects of sexual exploitation on the individual child can be profound, and can be experienced on several levels:
The physical consequences can include genital injury, sexually transmitted diseases and the contraction of HIV/AIDS. There is evidence that adolescent girls are more likely to contract HIV from a single sexual contact than are adult women. Unwanted pregnancy can have further consequences including, for example, stigmatization and unsafe abortions;
Emotional consequences can include the trauma of violent exploitation(which can have effects broadly similar to other traumatic experiences). In some societies, a sense of shame at having been violated, and especially if pregnancy results, can have severe consequences for the child;
Social consequences can include ostracism by the family or community -especially if the child is disbelieved or blamed for what has happened. In some cultures, sexual exploitation will have a negative impact on the child’s chances of marrying;
Secondary trauma can result if the incident is handled insensitively. Examples include aggressive interviewing of the child (e.g. by the police), insensitive medical examination, or those in authority disbelieving the child or even blaming him/her for the incident. These can all inflict further trauma.
Individuals who are perpetrators should desist from such despicable acts that invariably bring moral decadence to our society due to the negative impact this sexual exploitation and abuse has caused. Our girls no longer have trust in men, the lack of trust has grown deeper to the extent that a pat on the back of a lady by the man might send a wrong signal to the lady, thinking that the man wants to sexually exploit or abuse her.
Sexual Exploitation and abuse has degraded our humanity as other vices followed it, such as maltreatment after being sexually exploited and abuse, or even killing the victim in a bid to shut her down.
We’ll explore the rape victims who kept quiet and refused to open up due to the disgrace, humiliation, criticism, condemnation and stigmatization they’ve received and even accused of being the cause, that they allowed themselves to be raped, probably because of their dressing or visitation to the man’s house, but things have gone beyond the lady being the seducer, but a prey being hunted anytime the predator wants it. God help us that none of our ladies, sisters shouldn’t fall victim.

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