Skilled at manipulation they can easily keep their victims frightened, confused, and self-blaming. Victims tend to be manipulated into feeling responsible to take care of the abuser's feelings and to believe that his suffering is greater than their own.
They require their victims not to tell other people about what has occurred, and threaten dire consequences should the secrecy be broken.
They use many behaviors that turn mothers and children against each other and that sow other types of divisions among family members.They are frequently effective at getting the family to focus on the victim, or on some other family member, as the target of all of their negative attention, thereby distracting the focus from the abuse.
Positive public image
Abusers are typically well thought of in their communities. They may be professionally successful or socially popular, and may be involved in charitable or civic activities that make them appear outstandingly kind and responsible.
They manipulate individuals and systems with whom they come in contact to create negative impressions of their victims. Victims of of abuse face disbelief because "he's just not the type."
Discrediting of disclosures
Abusers characterize their victims as dishonest, as hysterical, and as vindictive when disclosures do get made. The incest perpetrator says, "She was angry at me because I wouldn't drive her to the store, and she told me she's get me back for it." They make the victim sound like a troubled, unstable individual.
Denial of responsibility
The abuser claims that they simply lose control when they act abusively. The child abuser claims that he lost control of his sex drive, perhaps blaming it on his wife by saying that she has not been giving him sex.
Incest perpetrators assert that the victim provoked their actions, and therefore they themselves are not responsible. He will say that a young child "seduced him" and "really wanted it."
Denial and minimization
If caught, they may appear remorseful, but justify their actions that they have the right to do what they did. The incest perpetrator may say, "The way I choose to run my relationship with my own child is nobody else's business."
When they do admit to their actions, they minimize them greatly and play down their negative consequences, insisting that no damage has actually been done. They easily lie to cover any actions that are discovered.
Incest perpetrators exercise a high degree of control over their victims and other family members through verbal abuse and other strategies. They believe in their right to use increasingly coercive tactics if they are not getting the obedience that they demand. They tend to alternate between periods of loving kindness and periods of harsh emotional abusiveness towards their victims. Incest perpetrators are often harsh and rigid disciplinarians.
'Grooming' Strategy of the Offender
Actions deliberately undertaken with the aim of befriending and establishing an emotional connection with a child, in order to lower the child's inhibitions in preparation for child sexual abuse. The grooming process includes building trust, bestowing favors, alienating others, demanding secrecy and violating boundaries
Child pornography images are often shown to the child as part of the child grooming process.
They may show pornography—videos or pictures—to the child, hoping to make it easy for the child to accept such acts, thus normalizing the behavior. They may simply talk about sexual topics. These are just some of the methods a child groomer might use to gain a child's trust and affection in order to allow them to do what they want. Hugging and kissing or other physical contact, even when the child doesn’t want it, can happen. To the groomer, this is a way to get close.
They might talk about problems normally discussed between adults, or at least people of the same age. Topics might include marital problems and other conflicts.
The child is given the inappropriate burden of protecting the offender, keeping the family together and keeping the abuse silent. This inappropriate burden often causes the child to accommodate the abuse by convincing herself that the relationship and actions are all right, because the offender is loved and respected by others. To cope with the situation the child accepts the context the offender has made, such as love, and keeps silent. This is referred to as the Accommodation Syndrome.
incest perpetrators work to build trust and closeness during the early part of a relationship. They may lay the groundwork for years, working to build a special relationship with the intended victim, gradually breaking down her or his boundaries. The victim is often his favorite, to whom he gives particular kindness and attention, but often also particular harshness and control.
They are similarly often people who are identified as especially good with children. The victim is often quite attached to the abuser, because of the manipulation and the many positive-seeming periods in the abuser's behavior.
Behavioral Indicators Of Sexual Abuse
1. Excessive seductiveness
2. Role reversal, overly concerned for siblings
3. Massive weight change
4. Suicide attempts (especially adolescents)
5. Inappropriate sex play or premature understanding of sex
6. Threatened by physical contact, closeness
7. depression and social withdrawal.
8. criminal activity
10. self-destructive behavior, e.g.,
suicidal gestures, attempts, and successes and
Sexually abused children may manifest a range of symptoms, which reflect the specifics of their abuse and how they are coping with it.
Suspicion is heightened when the child presents with several indicators, particularly when there is a combination of sexual and nonsexual indicators. For example, a common configuration in female adolescent victims is promiscuity, substance abuse, and suicidal behavior. Similarly, the presence of both behavioral and physical symptoms increases concern. However, the absence of a history of such indicators does not signal the absence of sexual abuse.
Children victimized by sexual abuse are more often affected cognitively and emotionally, symptomized through their behavior.
Child abuse will have a variety of effects on children, depending on the child’s age, gender, the type of abuse, duration of abuse,
who the offender is, degree of violence used, etc. The symptoms the child shows will depend further on their age, their own mental
health, coping mechanisms, social support and their gender. Though girls are more vulnerable to sexual abuse than boys are, male victims
are far from exceptional.
is generally manifested differently with males and females. Females tend to internalize their anger, even turning it onto themselves. At times their anger turns into depression. Males tend to externalize their anger, as they are socialized to be more aggressive. Their anger turns into blaming others or destructive behavior against people and things.
GENDER AND SEXUALITY
issues are particularly prevalent among boys because of homophobia, or fear of homosexuality. Most offenders are men, and thus the boy victims fears they were either already homosexual to begin with, which is why they were chosen by the offender, or that they are now infected with homosexuality. Girls may behave pseudo-homosexually because they seek women for safety, again because most offenders are men, and this could result in eventual inappropriate sexual behaviors with other women. Boys who respond homosexually because of their abuse could be pseudo-homosexual as well.
POWERLESSNESS, or LEARNED HELPLESSNESS
occurs most often when the offender is close to the child and family, exerting power over the child. The child feels there is nothing they can do, thus they become compliant not only in the relationship, but often to other aspects of life.
Common effects of child sexual abuse are:
1. DISTRUST OF OTHERS AND THEMSELVES.
2. TERROR AND ANXIETY.
3. SHAME, GUILT, AND SELF-HATRED.
4. ALIENATION FROM THEIR BODIES.
5. ISOLATION AND WITHDRAWAL FROM PEOPLE AND ACTIVITIES.
6. POWERLESSNESS, DEPRESSION, AND EXTREME PASSIVITY.
8. OBSESSION WITH SEX OR COMPLETE AVERSION TO IT.
9. QUESTIONING THEIR SEXUALITY AND GENDER.
10. DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE, ABUSE, AND ADDICTION.
11. EATING AND SLEEPING DISORDERS.
12 PERFECTIONISM AND WORKAHOLISM.
13 MENTAL ILLNESS AND SUICIDE.
14 SEXUAL OFFENDING.