When we see accounts of child molestation on the news, perhaps we feel vulnerable and frightened. Can anything be done to protect our children? We ask ourselves, “How can anyone use a child for sexual gratification?” Even though occurrences of child sexual abuse may disgust us, the practice is still rampant. It is estimated that 12-24 million women in the United States have a history of incest. We can protect our children by learning the dynamics of molest, learning the history of molest, and becoming informed of the reasons people tolerate the abuse of children.
The law that determines if abuse to a child constitutes molest reads as the following: “Any act which annoys or molests a child under the age of 18 and which is motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children, which act would reasonably be expected to disturb, irritate, trouble, or offend the victim, whether or not the victim is so affected; not touching of the victim is necessary.”
I wonder what defines a “natural” sexual interest in children, but that is probably my issue as a help professional. Let us explore, then, what molest could include. Molest can be in the form of voyeurism. In this case, the abuser can engage in acts such as peeking through the shower curtain or watching a child dress. It also includes showing a minor pornography or adult sex toys. Molest includes encouraging or forcing a child to touch an adult sexually, seeing adult nudity, and allowing the child to observe sexual intercourse. In addition, molest also includes the actual touching of the child. However, the touching is not necessarily limited to penetration of an orifice. Other forms of touching can also be deemed inappropriate. One must remember that molest is not always in a physical state. Emotional and psychological incest also exist.
More than two million cases of molest are reported each year in the United States. Unless the perpetrator is caught in the act, the child must report the crime. Who is responsible for preventing this heinous crime? Is the child then the responsible party to prevent the rape of a child?