So far we have been talking about forced sexual relations between adults. But what hap­pens when the coercive behavior involves children? Child sexual abuse is defined as sex­ual behavior that occurs between an adult and a minor. One important characteristic of child sexual abuse is the dominant, powerful position of the adult or older teen that al­lows him or her to force a child into sexual activity. The sexual activity can include in-

appropriate touch, removing a child’s clothing, genital fondling, masturbation, digital penetration with fingers or sex toys, oral sex, vaginal and/or anal intercourse (Valente, 2005). These behaviors are all illegal because the child is not old enough or mature enough to consent to this behavior.

As straightforward as this seems, the definition of child sexual abuse can become fuzzy. For instance, do you consider sexual play between a 13-year-old brother and his 7-year-old sister sexual abuse? How about an adult male who persuades a 14-year-old fe­male to fondle his genitals? Or a mother who caresses her 2-year-old son? How about a 14-year-old-boy who willingly has sex with a 25-year-old woman? How would you define the sexual abuse of children? Personal definitions of sexual abuse affect how we perceive those who participate in this behavior (Finkelhor, 1984).

Подпись: incest Sexual contact between persons who are re-lated or have a caregiving relationship. Подпись:Подпись:Many researchers differentiate between child sexual abuse, which usually involves nonrelatives; pedophilia, which involves a compulsive desire to engage in sex with a par­ticular age of child; and incest, which is sexual contact between a child or adolescent who is related to the abuser. There are several types of incest, including father-daughter, father-son, brother-sister, grandfather-grandchild, mother-daughter, and mother-son. Incest can also occur between stepparents and stepchildren or aunts and uncles and their nieces and nephews. Sexual activity between a child and someone who is responsible for the child’s care (such as a babysitter) may also be considered incest, though definitions for incest vary from state to state.

Because most children look to their parents for nurturing and protection, incest in­volving a parent, guardian, or someone else the child trusts can be extremely traumatic. The incestuous parent exploits this trust to fulfill sexual or power needs of his or her own. The particularly vulnerable position of children in relation to their parents has been recognized in every culture. The incest taboo—the absolute prohibition of sex be­tween family members—is universal (Herman, 1981).

Sociologists suggest that social restrictions against incest may have originally formed to reduce role conflicts (Henslin, 2005). A parent who has a sexual relationship with his or her child will have one role (i. e., parent) that conflicts with another (i. e., lover), which can interfere with responsibilities. We must also understand, however, that definitions of incest vary cross-culturally. A tribal group in tropical Africa called the Burundi believe that a mother causes her son’s erectile dysfunction by allowing the umbilical cord to touch his penis during birth (Henslin, 2005). To rectify this situation, the mother must engage in sexual intercourse with the son. Although this practice may sound crazy to us, the culture of the Burundi supports this practice. The incest taboo still exists in this culture, but this practice is not viewed as incestuous behavior.

In the United States, we typically believe that father-daughter incest is the most common type, but research has shown that today the most common offenders are uncles and male first cousins (Henslin, 2005). Sibling incest also occurs and is more likely to occur in families in which there is a dominating father, a passive mother, and a dys­functional home life (Phillips-Green, 2002). Many siblings play sex games with each other while growing up, and there is some disagreement over whether this sex play be­tween siblings is traumatic. Some believe that it is not traumatic unless there is force or exploitation, whereas others believe that it may lead to long-term difficulties in both in­terpersonal and sexual relationships (Cyr et al., 2002; Daie et al., 1989).

Although the majority of offenders are male, some women do engage in incest. Mother-son incest is more likely to be subtle, including behaviors that may be difficult to distinguish from normal mothering behaviors (including genital touching; R. J. Kelly et al., 2002). Men who have been sexually abused by their mothers often experience more trauma symptoms than do other sexually abused men.

Finally, it’s also important to mention that the increased time that children spend unsupervised on the Internet has given rise to a new type of child sexual abuse (Seymour et al., 2000). Online sexual predators lurk in chat rooms and post sexually explicit ma­terial on the Internet in hopes of making contact with children. Aggressive predators will dedicate much time to the development of relationships with vulnerable children and will try to alienate these children from their families. Some predators have even bought plane tickets for children to set up meetings (Seymour et al., 2000).