Chapter

Child Sexual Abuse

John E. B. Myers

in Child Protection in America

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780195169355
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199893348 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195169355.003.0005
Child Sexual Abuse

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Sexual abuse of children is a common problem. This chapter describes the prevalence and harmful effects of sexual abuse. It traces the long tradition of skepticism about women and children who alleged sexual assault. Despite skepticism in pre-1970 professional writing, efforts were made to protect children from sexual abuse, and these early efforts are described. In the late 1970s, sexual abuse emerged as a major social issue, spurred by groundbreaking research by David Finkelhor, Vincent DeFrancis, and Diana Russell. This chapter ends with discussion of two late 20th century phenomena that baffled experts and captivated the public: sexual abuse in preschools and allegations of widespread ritual abuse of children.

Keywords: child sexual abuse; scepticism about victims; David Finkelhor; Vincent DeFrancis; Diana Russell; sexual abuse cases; ritual child abuse

Chapter.  10686 words.  Illustrated.

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