Virtually every day, the media reports an incident or more related to sexual abuse, most often involving a child or an adolescent. Nationally and internationally, the incidence of sexual abuse keeps soaring. It is so alarming and disheartening to hear about the various atrocities being committed in the form of sexual abuse. Rape, sexual victimization, sexual assault, incest and so many forms of sexual abuse are being perpetrated on children and adolescents with few perpetrators of such dastardly acts being brought to justice while the victims have to live with the imprint of the experience for the rest of their lives. An unfortunate fact that exists is that child sexual abuse is most often perpetrated by family members, relatives, neighbours or others known to the child. Sadly, many Nigerian parents choose to deny or ignore this fact.
The victims of child sexual abuse are the children and adolescents. This chapter focuses on the background of the study, statement of the problem, the objectives of the study, significance of the study, research questions and hypotheses, scope of the study/ delimitations as well as the operational definition of terms.
1.1 Background of the study
The definition of child sexual abuse is broader than most people realize and is often a traumatic experience for children and teens, which is a criminal offense punishable by the law in many societies(Townsend and Rheingold, 2013).Child sexual abuse as formulated by the 1999 World Health Organization Consultation of Child Abuse Prevention refers to "Child sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activities that he or she does not fully comprehend, is unable to give informed consent to, or for which the child is not developmentally prepared and cannot give consent, or that violates the laws or social taboos of society. Child sexual abuse is evidenced by this activity between a child and an adult or another child who by age or development is in a relationship of responsibility, trust, or power, the activity being intended to gratify or satisfy the needs of the other person which may include: the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful sexual activity; exploitative use of a child in prostitution or any unlawful sexual activity; and the exploitative use of a child in a pornographic performance and materials" among others.
Similarly, Exposito and Field(2016) also opined that the range of abusive behaviours that are perpetrated by offenders include: using coercion, deceptive threats, bribes and other types of trickery to force the child to perform sexual acts, touching of the child's body or genitals, causing a child fear, confusion or distress, coercing and/or forcing a child to view a person's genitals and/or touch those body parts, coercing and/or forcing a child to pose, undress or perform acts of a sexualized nature on film or in person, making threats or using trickery or blackmailing a child and forcing them to take part of sexual abuse, making offensive or insultive remarks of a sexual nature. Others include: coercing and/or forcing a child to look at pictures of adult sex acts in magazines, photographs and films and making humiliating comments about a child's actions or body using sexualized language.