The intra-familial or incestuous child abuser is mostly an adult male. He may be a father, grandfather, stepfather, or mother’s live-in boyfriend. But some mothers or other women caregivers also molest children, though their percentage is significantly low. The child sexual abuse is mostly secretive; sometimes done through misuse of power and mental duress. The use of threats, tricks, bribes, or misuse of parental or caregiver roles under the guise of sex education are some of the typical tactics applied by the molesters.
A resisting child victim could be threatened with removal from the family. The threats may include: that the victim would be blamed for hurting the family in case of perpetrator’s arrest; or, that a sibling of theirs would be molested if they did fulfill the offender’s wishes. In most cases of intra-familial abuse, the offender would act needy or emotionally troubled due to marital problems to convince the victim they need their attention and support.
Sexual abuse usually happens over extended periods of time, and sometimes extends into the victim’s adulthood. Through deceit and intimidation, the victim child is made to feel responsible for the sexual acts and for keeping it secret. This secret is mostly kept between the victim and the offender, or within the close family.
There are situations when a family with children may be more vulnerable to sexual abuse. A single-parent having full-time employment could end up giving a child in the hands of untrustworthy caregivers for want of time. A child feeling abandoned or alone due to family disputes is particularly vulnerable to molestation, be it intra-familial or otherwise, because such children are easy to manipulate.
In some cases, male predators seek out single-mothers for victimizing their children. In some cases, the offender might have a genuine attraction to the woman, but he also has a hidden agenda of grooming her children for sexual abuse.
But this doesn’t mean that children are vulnerable only in certain kinds of families. It’s true that children in some families are more vulnerable but they are not totally safe in any kind of family. Children whose needs for affection and attention are not being fulfilled are particularly vulnerable, but no children are totally safe because adults have power over them.
What to Do If You Catch A Molester?
Sexual abuse is a serious crime. If you believe someone has molested your child or any other child, do not try to handle it yourself! When caught, a predator will always say that it was their “first time” and he will also promise never to do it again. But he will be lying and he is good at it. Call the police and report abuse! The best thing one could for one’s own child and for the other children (past or potential victims of the predator) is to report the crime to the authorities. If a molester has preyed on your child, he will do it to others too unless he’s stopped.