Etiological Factors and Theories of Sexual Abuse

Etiological Factors and Theories of Sexual Abuse

Bhavna Mukund (Amity Institute of Behavioural and Allied Sciences, India) and Bijoy Kumar Dehuri (Independent Researcher, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7036-3.ch016
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This chapter describes how sexual abuse could be simply put as an unwanted sexual activity, with the perpetrators using force and/or making threats or taking advantage inability of victims to give consent. Sexual abuse is an extremely common and very serious problem affecting millions of people each year all over the world, but unfortunately in most countries there has been very little research conducted on the problem. Rationally speaking, to prevent or stop social evils like sexual abuse, the scientific method would be arguably one of the most powerful methodology in critical thinking and towards this, understanding causes of sexual abuse is extremely important. In this backdrop, this chapter addresses various psycho social factors, environmental factors and theories of sexual abuse to understand and appreciate the causes of sexual abuse. This concludes that with this aid in developing appropriate legal and policy reforms and interventions that would work on strategy to prevent sexual abuses in the society.
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Etiology Of Sexual Abuse

  • Early Childhood Environments: There is evidence to suggest that sexual abuse is a learnt behavior in some adults. Watkins and Bentovim (1992) had noted that around one in five sexually abused boys continued in later life to become sexual abuser themselves. Such experiences may lead to a pattern of behavior where the man regularly justifies being violent, denies doing wrong, and has false and unhealthy notions about sexuality. Borowsky et al (1997) had found that Childhood environments that are physically violent, emotionally unsupportive and characterized by competition for scarce resources have been associated with sexual violence. Sexually aggressive behavior in young men, for instance, has been linked to witnessing family violence, and having emotionally distant and uncaring fathers.

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