Child-on-child sexual abuse

Child-on-child sexual abuse refers to a form of child sexual abuse in which a prepubescent child is sexually abused by one or more other children or adolescent youths, and in which no adult is directly involved. The term describes sexual activity between children that occurs without consent, without equality, or as a result of coercion. This includes when one of the children uses physical force, threats, trickery or emotional manipulation to elicit cooperation. In some instances, the initiator exploits the other child's naivety. Child-on-child sexual abuse is further differentiated from normative sexual play or anatomical curiosity and exploration (i.e. "playing doctor") because of overt and deliberate actions directed at sexual stimulation or orgasm. When sexual abuse is perpetrated by one sibling upon another, it is known as "intersibling abuse".


According to some research, initiators of child-on-child sexual abuse have often been sexually victimized by an adult beforehand, or by another child who was in turn abused by an adult. In other instances, the perpetrator was exposed to pornography or repeatedly witnessed sexual activity of adults at a very young age. According to Drew Pinsky, MD, this is because young children who have not matured sexually are incapable of knowing about specific sex acts without an external source.


Child-on-child sexual abuse often goes unreported, for several reasons. It is not widely known of in the public, and often occurs outside of adults' supervision. Even if known by adults, it is sometimes dismissed as harmless. In particular, intersibling abuse is underreported relative to the reporting rates for parent-child sexual abuse, and disclosure of the incest by the victim during childhood is rare.


Children who were sexually victimized by other minors, including intersibling abuse, show largely the same problems as children victimized by adults, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, suicide, eating disorders, posttraumatic stress disorder, and difficulty trusting peers in the context of relationships. Intersibling abuse often results in distortion of the victim's beliefs about child sexual abuse.

Major factors that affect the severity of symptoms include the use of force or coercion, the frequency of the abuse, and the invasiveness of the act. An increased risk of victimization later in life has also been reported. It has been argued by Rind, Tromovitch, and Bauserman (authors of several controversial studies) that these problems are not caused by precocious sex itself, but by personality, home, and social environmental factors that lead to precocious sex. However researcher Stepanie Dallam criticized the work of Rind et al in detail based on extensive analysis in her 2001 paper published in the Journal of Child Sexual Abuse, stating that "After careful examination of the evidence, it is concluded that Rind et al. can best be described as an advocacy article that inappropriately uses science in an attempt to legitimitize its findings."

In the media

The media has reported on this phenomenon. In once instance, an eleven year old girl accused an eight and a nine year old boy of simultaneously raping her.Boys, 8 And 9, Charged With Rape, Police In Georgia Charge Three Boys With Kidnapping And Raping 11-Year-Old Girl - CBS NewsDigital Journal - Three boys, 8 and 9, charged with raping 11-year-old girlThree young boys, ages 8 and 9, accused of raping 11-year-old girl Internet and reality show star Tila Tequila claims in an interview to have been molested by an 8 year old female friend when she was 5 years old.

See also

Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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