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Silent Shame - The Sexual Abuse of Children

NCJ Number
M Nykanen
Date Published
0 pages
This video cassette of the 'NBC Reports' program on child sexual abuse considers the incidence and nature of child sexual abuse, reasons why most child victims do not report their sexual abuse, the psychological effects of such victimization, pedophile profiles, and the content and international marketing of child pornography; the efforts of the U.S. Customs Service and the U.S. Postal Service to counter trafficking in child pornography are also portrayed, along with prevention and treatment for both offenders and victims.
Experts interviewed agree that official reports of child sexual abuse underreport its incidence. One expert estimates that 1 out of 3 girls is sexually abused, with possibly as many boys also being victimized. More than half of child sexual abuse victims are said to be abused by family members, with a high percentage of the remainder being abused by trusted adults. A central theme of the presentation is that most victims do not report their abuse, because it is often perpetrated by relatives and authority figures, who engender in the victims the fear of punishment and the loss of parental love. Psychological victimization effects are noted, such as extreme anxiety, fear, a sense of helplessness, and depression. Further, many victims become sexual abusers as adults. Interviews with pedophiles (some recorded with a hidden camera) reveal their thought patterns and methods of seducing victims. Child pornography is portrayed as a major component of child sexual abuse. Holland and Denmark are identified as central sources for the production and international marketing of child pornography. The narrator, posing as a buyer, conducts a filmed conversation with one of Denmark's major producers of child pornography. Efforts of U.S. customs and postal officials to counter the trafficking of child pornography are portrayed in thorough customs checks and undercover 'sting' operations. Prevention is presented as a central ingredient in reducing child sexual abuse, and the possibilities and limitations of treatment for victims and offenders are considered.