The New Face of Sexual Abuse

Disclaimers: This article presents the current psychological view that has not been viewed by the American Phycology review board and does not replace licensed psychological evaluation or treatment.


This article results from a conversation that I had the honor to have with a young college student, who share with me an event that traumatized her. Still, it considered a normal part of many women’s life experiences. After she shares her deep pain with tears in her eyes, I had to write this article, so her suffering would not be in vain, I dedicate this article to you.


I have seen the reality of sexual abuse come into the many steam of American conversation. Today we have more research and theoretical literature on the topic of sexual abuse and its effects on the victim. We have a vast array of stories, songs, and poems written by those who have victimized by the cold, life-draining touch of sex abuse and survived to tell their story. And one would think, with this massive unveiling about the truth about sexual abuse, then the number of lives devastated by this demonic force would be decreased.


But that is not the case. According to the NSVRA report for 2010, “nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men in the United States have been raped at some time in their lives, including completed forced penetration, attempted forced penetration, or alcohol/drug-facilitated completed penetration. An estimated 13% of women and 6% of men have experienced sexual coercion in their lifetime, and 27.2% of women and 11.7% of men have experienced unwanted sexual contact.” Finally,” most female victims completed rap (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25: 42.2% experienced their first completed rape before the age of 18 years.


This statistic tells me that our society moved from massive denial when victims were said to “get over it and keep your mouth shut.” To massive indifference and minimization, were sexual abused has become a part of mainstream society and view as just a part of life. There are two significant reasons for this new view of sexual abuse. The first deals with our society’s focus on erotic love or sexual love. We, as a culture, have become hyper-focused on the sexual. For example, pop culture singers pole dancing with children on stage or PG movies having sex scenes that we would call Children Services if a child views the same act in their home between their married parents.  In this society, sex is not connected to relationships, intimacy, or love. It is quick, often used for currency, or because everyone else is doing it.

The second reason is the environment that incubates erotica love.  Today society is shallow, violent, self-absorbed, and based on a sense of entitlement. This society develops people that believe that “it is all about them getting what they want and deserve in life.”


When you blend the age of “erotic love” and “I want it, now” generation, what you get is a new face of sex abuse. (Understand, the traditional appearance has not left.) This new face is dependent on the widely available use of technology and the increased pressure that women (and men) feel to be socially accepted.

The new face of sexual abuse looks like date rape, sexting, pornography, groping, and hook up sex.  The new face of sexual abuse accepts sexual abuse is a normal part of life’s experience; therefore makes it more damaging and traumatizing.


If we are to continue to fight against sex abuse, we must understand both the six grader and the college student are victims of sexual abuse and require support.