Are we fully aware of the sexual exploitation that occurs in our borough? That affects our daughters, sisters, granddaughters and future generations. The sexual exploitation that is damaging our young women of today.
What is Child Sexual Exploitation? (Also known as CSE)
For those who are not aware, according to Greenwich Safeguarding Board Newsletter 2015, Child Sexual Exploitation is the sexual abuse of young women (under 18) through the exchange of sexual acts in exchange for food, shelter, protection and basics of life.
Sexual exploitation is abuse, with no doubt. In all cases those who are exploiting the young often have direct power over them, whether that is due to age, experience, intellect, physical strength or economical resources. Harnessing on young women’s vulnerability.
The harsh reality of this sensitive issue is that it does exist in our society, in our borough. Sexual exploitation is something our young women of today are abused with every day.
How are our young women being exploited?
Child exploitation can occur through the use of technology and social media, for example being coerced into taking sexual pictures and posting them to the Internet.
Through Inappropriate relationships young women may have with older men, where they are naïve to the exploration being experienced. Or may believe they are in a loving relationship.
Young women are then being exploited to perform sex, or sexual acts to receive some sort of gain and reward. A sexual act in any context performed to receive some sort of reward is sexual exploitation and is wrong.
Sexual exploitation for any gain on young woman is a form of abuse. With proven evidence to suggest it affects physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing. According to Walker 1994, child abuse violates the trust of the child’s relationship with the world.
Research has found that childhood abuse contributes to the likelihood of depression, anxiety disorders, addictions and personality disorders (Spila, Makara, Kozak & Urbanska, 2008) eating disorders, sexual disorders and suicidal behavior (Draper et al., 2007)
The long-term impact of child abuse is far-reaching; some studies indicate that, without the right support effects of childhood abuse can last a lifetime. (Draper et al found):
Child abuse survivors demonstrate:
- Poor mental health
- Poor physical health
- Causes a higher prevalence of broken relationships, lower rates of marriage in late life
- Increases the risk of Medical diseases
However, to highlight the positive on this subject there has also been a lot of awareness identified. This has led to services in the local borough to help stop and support victims of abuse.
Young people identified as being at risk are provided with specialist intervention through Barnardos Charity and support is provided to parents through the Non-Violence Resistance parenting programme through CAMHS
Child sexual exploitation is a bitter subject, which I feel very passionately about. As much as I would love to eradicate the world of all bad and evil it is not something that can possibly be done…. unfortunately.
I feel that Sexual Exploitation involves more than one victim, the young person being exploited, the abuser, the family and the individuals they may have future relationships with. I feel we live in a blame culture and instead of passing the blame on one person in these instances; we need to look at everyone involved.
Is it due to the lack of support received in the community? Are parents not educating their children? Are services not aware of those who are of risk of harming our young women?
It is very easy to point the finger and find someone to blame is it –
- The parents for allowing their child to have enough freedom
- The child for not being more aware
- The abuser
I feel there isn’t a clear response in who to blame or it may not be as easy as it is done.
The question we should be answering is not who to blame, But how can we stop this from happening? How can we protect our young women and future generations?
How can we support, empower and strengthen our young women to understand when something is wrong?
How can we change this?
Many of us are not aware of the issue of sexual exploitation our young women face in our boroughs.
We all need to open our eyes and be aware of all current issues.
Young women, parents and carers, are we are of our child’s presence on the Internet?
Who are they talking to? Meeting with? What information are they posting/sharing online?
Educate our young women
Teach our sisters, daughters, friends, and neighbors of the dangers in society today.
Young woman need to be taught about relationships, we need not to shy away from this issue.
Teach and empower our young women to understand right from wrong.
Build confidence in young women so they are not afraid to speak out.
There are many organisations and services that can help and support. External support is also available from Paceuk. Barnardos. NSPCC.