Sexual Abuse of Minors
Child sexual abuse does not involve money or gratification, it happens when a child or adolescent is used for sexual stimulation or satisfaction from an adult.
It is usually imposed by physical force, threat or seduction.
It can happen inside or outside the family nucleus, being known as intrafamilial and extrafamilial, respectively, and it can be expressed in different ways.
The rights of children and adolescents are enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of Cape Verde and in the Child and Adolescent Statute (ECA).
Cape Verde’s Penal Code, hereinafter simply CP, has provisions that protect children and adolescents from sexual abuse, thus punishing offenders.
The CP, under the terms of paragraph 1 of article 144, with the epigraph Child sexual abuse, stipulates that “Anyone who performs a sexual act with or under the age of 14, or who commits it to another person, will be punished with imprisonment from 2 to 8 years”.
Number 2 of the same article adds that “If there is sexual penetration, the penalty will be imprisonment from 5 to 12 years”.
In the same sense, no.1 of article 145 of the CP with the epigraph Sexual abuse of minors under 14 and 16 years old, that “Whoever, being an adult, engages in a sexual act with or in a minor over 14 years old and under the age of 18, taking advantage of his superiority, arising from any relationship or situation, or from the fact that the victim is entrusted with education or assistance, will be punished with imprisonment from 2 to 8 year“”.
No. 2 of the same article complements that “If there is sexual penetration, the penalty will be imprisonment from 4 to 10 years”.
Sexual abuse without physical contact corresponds to sexual practices that do not involve physical contact, and can occur in several ways:
- Sexual harassment is characterized by proposals for sexual relations by blackmail or threat.
- Verbal sexual abuse can be defined by open conversations and/or phone calls about sexual activities, intended to arouse the interest of the child or adolescent or to shock them.
- Exhibitionism is the act of showing the genitals or masturbating in front of children or teenagers.
- Pornography is considered sexual abuse when a person shows pornographic material to a child or teenager.
Sexual abuse with physical contact corresponds to caressing the genitals, attempts at sexual intercourse, masturbation, oral sex, vaginal and anal penetration. These violations can be legally typified in violent indecent attempts, corruption of minors, seduction and rape. There is, however, a broader understanding of sexual abuse with physical contact that includes “forced” contact, such as kissing and touching other erogenous bodily zones.
Signs and symptoms that denounce the existence of sexual violence:
- Behavioral change at school or in the family context;
- Decrease in school performance;
- Need for overstimulation or insecurity;
- Refusal or fear of being with an adult, or alone with him;
- Fear of some people or places;
- Problems controlling the pelvic region, resulting in urinary and/or fecal incontinence;
- Sleep disorders;
- Depression, anxiety, withdrawal, apathy or indifference;
- Problems with alcohol or drugs;
- Physically, irritation in the mouth, vagina or anus.
Often, the aggressor is someone who is close to the child and confuses him/her between sexual violence and an act of affection, using persuasion, reward or threats, leading the child to confuse him/her with a person good and who likes him/her. This promotes silence and feeds the child’s fear of losing the person they think likes them.
This promotes silence and feeds the child’s fear of losing the person they think likes them.
On the other hand, these children sometimes harbor a feeling of guilt and shame, fearing family breakdown.
Sexual violence against minors constitutes an aggression to the well-being of minors, and therefore requires a broad and comprehensive response from the legal system, articulated and coordinated with the social structure and granted to protect child victims and keep aggressors and abusers under control.
Watch for signs and symptoms and protect your child.