Predictable Stages

Child sexual abuse follows a predictable pattern. You can better understand why children don't tell about the abuse if you are aware of this process. Sexual abuse is an intentional behavior. An adult chooses to abuse child victims. In order to do this and to continue doing this, the perpetrator consciously plans how best to approach the child and gain the cooperation of the child, grooming the child for the perpetrator's planned sexual activity with the child. The perpetrator then intentionally directs the situation so that the child is afraid to tell anyone about it and will keep the secret.  

Distinct stages are present in the process of child sexual abuse:
  1. Approaching the child and gaining access and trust  
  2. Sexual activity with the child
  3. Keeping the secret
  4. Disclosing the abuse
  5. Suppressing the disclosure
  6. Repressing the memory or recovery from the abuse

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