The most devastating result of the imposition of adult sexuality upon a child unable to determine the appropriateness of his or her response is the irretrievable loss of the child’s inviolability and trust in the adults in his or her life.
Sandra Butler (1985),
Conspiracy of silence: the trauma of incest
Before the definition of child sexual abuse is discussed, a valid question must be: what is child sexual health? General health is defined as the state of being sound in mind, body, or soul, especially free from disease or pain (Webster 1959). One can intuitively envision a general state of health as encompassing a body free from illness and handicaps, a mind free from ignorance and prejudice, and a soul free from guilt and fear. Based on this general concept, sexual health would mean a body free for expression, a mind free for decision, and a soul free for enjoyment. Sexual health for children would incorporate these values along a developmental continuum.
Defining health as a capacity or potential for development is a much more dynamic concept than defining it as a freedom from disease. This is especially fitting for children as the essence of health is that their original impetus for life and growth is protected and nurtured. Healing is necessary when that process has been thwarted and there are limitations or obstacles to be overcome.
The concept of freedom, however, leads to the dilemma of individual rights being defined and tempered by communal