Sexual abuse is rape. A sexual relationship requires two consenting adults. Children aren’t able to give willing consent to sex with an adult. No matter whether consent is achieved through violence or manipulation, sex between an adult and a child is always rape. Shame belongs to those who rape children or turn a blind eye to it but much too often, it is the victim that carries that shame.
Those who rape children, seldom use with force. Pedophiles generally, manipulate the targeted child and/or the child’s parents, in order to victimize the child. Those who are attracted to teenage children, properly labeled as hebephiles or ephebephiles, rely heavily upon manipulation, not only to obtain false consent enabling them to rape children but also, enabling themselves to exploit the child for financial gain. Few people think of teenage prostitutes as victims of sexual abuse but that is an attitude that must be changed. The sexual exploitation of children is at a record high, not only in the United States but all around the world. An estimated 1.2 million children per year are sold into sexual slavery with 300,000 of them being American children. The average age of a child prostitute is 13 and most of them die before they are 18 years old. Most of these children are females but boys are also, being used as sex slaves. During the time it takes me to write this post, as many as five children will be sold into the global sex trade.
Teenagers are very easy for a hebephile to manipulate into consenting to sexual intercourse. Most teenage girls who become pregnant are not impregnated by teenage boys but by grown men. However, even in this present culture of open sexuality, society places the blame on the girl and few of these men are prosecuted for rape. Those who manipulate teenagers for profit in the sex trade know how to make the child feel complicit in the sexual relationship and use the shame that society pins on them to keep them separate from family and working to earn a profit. (One teenager can bring in an average of $200,000. per year.) Teenagers who have problems at home, will latch onto any perceived kindness as love and no matter what they are asked to do, they will protect their abuser or abusers, thinking they are loved. Once a hebephile has raped a child, he knows that his victim’s shame won’t allow them to go home. Many of these children come from families that don’t care about the child or who also, feel shamed and blame the child rather than the sexual abuser.
A child who is victimized by a hebaphile and manages to survive and escape the way of life they were introduced into, will most likely, carry shame that doesn’t belong to them, well into adulthood. Undo shame is the most common roadblock to healing. Even people who are sympathetic and aware of the fact that teenage prostitutes are children who are sexually abused and exploited often, feel embarrassed by the particulars of the abuse a friend or family member endured in childhood at the hands of a hebaphile. An adult victim of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation can feel so much shame that they will see themselves at fault for their mistreatment, even if they recognize when teenagers are sexually abused. The result is a life haunted by secrets too shameful to utter. Victims can suffer for a life-time, alone.
Untreated childhood sexual abuse, no matter if the victim was prepubescent or a teenager at the time they were raped, results in severe emotional and psychological damage and victims often develop mental illness. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, with depression and extreme anxiety, are common. All people who are sexually abused or work as prostitutes, dissociate while the sexual act is taking place, as a means of survival. This causes repressed memory and dissociation can become the way in which a victim handles all unpleasant situations in life. In my case, I felt such deep shame that I broke into several different selves, all named Pam, in order to survive the abuse and other associated traumas. Then when I broke away from my abusers, I completely dissociated from myself as the girl who suffered that abuse and became a completely new, Pam. I remained silent for nearly 40 years, believing that I was at fault, not understanding my behavior, and locking away those memories under my excessive, undo, shame. I’ve worked hard to face what happened to me and at reclaiming my dignity. I am empowered by the fact that I can choose when to share that I was sexually abused and when not to. When I do choose to share, I no longer feel embarrassed because the shame belongs to the men who raped me. They were the ones who committed a despicable crime. I was still a child and didn’t understand what was being done to me. However, I know I still have a ways to go, as there remains a great deal that I can’t fully remember. There are still some memories so heavily set in shame that I can’t even share them with myself.
I know there are other boomers out there like me, who were sexually abused and exploited as children. I also, know that many of them keep their abuse hidden. The sexual enslavement of children isn’t new. It is more organized now and the internet serves as a tool to bring those who sell children and those who want to purchase children to sexually abuse, together. I’m glad that it is finally, being talked about and recognized for what it is. As a society, we must begin to recognize teenage prostitutes as victims of rape and exploitation. Adults, hebephiles, who sexually abuse teenagers must also, be recognized for what they are, criminals. Whether they traffick teenagers or use them, they should be punished severely, for the crimes they commit. Hebephiles should suffer the same societal disapproval as pedophiles. It is important to understand that teenagers aren’t emotionally ready for sex, even when their bodies tell them they are. Adults who take advantage of children during this vulnerable state of human development, commit a disgusting crime that in effect, murders the child emotionally and plunges them into an adult, criminal world. The one-time rape of a child causes irreparable damage. A teenager who is raped repeatedly through exploitation will suffer both mental, and physical harm, and injury. Those wounds take years and years to heal. Many victims are so ashamed that they never find their way to healing.
The sexual enslavement of children is a global problem but if there is any country in which slavery shouldn’t exist, it is in the United States. As a nation, I hope we will be sorrowful over the children who are being exploited sexually, all around us, every day. It was, Jesus Who gave me the strength to face the truth about my sexual abuse, as a teenager. Jesus is truth and truth set me free from the shame that caused me to keep the crimes committed against me, secret for decades. (In fact, it kept me from viewing my rapes as crimes at all.) My faith gave me the desire to understand what happened to me and to heal. Until I embraced that truth, I struggled with my depression and anxiety, thinking that I was born defective, with a brain that didn’t function properly. In fact, the unmerited shame I carried, caused me to blame myself for anything that went wrong for the people I loved. I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders. No wonder I was anxious and depressed. I had no sense of dignity because I held myself accountable for the acts I was manipulated into taking part in. I couldn’t respect myself because of it. The truth demanded that blame be placed where it belongs. My dignity is blossoming, and I am more whole than I ever remember being. When I think of the children being used as sexual slaves today, I can only think of setting them free, as I have finally, been set free. I want them to know that they aren’t to blame. I want them to know they are valuable, not as sexual objects but as human beings, and that Jesus loves them. I want all victims who were raped by an adult or adults as teenagers, to know they aren’t at fault and what happened to them was a crime. My faith compels me to speak out, in hopes that hebaphiles will be seen as the pariah that they are. I believe that I can do all things through Christ and if believers will educate themselves about this problem, it can be brought to an end.