Can people experience sexual abuse without physical contact?

On Behalf of | Jan 30, 2023 | Firm News

When most people think of sexual abuse, they think of performing physical sexual acts on another person who does not consent or is too young to consent. But what if a person’s abuser never physically touched them? Do their actions still count as sexual abuse?

Non-touching sexual abuse is real

A perpetrator can abuse someone without ever touching them. According to Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina, there are two types of sexual abuse: touching and non-touching. While touching involves physical contact, like fondling or penetration, non-touching sexual abuse can take many forms, like an abuser forcing someone to:

  • Pose for sexually inappropriate photos.
  • Engage in private matters in front of others, like bathing, going to the bathroom or dressing/undressing.
  • Hear or witness the sexual acts of others.
  • View pornographic photos or videos.
  • See the abuser’s genitals while they masturbate or touch themselves.

If your child or another loved one comes to you and tells you that someone forced them into non-touching sexually abusive acts, it’s crucial to listen to them and seek help immediately.

Are cases of non-touching sexual abuse hard to prove?

This can depend on many factors, as collecting DNA evidence can be challenging in non-touching cases. For gathering evidence, it can be helpful to identify and locate others who claim they were abused by the same individual, especially if all their stories are consistent and have a pattern.

All forms of sexual abuse are harmful

Even if the abuser didn’t physically touch your child or loved one, it can still be a devastating experience for them. Helping them seek appropriate care and justice can help them cope with the horrendous mistreatment they experienced.