The first significant harm suffered by the children who experience sexual abuse has higher chances of contracting dangerous Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) like gonorrhoea and syphilis. This is possible because in many cases children are sexually abused, the sexual intercourse can be carried out without the use of protective devices such as the condom. This may be so unfortunate especially when the perpetrator of such acts suffers from such diseases (Slapper, Kelly 2008). Worse still, such a deliberate action can lead to the spread of HIV/AIDS to the innocent vulnerable child. These are very bad experiences that might permanently interfere with the life of such children. Each of these diseases comes with their own challenges that such young children might not cope up with. For example, the infection of gonorrhoea might result in mental distress. Besides, HIV/AIDS might cause stigmatization especially if it is discovered by peers in school (Harvey 2011).
The other significant harm posed by child abuse is physical bodily harm. Just like Helen who must have experienced physical abuse, children’s body can be bruised, swollen or permanently impaired. Such experiences can result from brutal acts like the battery, beating, pinching, stabbing, flogging or any other form of corporal punishment to which children can be subjected by their family members, teachers or any other adult with whom they interact (Dewar, Parker 2000). This is what happened to Helen whose thighs and legs had to have lots of bruises. Had she not been physically abused, this would not be the case. Such bodily harms if not properly treated in time, might permanently impair the child or even cause a disability.
Last, but not least, the abuse of children might harm their emotional and psychological well being. An emotionally abused child can experience psychological and emotional distresses like lack of self-esteem, withdrawal, depression, anxiety, difficulty in sleeping, poor academic performance, trauma and flashbacks.