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Children who are victims of sexual abuse pose specific concerns to a professional counselor who is responsible for providing treatment to the child. Consider the following scenario:
Alexis is a 10-year-old female girl who used to exhibit normal and happy emotions. Alexis’ mother, Emily, works a lot of hours and does not have the time to spend with her. Emily has entrusted the help of her younger brother, Anthony, who is an unemployed 25-year-old male, to watch Alexis. Anthony lives with Alexis and Emily. Over a period of about six months, Alexis was exhibiting emotions of sadness, being very quiet, and acting withdrawn, which Emily had witnessed one day while home. Emily asked Alexis if everything was okay, and Alexis quietly replied, “no.”
A letter from Alexis’ teacher was sent home to Emily describing the concerns of how Alexis’ grades in class had dropped and how Alexis exhibited “some type of emotional withdrawal.” One day, Emily was sorting Alexis’ clothes to wash when she saw blood in Alexis’ undergarments. Emily believed that Alexis had started her menstruation cycle, thus concluding that that was the reason for Alexis’ change of emotions. Upon speaking with Alexis, Emily wanted to explain menstruation to Alexis, but when she spoke with her, Alexis still exhibited little to no emotion, as well as not speaking at all. Emily became very concerned and asked Alexis repeatedly what was the matter. Alexis eventually broke down and said, “Uncle Anthony has been doing things to me and makes me sleep with him in the bed.”
Emily was immediately shocked from what Alexis had just said. Emily later confronts Anthony about what Alexis had said, and Anthony denies all that Alexis claimed he had done to her. While Anthony was away from the house one day, Emily went through Anthony’s items in his bedroom and found child pornography videos and magazines, as well as pictures of Alexis in very provocative poses and some nude photographs. While law enforcement was contacted, Emily was also concerned about the emotional scars that Alexis may have because of what took place between her and Anthony, and she begins to seek professional help for Alexis. The local law enforcement did advise Emily that Anthony was also a victim of child sexual abuse but had never revealed that information until he was interrogated by the police.
Emily seeks your assistance, a trained counselor that treats child sexual abuse victims, in gaining insight on understanding child sexual abuse. As a trained professional, define and explain what type of sexual abuse from which Alexis may be suffering. Second, describe what type of treatment program you would suggest for Alexis to participate in that would address the needs of a victim of child sexual abuse. Finally, what type of treatment should Anthony receive since he is claiming to be a victim of sexual molestation himself?
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