In addition, the teenager discovers that such intimate relationships are both public and private affairs. If he continues in the relationship according to the group’s rules, the adolescent peer group will approve him…and if he breaks the group’s rules, the adolescent peer group will disapprove him.
This is what we refer to as “socialisation.” When an adolescent is engaged with his peers, he discovers how to live as a sexual being in a socially appropriate manner. The rapist hasn’t learned these lessons…and neither has the adult who preys sexually on minors.
What they’ve discovered is that, in the case of the rapist, aggression is an option for expressing sexuality, and in the case of the gentle “grooming” abuser, sexual abuse of underage minors is an option.
When an adolescent is taken out of his peer group’s encounters to engage in a sexual affair or sexual liaisons with an adult, damage occurs. He is cut off from the normal socialisation phase of his sexuality…he is losing out on the integrating opportunities he needs to adapt to adult life happily. He should not be sexually involved with an adult at a time when he should be involved with and abiding by the socialising laws of his teenage community.
The sexually exploited adolescent who is denied the usual rites of romantic and sexual passage in his peer group may struggle to maintain acceptable and productive adult relationships…with spouses…friends…employers. He may have found that the best way to communicate his sexuality is to become a predator himself in some situations, but not all.
The real violence of adolescent sexual abuse is exposing the adolescent to these potential long-term issues in adult life.The ‘trauma’ of sexual assault and the reliving of it is also the subject of mental health practitioners. Many individuals, on the other hand, were not traumatised, even though they did inherit the more insidious emotional problems later in life.