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LEADERSHIP asked Janet Omaits, a therapist with the Minirth-Meier Clinic West in Seattle, Washington, to answer common questions pastors and lay people ask about childhood sexual abuse. Janet specializes in helping adolescents and adults recover from the trauma of sexual abuse.

How extensive is child sexual abuse today?

A large part of my practice is working with victims of sexual abuse. Statistics say that as many as 38 percent of all women, by the time they reach eighteen years old, have been abused. The figure is between 20-30 percent for men. Sadly, the incidence of child sexual abuse is roughly the same in our churches.

What is sexual abuse?

In his book, The Wounded Heart, Dan Allender breaks down sexual abuse into two categories: sexual contact and sexual interaction. Sexual contact is any kind of physical touch aimed at arousing physical or psychological desire in the victim and/or the perpetrator.

Sexual interactions-those not involving touch-are harder to identify but include anything ...

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