What is Sexual Abuse?

The philosophy of Bethesda: all victims of criminal sexual assault should receive therapeutic counseling and healing treatment regardless of race, religion, family background, sexual orientation or economic status. No child who has been sexually abused and seeks treatment is turned away, and no client is charged for our services. 

Bethesda’s therapeutic clinical staff is recognized statewide as experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse treatment. Each member of the clinical staff has an advanced degree and has received specialized training in counseling victims of childhood sexual abuse. The specialized treatment programs at Bethesda enable children and their families to safely make the journey from victim to survivor.



Sexual abuse may be touching, which includes fondling, molesting, oral sex or intercourse; or non-touching, including obscene language, exposure to pornography, or photographic images of children posed in a sexual nature. Developed by therapist Patrick Moore, this booklet covers topics such as:

  • having a safety plan, 
  • caring touch and harmful touch, 
  • personal space and body ownership, 
  • what "private" means, sexual boundary rules, 
  • misconceptions about sexual abuse
  • "grooming"
  • wishful thinking vs. reality
  • safe people