How have contemporary social changes affected the problem of child sexual abuse? The rapid rise of this problem to public attention in the United States is in part due to the mobilization around the problem by the women's movement and the child welfare movement there. But factors shown by research to be associated with the problem--social isolation and patriarchal authority--are so widespread as to suggest that this is a problem of international proportions, as well. The rising divorce rate in the U.S. and worldwide, would appear to put more children at risk at the same time that it has also made it easier for children and their mothers to escape from the most oppressive and intolerable family situations. The sexual revolution and the erosion of external controls on sexual behavior have also in all likelihood aggravated the problem, too. Sexual abuse needs to be seen as a problem distinct from physical child abuse--characterized by the preponderance of offenders who are males. This suggests searching for the sources of the problem in male sexual socialization rather than in problems of inadequate and disaffected parenting.