Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse happens when an adult uses his or her power and authority to groom, coerce or persuade a child to take part in sexual activities.  A child is never in a position to make a valid choice about sexual acts.  The sexual abuse can range from non-contact abuse – making a child look at pornography or at the abuser’s sexual organs – to full vaginal or anal rape.  Both boys and girls are sexually abused and children are abused in every level of society.

Effects of Sexual Abuse

The damage caused by sexual abuse varies from person to person and depends on factors such as on the nature and extent of the abuse, the relationship of the abuser to the child.  These are some of the common effects experienced by survivors.

Effects of Sexual Abuse

As children/adolescents:

  • Loss of trust
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Emotional deadness/numbness
  • Self-blame, guilt and shame
  • Difficulty in forming close, loving relationships
  • Self-harm, e.g., cutting or scraping skin

As adults:

  • Sexual difficulties – ranging from being unable to have a sexual relationship through to acting out sexually.
  • Alcohol, substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Repeated victimization in adulthood

Many survivors lock the abuse as far back in their minds and memories as they can and work to remember and think of it as little as possible.  They may still be experiencing various difficulties in their lives but not connect these troubles with sexual abuse.  Often, a life event occurs that ‘triggers’ those memories and feelings and then the survivor can feel out of control and overwhelmed.  We’re here to help so don’t struggle alone – contact us!

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