I've been Abused

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is not sex. Also referred to as molestation, sexual abuse is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. It covers any behavior by any adult towards a child to stimulate either the adult or child sexually. When the victim is younger than the age of consent, it is referred to as child sexual abuse (Wikipedia).

Sexual abuse of a child exists right inside our own homes. The perpetrators of child abuse are the people that the child trusts. More often than not the perpetrators are someone that has easy access to the child. Child Sexual abuse can occur right in front of other people or other members of the family and these people might not even recognize it or choose to ignore it.

Child sexual abuse is any form of sexual activity with a child by an adult, or by another child where there is no consent or consent is not possible; or by another child who has power over the child. By this definition, it is possible for a child to be sexually abused by another child who is younger than they are. Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, showing a child pornographic materials or touching the child's private organs. All children are vulnerable to sexual abuse. Sexual abuse and incest occur in every race, class, religion, culture, and country.

The pain, frustration and the agony of a sexually abused child is unthinkable. It is a very sick and saddened feeling for the child who cannot even complain to anyone or express the problem to anyone at home, especially when the abuser is one of the family members. The psychological impact of such activities on children is tremendous. As grown up adults, survivors of sexual abuse may have a lot of difficulty knowing about their boundaries and how to maintain them. This leaves many survivors vulnerable to further abuse and they grow up in to emotionally dissatisfied and confused human beings. It gets quite challenging and triggering for survivors of sexual abuse to lead a normal and healthy life if the right help is not made available to them.

A sexually abused child goes through constant feelings of: confusion, powerlessness, helplessness, pain, betrayal, sadness, grief, loss, feeling dirty, shame, vulnerable, unsafe, scared, terrified, horrified, depressed, angry, numb from feelings and body, suspicious, untrusting, tortured, sensitive, insecure, emotional, hurt, panic, anxiety, and feeling miserable. A sexually abused child's beliefs about one's self include: "I am bad, no one loves me, no one could love me, I am unlovable, I am dirty, it's my fault, I'm stupid, I should have done something, I should have told someone, I hate myself, I must be bad, I must have wanted it, I must have done something, I'm being punished, I deserve to die, I don't want to be me, why do these things happen to me, I must have deserved it"

Desperately needing ways to cope with this pain can lead to a variety of coping strategies including eating disorders, self-injurious behaviors, numbing, and inability to enjoy sex, having lots of sex, poor body image, a generalized separation from and disregard for one's body, dissociation and gender-identity issues. The effects of child sexual abuse are wide ranging, and vary from survivor to survivor depending on a number of different factors such as age of victim, duration of abuse, number of perpetrators, nature of relationship with perpetrator, and the severity of the assault.

The survivors of sexual abuse may engage in bizarre or weird behaviors that come from having been sexually abused. They include: addictions, prostitution, isolation, frequent sexual activity, avoidance of sex, over-working, inability to work, high-functioning, low-functioning, argumentativeness, avoiding conflict, perfectionist, and wanting to please others. All of these behaviors were learned in response to abuse and served an important purpose--staying sane and alive. Some survivors might even suffer nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks, flashbacks, anxiety attacks, terror, inability to go outside, afraid being alone, afraid being with other people, numerous trigger-responses, headaches, and other physical problems.


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