Below is a very informative article about the after effects of childhood sexual abuse. The symptoms that I have personally experienced are bolded. I hope this article will help thoes just starting the healing process.
~~~~Like scar tissue, the effects of sexual abuse never go away~~~~Kathleen Megan
The single most hurtful comment that relatives frequently make to older victims of childhood sexual abuse is: "Gee, it happened such a long time ago, just get over it."Like scar tissue, the effects of sexual abuse never go away, experts say, continuing to influence victims in various ways, such as by contributing to drug and alcohol abuse, low self-esteem, divorce and distrust.A devout Catholic who is sexually abused by a priest thus may experience a kind of betrayal that can be especially intense."Many of the patients I've seen in therapy who became sexually involved [with a priest] talked about 'soul murder,' " said Lothstein. "They felt as if something had been taken deeply inside of them in which the body wasn't hurt as much as the soul.A child is left asking, "Whom can I trust? Can I trust myself? Am I a worthy person or just an object to be used by others? Am I valuable? Can I control what happens to me?"Without any answers or an adult to help, a child may store the experience away as a secret, becoming "withdrawn, depressed or acting out, causing trouble at home or school," said Pearlman.A child is likely to be left with strong feelings of anger, fear, shame, hurt and disappointment.Childhood victims are also often frightened into keeping the secret by the perpetrator, who may have threatened to harm the child or those dear to him if he tells anyone about what happened.Many children do believe they are somehow at least partially to blame for the abuse and, because of the shame, will not come forward.A victim may also be less likely to divulge what happened if he or she has had trouble with grades, behavior problems or other difficulties -- some of which are likely attributable to the abuse. They fear they will not be believed because of their checkered pasts.Survivors of trauma frequently require a lot of time to come to understand what happened to them and to be able to communicate it. Many survivors of the Holocaust, Lothstein said, "spent 10 years without ever saying what happened to them... . The information must come out slowly and be paced.Otherwise they can be overwhelmed by it."Victims of sexual abuse may hope that "wishing or drinking or praying" will make the pain go away, but "none of those things works. Two things really help," he said. "Going to therapy and telling somebody."
________________________________________________I understand first hand what childhood Sexual Abuse can do...I am a Survivor! The Symptoms are listed below and the items that have *** in front of them are effects that I have personally experienced. I understand because I walked down the lonely and frightening road a lone. No one knew accept the abuser, "the enemy--the father of all lies", God and me. It wasn't until I was in college and went to counseling for academic issues did someone wise enough recognize that I was a walking wounded trauma victim that no one ever took to the Emergency Room.God has given me the strength to share my personal story because I know by the statistics that 1 out of 3 girls/women who read this will understand because they too have experienced it. 1 in 5 boys experience it too, however, since I am a female my focus is on helping women, I write for women but much of what I write is for both genders. Abuse is Abuse and effects both men and women the same. The guilt, shame, fear and embarrassment are universal feelings that box sexes experience.I just want YOU to know that I understand and if you need someone to talk to, someone safe to listen to you, because that is how healing begins, please feel free to contact me. I share my soul with my sisters in hopes that the Truth will help set them Free!After Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Emotional Symptoms: ***Unsupported fears (may or may not be related to sex)***Low Self Esteem, Guilt, Shame***Exaggerated or Diminished feeling of power and control***Difficulty with Trust***Fear of Abandonment
Cognitive Symptoms: ***Intrusive images or thoughts about sex***Viewing sex as an obligation***Seeing sex as a means to exert power***Rigid boundaries or lack of boundaries***Confusing sex and love***Poor body image***Amnesia for early years or periods surrounding sexual abuse***Difficulty with authority figures
Behavioral Symptoms: ***Somatic Complaints (vague bodily complaints, gastrointestinal problems)***Somatic complaints related to the abuse (genital/urinary pain,difficulty swallowing, TMJ)Self Injurious Behaviors and self mutilation (cutting, hair pulling, biting, scratching)***Engaging in physically dangerous behaviors
Sexual Dysfunction: Males: impotence (can be situational), premature ejaculation Females: vaginismus, female orgasmic disorder, vaginal pain during intercourse***Compulsive masturbation, frequent anonymous sexual encounters***Stripping, prostitutionFetishes (inability or difficulty becoming sexually aroused without aspecific object involved [shoe, underwear, picture] or without focusing almostexclusively on a specific body part [legs, genitalia, feet]***Lack of interest in sex or avoidance of sexual situations***Difficulty staying emotionally and mentally present during sex***Placing self in sexually dangerous situations
When any of these symptoms are present, it certainly does not mean the person was sexually abused, and the symptoms may vary depending on the individual,the type and duration of abuse, and the relationship to the abuser.This note contains information from many sources. It is here to help anyone who needs it. It is not only for survivors of sexual abuse but also for family members and people close to survivors so they too can understand the devastating effects of childhood sexual abuse. It is also here so people can see and understand first hand what childhood sexual abuse does and how important it is for a parent to take an active role in protecting their children!Parents education is empowerment....you could save YOUR child from going through hell...if you love them TALK to them and ALWAYS be willing to LISTEN!!! Do not doubt when your child comes to you and tells you something that sounds "odd" children do not know how to describe what has happened to them, they do not possess the psychological ability....they tell you the best they can by their words and actions. Pay attention to both!!!---------------------------Children and adolescents who have been sexually abused can suffer a range of psychological and behavioral problems, from mild to severe, in both the short and long term. These problems typically include depression, anxiety, guilt, fear, sexual dysfunction, withdrawal, and acting out. Depending on the severity of the incident, victims of sexual abuse may also develop fear and anxiety regarding the opposite sex or sexual issues and may display inappropriate sexual behavior. However, the strongest indication that a child has been sexually abused is inappropriate sexual knowledge, sexual interest, and sexual acting out by that child.Research has shown that child sexual abuse victims are more likely to be the victims of rape or to be involved in physically abusive relationships as adults are.The ill effects of child sexual abuse are wide ranging. There is no one set of symptoms or outcomes that victims experience. Some children even report little or no psychological distress from the abuse, but these children may be either afraid to express their true emotions or may be denying their feelings as a coping mechanism. Other children may have what is called "sleeper effects." They may experience no harm in the short run, but suffer serious problems later in life.