What is sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse encompasses a wide range of sexual behaviour, it involves children or adolescents in sexual activities with an adult or any person older in which the child is used as a sexual object for the sexual gratification of the other. It can include:-

  • Being touched in sexual areas.
  • Shown sexual films, pictures, literature.
  • Spoken to in a sexual manner.
  • Made to pose for sexual photographs.
  • Forced to perform oral sex on an adult or older person.
  • Raped or otherwise penetrated.
  • Touched, kissed or held in a way that made you feel uncomfortable.
  • Used for child prostitution or pornography.
  • Forced to participate in ritualised abuse in which you were sexually or physically tortured.
  • Bathed or undressed in a manner that felt intrusive to you.
  • Told all you were good for was sex.
  • Exposed to others participating in sexual activity.

Some survivors don’t remember any specific details and yet have a feeling that something happened, if this is your instinct then it is highly likely that something did happen. Abuse does not have to be physical or violent, sexual violation can occur through many different circumstances.

There have been numerous attempts to define child sexual abuse, here are some definitions:

” Child sexual abuse is a violation of power perpetrated by a person with more power over someone who is vulnerable. This violation takes a sexual form, but involves more than sex. It involves a breaking of boundaries and a profound violation of the survivor’s sense of self. It is a devastating and selfish crime.” (Wendy Maltz)

The Long Term Affects Of Child Sexual Abuse

The long term affects of child sexual abuse can be so deep-rooted that it can be difficult to establish exactly how the abuse affected you. It can permeate everything, your relationships, your sexuality, your sense of self, your parenting, your work, life, perspective, sanity.

You may be experiencing some or all of the following:

  • Feeling bad, dirty, or ashamed
  • Feeling powerless, like a victim
  • Feeling different from other people
  • Feeling self destructive or suicidal or that you just want to die
  • Feelings of self hate
  • Feeling like there is something really wrong with you deep down and that if people really knew you they wouldn’t like / love you and they would leave you
  • Feeling unable to rely upon your intuition
  • Feeling unable to protect yourself in dangerous situations
  • Feeling unsure of what you want or like, your goals, interests and talents
  • Feeling a lack of motivation
  • Feeling immobilised
  • Feeling frightened to succeed
  • Unable to finish tasks
  • Feeling you have to be perfect
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Persistently feeling angry, hurt or frightened
  • Nightmares
  • Phobias
  • Self harming
  • Loss of memory
  • Self induced vomitting
  • Compulsive Behaviour
  • Binging on food / alcohol / drugs
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • No interest in sex
  • Fear of sex
  • Feeling unable to say ‘No’ to sex
  • Avoiding specific sexual activities
  • Aggressive sexual behaviour
  • Confusion about sexual orientation
  • Obsessed with sex
  • Finding it difficult to get close to people
  • Finding it difficult to trust others
  • Relationship difficulties – friends / marriage/ family
  • Fear of being alone
  • Fear of being in company
  • Clinging and being extremely dependent on others
  • Over-protective of children
  • Needing to be in control
  • Bullying others
  • Abusing others
  • Criminal behaviour
  • P.T.S.D (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)