In this article, I’m going to share with you 05 startling effects that you need to know as a parent about childhood sexual abuse and how you can protect your family?
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One of the things that I learned upon starting ministry is that a big part of my job was going to be to train volunteers. And a lot of the training for our volunteers was about how to prevent childhood sexual abuse. Because we want our church to be a place that’s safe.
Childhood sexual abuse is something that we like to talk about.
It’s also something that’s very important to talk about the Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse because we want to prevent it.
And it’s not something that we only want our volunteers to know, it’s something that we want every parent to know.
This is important information for us to know as parents, but, it’s also important information for you to know as a parent to that what are the stats about child sexual abuse as well as the adult survivors that will help you protect your children.
Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse
In this section, I want to let you understand child sexual abuse and the effects on the survivors of childhood sexual abuse and on their families.
Whether you are the survivor or whether you’re the family of a survivor.
I’m hoping that this article will help you to understand the effects.
As I’ve already provided some facts and figures in the other article because one of the worse things I think for all survivors is this feeling of separation and aloneness.
The feeling that they’re different and the feeling of how did this happen.
Being an Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, you may not recover as early as possible but it may consume time along with the treatment to get rid of those memories.
You may see some of the adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse briefing about the sexual assault which they have been targeted in their younger ages as well as their experiences to get recover.
There is not actually settled time period of the recovery. However, it depends upon the circumstances and the psychology of the victim of sexual abuse.
The most important factor of the adult survivors of sexual abuse which prevent their treatment is that they don’t disclose the incident of sexual assault.
Not even with their family, friends or even with their partners.
Some adults consider that disclosing the facts would affect their reputation or harm their dignity but the point is that it would be the prevention against their recovery.
If we see the adult survivors of sexual abuse, they have faced the critical period and without caring such presumptions get recovered.
The same is with the survivors of childhood sexual abuse who don’t disclose the incident and then they face hardships for their recoveries and probably don’t get recovered.
17 Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse
There are some Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse that all of us tend to know about Adults Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse.
For example, that the victims are normally little girls and that the abusers normally are men. Those aren’t surprising stats.
But, in this article, I’m going to talk about 17 effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse that will surprise you as a parent.
So younger children and adolescents are different but there are some real commonalities and depending on the child’s personality.
- There’s going to be some differences but one thing you’ll really notice is a lessening of that self-esteem. Perhaps looking at their body is ugly or they feel dirty or they’re ashamed of themselves, they feel bad about who they are, there’s a lot of shame near. So that’s something to really look at and that’s not a symptom to ignore no matter what the cause.
- Another one is some sleep disturbances so is bad dreams maybe there’s big or something like that. So the child is really frightened at night time, you could have mood swings. So your child suddenly becomes really enraged or really withdrawn not talking anymore especially if this is unusual for your child a lot of fear and security clinginess, don’t want to be alone away from you or something different in their moods, up-and-down moods a lot of the time. It comes at art in the form of anger and acting out, so be mindful of that.
- Another one is changed in eating habits usually decreased appetite and sometimes you’ll notice they’ll battle to swallow food. So a real problem and that is linked to that disgust and the actual physical act of whatever they have been forced to do. So you want to pay attention to decreased appetite, weight loss really not wanting to eat refusing to eat point-blank. Sometimes we see eating disorders develop and that links in with that body image issues again doesn’t necessarily mean sexual abuse but it can be a symptom or sign you can have the child or the adolescent becoming really distracted or distant at times which especially if this is unusual they very imaginative and prone to daydreaming, that’s okay, but if this is unusual or they’re back into focus, it’s always good to investigate these things.
- Something that is really an alerting thing for me as a professional in this area, you see call it sexualized behavior or sexual acts or the child starting to draw things play in certain ways. A certain amount of sexual play is very explorative and normal and curious but when you start getting it in things that they couldn’t possibly know especially in younger children. If they start using strange word like nude and things and different words for their genitals and private parts that you’ve never heard them say before, that you don’t use with them and they suddenly learned these strange words for private parts or these different questions. Maybe they stopped prompting discussions around sexual content and having a real interest in it. That is a red flag, don’t leave it hanging investigate a little bit more make yourself open to talking about this. So that they can confide in you.
- Again with dreams, they can be dreaming about sexual content and images pay attention. So they could also start developing new and unusual fears about certain people, places and things and again tease this art. It’s not unusual as you grow up with children tell each other stories or you watch something or you play a game and suddenly you get a feeling you have a bad ,dream it can be normal but when you start ticking off some of these symptoms, what I would do is be paying attention and assessing a little bit. So as a parent you can do the same thing. Just be mindful, ask questions, make yourself available, keep an eye out.
- So something to be very concerned about is if they start having secrets with other adults or older children that they refuse to tell you about will start talking about their new adult friend or much older friend. This is something you really do need to investigate especially if it’s an older relative maybe uncle something like that if there’s secrets involved or something going on or they don’t want to see this person. They have a real reaction about going to their place be left overnight there, don’t leave it, pay attention.
- Another one which I would say as a dead giveaway but sometimes it’s not so if they start having money and gifts and toys and things that you don’t know where this has come from, do not accept that when you’re doing safety when they little you don’t accept gifts from strangers. So you want to be mindful about;What they’re bringing home? Where things are kept and control? What they’ve gotten? What they don’t have money?
So that’s something they get their pocket money, if that’s, what you do they don’t just get money from other people like Oh! Uncle Bob gave me this. Why always ask? why it’s not for Uncle Bob to do that?
- You need to investigate and one thing that is very prominent here a sexualized behavior,Are they’re touching themselves? Are they pulling down pants?Are they touching you in certain ways?
So this is the schools are very on the ball with us a lot of the time and this is the kind of thing that we would report. If we report into child protection sexualized behaviors very high on that list and to separate children and adolescents. I’ll just quickly run through with children there can be a lot of regression such as bedwetting and thumb-sucking. So when an older child starts acting younger than you can also have new words, as I said before, for genitals an adolescent that can be normal because when you start hitting puberty that’s what you think about and you’re learning all manner of things that your parents probably wouldn’t even know about when if the little children be concerned.
- Another thing that’s a huge red flag as a professional is when they struggle to get dressed in front of other people. Little kids don’t usually have body image issues unless it’s learned unless something’s going on. So if they don’t want to undress in front of someone or you or something’s going on or they want to go into the bed to dress well are they really covering themselves and they feel vulnerable about getting naked in front of you or trusted an adult. It’s a warning sign that something’s going on it shouldn’t be.
- The play looking at how they’re playing with their toys and if they need wetting a lot and soiling their pants or soiling the bed which is having it defecating or having a poo in their bed especially if they’re a bit older when they toilet training. This can be very normal but if they already trained and suddenly again that’s a regression. They’re going back to that you need to pay attention.
- Now the behaviors in adolescents come out as problem children behaviors and this is where I feel very passionate about blaming the victim because that’s what usually happens because it comes out in the form of self-harm of real anger and rage lows mute mood swings. It comes out in the fall of promiscuity, lots of different men running away from home, sneaking up the house just no regard for rules and the acting out things which can be typical teens but this is really pronounced behavior.
- Self-harm is often linked with sexual abuse. Maybe it’s adequate hygiene, they’re not basking enough. Now young teenage boys can get like this granted. Again you need to look at the context, you need to not leave that if your children are not barking for days on end or they’re not brushing their teeth or they weren’t wanting to wear clean clothes not caring. That’s something to investigate.
- A huge thing is that anxiety depression, suicidal ideation wanting maybe trying to complete suicide having a tense or just what they’re writing, what they’re drawing, getting really dark, getting really withdrawn, really angry with the world. Often something’s going on even a normal teenage behavior I would say something’s going on. So that something you really do need to involve a professional either for yourself.
- You get support and how to help through the school check to people who don’t ever leave this. So a substance I’ve got my list as well that kind of thing escapism avoiding those horrible feelings that shame those emotions that are coming up. These are all ways to cope with emotions that are so overwhelming and so difficult to process and they haven’t been processed. They have become a trauma. So that they keep coming up, they’ll be triggered in things and often there’s a lot of anger towards the parent that they feel should be protecting them. So know your signs and symptoms
- The physical signs and symptoms on a very rare in fact but they can especially in younger children. Discoloration or bleeding in the genitals that such as the anus that the genitals or the mouth discharges anything funny and he smells things like that coming from there or really painful urination and bowel movements and again bedwetting and swelling the pants and things like that. So this is a very serious topic and it’s really good for all parents to be informed or teachers who care either you see it in your child or you see it in something else. If you do see something like that and you’re concerned, take steps immediately, create that safety plan, get people involved, protect your child or if it’s somebody else’s child and you are worried to make that call reported Department of Human Services and Child Protection, take sexual abuse especially in Victoria and Australia and the UK and the US are know very seriously. So there are routes that you can take. There’s advice, there are difference organizations you can call, don’t put your head in the sand. This is far too common and far too huge an issue for us to turn our backs on it. It’s not your child, it might be someone else’s.
- Study shows that abuse involving either physical penetration and abuse involving a father or stepfather has greater long-term harm. Now, this doesn’t in any way diminish abuse without penetration or from a nonparental family member but the clinical studies demonstrate that the long-term effects have a more destructive force. Often leading on to severe destructions such as substance abuse, eating disorders, suicide and self-harm survivors of Child Sexual Abuse have a feeling of isolation and stigma as well as dreadfully poor self-esteem. Oftentimes this leads to suicidal behaviors when they are reactivated and triggered by similar situations in adulthood survivors, feel dirty, disgusting, not worthy, full of self-blame, lonely, unloved and uncared for desperate for love and affection, validation and worth. There is an incredibly powerful need to be accepted, loved, cared for and to feel safe. This need will often drive the person into destructive relationships and into a destructive life survivors are far more likely to develop angle disorders, particularly post-traumatic stress disorder and even experienced psychotic symptoms adults over 25 who have experienced are twice as likely to attempt suicide as those that are a lot but if we look at the figures for 13 to 25-year-olds is not twice as many it’s 10 times as many. So 13 to 25 is the huge risk time as suicide were basically the trauma and disgust that they feel become. So overwhelming they don’t want to be here anymore. So if this is you, understand that the fact that you’re still here shows how very strong you are and for the families of survivors. Please understand what your loved one is living with every day and give them the support and the love that they need.
- So let’s talk about the head and in particular, the brain has programmed, the brain to be on constant danger alert. There is a part of your brain called the Amygdala and the Hippocampus. These are the emotional centers of the brain and they’ve been proven and shown within studies when somebody has been sexually abused to be far more active than somebody who hasn’t been abused which means that basically means that your danger radar is constantly on high alert and because all of the time you’re constantly anxious. You never feel safe and even when it’s 10 to 50 years after, the abuse you still feel unsafe. This can be changed but it takes work your brain has become wired to feel to fear life and to make bad decisions.
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