One of the most painful issues that I hear about as a counselor, is sexual abuse. Anyone at any age, gender, ethnic background, or social status could fall victim to sexual abuse. Many times when the abuse happens to us when we are older, people blame themselves. This may also be seen with people who had sustained negative impact of sexual abuse as a child. We are left with the sense that there must have been something about us, who we are, how we looked, we conjure up our own reasons to take on the blame. If you are from families with no support or love, they may blame you gladly. I have heard horrible stories of how families in denial have treated the victims of abuse. Leaving the children to suffer in silence.
In general, statistics show that a high risk for victimization would be any child younger than 4 years old or with children with developmental disabilities. Though stats often vary it has been quoted that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 13 boys in the US experience child sexual abuse. It is estimated that 91% of the perpetrators of sexual abuse may be known and trusted by the child or child’s family—this reality may be found in cases of older victims as well. The total lifetime economic burden of child sexual abuse in the US in 2015 was at least 9.3 billion dollars.
Examples of consequences include: sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies, physical injuries, chronic conditions later in life including heart disease, obesity, cancer and mental health complications.
Some of the known mental health conditions may include: depression, PTSD, low self-esteem and other anxiety disorders.
Some examples of behavioral consequences: substance abuse/misuse, including opioid or other drug addictions, alcohol addiction, cycles of a variety of other addictions like, eating disorders, workaholism, self-harming disorders, codependency, rage. Other behavioral consequences: risky sexual behaviors, or behaviors that could result in pregnancy or poor health due to STI’s through multiple partners. Increased risk for perpetration of sexual violence, increased risk for suicide.
Studies have also shown that females exposed to child sexual abuse are 2-3 times at increased risk of sexual violence victimization in adulthood. Studies also indicate that people who experience child sexual abuse are at twice the risk for non-sexual intimate partner violence (DV).
If you or anyone you know has experienced unwanted sexual advances or sexual abuse as a child or adult, I want to say to you, ” I am so sorry that it ever happened to you. It was not your fault, there is “no shame on you” no matter what degrading experiences you may have had to endure, you are not to blame.” Forgive yourself for ever thinking that it was on you or your fault. These figures that I posted, with exception from my own commentary, are stats from CDC.Gov.
Why is there such a problem of sexual abuse in our nation has always baffled me. Statistics on child sex trafficking are also astounding to me how many corrupt people make money with this abuse and corruption in our society.
If you struggle with self acceptance or other mental health issues due to this issue of sexual abuse- I encourage that you find a counselor that you trust, with good rapport, and get counseling to free yourself of all the pain of the past. Even though you were not to blame for this happening to you, everyone still needs to learn to grieve all the pain, grieve all losses that you endured because of the abuse, and learn to let go, forgive and move on with your own life.
Here is a quote:” Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.” I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”” This life is what you make it. No matter what, things will happen to derail you on occasion, it’s important to let go of the past and choose to help someone else who may have been derailed in the same way as you.”
Rise above, be empowered, not everyone out there wants to hurt you.
National Sexual Abuse Hotline:1-800-656-HOPE
“Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. And we must keep our eyes on Jesus, who leads us and makes our faith complete. He endured the shame of being nailed to a cross, because He knew later on He would be glad He did.”
People become derailed by the sin that is in the world, but by faith we choose to rise above what the plan for evil may have been, something good will always come with faith in Jesus from the broken things of our lives. He makes all things new.