You are not alone
Surviving sexual abuse during childhood can cause unspeakable damage to a person. When someone violates the innocence of a child sexually, many parts of the victim are harmed. There are cases where there is physical trauma. But in all cases there is emotional trauma. This emotional trauma's lasting effects affect each survivor differently.
However, there are many common symptoms among adult survivors of CSA (childhood sexual abuse).
- Depression, anxiety, PTSD and a myriad of other mental health issues
- Identity Issues
- Difficulty asking for or accepting help
- co-dependent relationships
- gravitating toward abusive relationships
- Lack of self worth
- self doubt
- self harm
- suicidal ideation, attempts or suicide
- Binge eating
- Promiscuity at an early age
- Promiscuity in general
- A need to please
- Trust issues
- Drug and Alcohol use
Every survivor, male or female, confront some or many of the effects listed above
Boys subjected to CSA commonly experience additional challenges once an Adult Man:
- Masculinity Issues- Questioning, feeling robbed of, or amplified need to prove one's Masculinity
- Hindered acceptance and/or disclosure due to common male stereotypes (Strong, Dominant, etc.)
- Society supports female survivors but men have far less assistance
- The fear of becoming a perpetrator
The list of effects goes on and on and causes serious disruption and chaos in adulthood. You most likely have been made the scapegoat for most of the families problems. If you have told someone about the abuse, it may have been ignored or incited anger towards you... the victim. You may be trapped in a world where no one believes you or acknowledges the abuse ever occurred.
You might be unable to maintain jobs or relationships. Unable to relate to other people, feeling like there is something wrong with you but you just cant put into words what it is. Having gone through what you've endured, it is hard to imagine ever being whole and genuinely happy. But there is a way to freedom.
We as survivors come together and in our common bond we find strength. You are not met with anger or shame. You are not told to just get over it or that it happened so long ago that you should just forget it. We come together and are empowered in knowing an undeniable fact: It was not our fault. If you were sexually abused as a child, it was not your fault.
Even if you "consented" to or enjoyed it (very common), it was wrong of the offender to violate you in that way. As children and early teens, we haven't formed completely what is right and wrong. What is obviously wrong to an adult may seem normal or even enjoyable. And why not? It is special attention, it can feel good, it is different and intriguing when you are a young. Another part of the childhood sexual abuse dynamic is the offender's master manipulation. Taking advantage of the child's vulnerability and trust, the offender will use tactics such as telling the child that it is their special secret, that if they told they would get in trouble or lose their family. They may threaten the child with violence, either toward them, another family member or others.
The manipulation carries on for years if the offender is never discovered and brought to justice. It also carries on if when the surrounding family members/ caregivers learn of the abuse and go into denial. When a child who has been sexually abused does not have the support from their family/ parent/ trusted loved ones, it further feeds the manipulation over the victim. With no validation, the survivor can have life long self-doubt, self-hatred and the belief that it was their fault... that they are alone.
Our group changes that. Because you are not alone. We are here, we understand and have made steps forward that we couldn't imagine possible. Hope to see you soon.