Sexual abuse occurs in all communities, ethnic backgrounds, religions, cultures, and social and economic classes, and is experienced by both males and females.
Perhaps the greatest defense against childhood sexual abuse is to help both children and adults become more comfortable discussing it. We can bring about a paradigm shift so that children will not think twice about confiding sexual abuse to an adult in their life who they trust. If we encourage enough children to tell, and teach enough adults what to do, we can change the repetitive cycle of childhood sexual abuse: studies show that 87% of all sexual abusers were themselves sexually abused as children.
Sexually abused children have higher odds of growing up to experience problems with:
- intimate relationships,
- addictions to drugs and alcohol,
- compulsive behaviors such as eating disorders and self-mutilation (cutting),
- teen pregnancy,
- and many other symptoms.
Telling an adult – while the survivor is still a child – has been shown to minimize the harm done by the abuse.
Studies agree that revealing Childhood Sexual Abuse minimizes the emotional damage to the victim. Here are 2 such conclusions made by respected researchers:
“There is a clinical assumption that children who feel compelled to keep sexual abuse a secret suffer greater psychic distress than victims who disclose the secret and receive assistance and support.„
“As long as disclosure continues to be a problem for young victims, then fear, suffering, and psychological distress will, like the secret, remain with the victim.„
Disclosure is the key to minimizing harm.
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