This year about five hundred thousand babies born in the United States will be sexually abused before the age of eighteen. This is very high and shocking at the percentage somewhere between of eighteen to twenty percent according to reports The Children's Assessment Center. The majority, about two thirds of childhood sexual abuse survivors don't report their abuse to authorities within the first year of their sexual abuse. Less than half of sexual abuse victims don't tell anyone for a at least five years. Many people ask the obvious question; why didn't you tell anyone? It's not as easy of an answer as you would think. Child sexual abuse victims keep silence due to many factors but the most important one is the psychological effects bought by the abuse. The psychological effects are deeper if the child knows their abuser via personal relationship. The number one tool sexual predators use to prey on their child victims is trust. A child is told that all adults are good and they are here to protect children.
This builds trust that the child will give to adults indiscriminately which will motivate predators to pray on children. Children who have a foundation of trust with the predator will simply think the sexual acts are okay because not only did the predator say so but it's assumed everything adults do is right and beneficial. The child may develop feelings of shame and guilt from the abuse but it will conflict with the messaging she or he was taught. The longer a child is exposed to sexual abuse the worse the effects are on her or his mental health.
Child sexual abuse victims have an alarmingly high chance of being re-victimized in childhood again with sixty percent experiencing post-sexual abuse symptoms. According to the CDC children who experience sexual assault are more than twice as likely to be raped as adults than those who never experienced sexual assault as children. As you can see, sexual abuse has a long lasting effect that many times carry on into different scenarios. The mental chagrin sexual abuse victims face are compounded. On one hand they are dealing with grooming tactics like the typical threats we hear from child survivors, 'if you tell someone, I'll kill your mom.' As a child hearing a heart striking threat like that would instantly put her or him into subservience mood because s/he is lead to believe that someone else's life is in their hand due to their actions. Primarily if they decide to break their silence aka trust in the abuser. The other side of the mental chagrin coin for the child is the mental burden of knowing that this abuse is going on and no one outside of her/him and the perpetrator knows. The fake smiles the child has to put on to keep everyone happy. The pain the child has to cover up so the abuse doesn't get rougher. The hurt the child has to mask as a momentary mood gets harder to keep up.
The psychological effects of child sexual abuse can either be short-term or long-term but regardless of the length of the abuse, both carry a lifetime effect that can show up in the form of mental illnesses and physical illnesses. These are just a few mental illnesses and physical illnesses that are common with child sexual abuse victims:
Women who were sexually abused during their childhood are prone to adulthood depression. In a study published in the British Medical Journal, researchers examined the link between sexual abuse in childhood and the rate of depression in adult women. Researchers screened 1,189 women and interviewed 237 using a 30-item general health questionnaire. The results of the study showed that there was a strong correlation between women who were severely sexually abused — attempted or actual penetration by a perpetrator — and women who were depressed. Thirty-seven percent of those who had depression experienced sexual abuse when they were under 16 years old.
Bulimia and anorexia nervosa — two eating disorders — are found to be common in women who experienced childhood sexual abuse. In a study conducted at the University of Melbourne in Victoria, Australian researchers evaluated the association between childhood sexual abuse before the age of 16 and the onset of the two eating disorders in women. As part of a longitudinal study of 11 years, there were 1,936 participants who were originally in the study — with follow-ups starting at the mean age of 15 up to the mean age of 24. Researchers found that those that were sexually abused twice or more had a 4.9 times higher rate of bulimic syndrome than those who were abused once at a 2.5 times rate.
Type 2 Diabetes
Adults who were sexually abused when they were children are at greater risk for developing serious medical conditions. In a study published in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine, researchers investigated the association between adolescent sexual abuse and type 2 diabetes. Data findings on lifetime sexual abuse in 2001 and the risk of diabetes from 1989 to 2005 from the Nurses' Health Study II were used for the study. The results of the study showed that 34 percent of the 67,853 women participants reported childhood sexual abuse. Thus, moderate to severe physical and sexual abuse in adolescence was associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes among women.
Special Acknowledgement to Medical Daily HERE
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As Iyanla Vanzant says, "I am not my sister's keep, I am my sister."
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