Hearing your feet climbing the stairs, Opening the door walking towards my bed, I held my breath, wishing I were asleep Only to be terrified and wide awake As you proceeded to carry out your sick desires
Always stayed quiet in the corner of the room Feeling constantly uneasy, Trying to hide this dark shameful secret, That punches, kicks me on the inside, Slowly tearing every single part of me apart.
My world crumpled in so many ways This fear will never be forgotten Your touch like a cold claw Tearing at my clothes as silence and horror shook me While I pray the invasion will be quick
Even when you left it never ended...
Minds try to forget, bury, and conceal Passing of years ease guilt and shame, But it never fully heals that you took, The innocence of a pure child, Making her believe it was her damn fault,
Every day trying to forget the shame, Drugs, alcohol came in as a savior, Helping me ignore the ache, Helping me ease the pain, Helping me forget the person I was.....
This video will show some parts of interviews conducted with two experts on the effects of child sexual abuse.
Effects of child sexual abuse
1. Not trusting authority figures. Usually so many cases of child sexual abuse involve a violation of power by an authority figure in their life, such as a teacher, guardian, relative, sports coach, etc. Their authority figures were supposed to help them growing up, and help them develop for adult life. After being betrayed by someone who you supposedly should trust to guide you, it is difficult for them to think that this world is a safe place; impairing them from trusting other possible figures in their life.
2. Self-esteem. Most of the times you will always blame yourself after being a victim of child sexual abuse, thinking that maybe you are provoking it somehow or that you did something to deserve this type of treatment. Furthermore, throughout Child sexual abuse, the victim is constantly being objectified, as the abuser uses them in then end only for their own pleasure. This makes them feel completely used and unworthy, lowering their self-esteem.
3. Anger Issues. You may have a hard time controlling your anger. The fact that the child has to remain silent, in these kinds of situations makes them sometimes lash out all the emotions that they have been bottling up during the abuse.
4. Dissociation. In the interview with Dr. Margarida Mendes this term is explained. According to her it is when your mind “separates” itself from painful events to protect itself. In this case the victim may have a hard time remembering what happened, feeling like the world around them isn’t real or feel like they aren’t connected to their body. It’s a common reaction to pain and fear, especially when you are little.
5. Self-harm. After child sexual abuse, the victims use self-harm to be able to cope with the emotional pain the traumatic event has caused for them. As we can see could see by the poem, it is is very difficult for a victim to forget everything the abuser put the victim through. Additionally, it can specifically be used as a way of coping with deep emotional feelings such as low self-esteem, a consequence effect of child sexual abuse.
6.Substance use disorder. Even as children, they can consume drugs, and alcohol, that are substances that make them get out of reality and forget/ease what their psychological pain they have been through.
7.Mental illness. All the a range of emotions of fear, sadness, anger, guilt, self-blame, and confusion, the child feels throughout the abuse result in having anxiety and depression. This is because these kind of overwhelming events are a trigger for anxiety and depressive disorders, especially in children, that are very vulnerable. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is as well developed from a trauma in life, such as child sexual abuse. This is a quote from a witness and former child migrant who was sent to Australia in 1950 that suffered from PTSD: “I still have nightmares and have to sleep with the light on. I was already like that by the time I left Clontarf, a nervous wreck. Twice I was admitted to the infirmary with something I now think were panic attacks.”
8. Poor academic performance, sabotaging their future. Some victims and survivors have told the Truth Project that offers victims and survivors of child sexual abuse the chance to share their experiences and be heard with respect, that they have struggled and disengaged at school and that they feel as though their futures were stolen. Some were unhappy at school (16%) or had academic difficulties (16%) and others left school early (8%). 9.More likely to go into prostitution. An abusive sexual self-identity relates to the development of an adult female pattern of occupational deviance such as prostitution.
10. Having trouble with romantic relationships. We can clearly see why this can happen through the interview with Dr. Susana Martinho.
The information on the effects of child sexual abuse is based on the "The American counseling association", and the "The National Child Traumatic Stress Network" websites.
What can you do to help child sexual abuse victims?
The first step to be able to make a difference is being able to identify the abuse. Secondly, to be able to stop it, you need to get the necessary help for the child, to be able to diminish the possible effects. Here are some of the signs that someone might be experiencing emotional abuse according to NHS (National health service) that you can identify:
Changes in behavior – a child may start being aggressive, withdrawn, clingy.
Avoiding the abuser – the child may dislike or seem afraid of a particular person and try to avoid spending time alone with them.
Sexually inappropriate behavior
Problems at school – an abused child may have difficulty concentrating and learning, and their grades may start to drop.
Giving clues – children may also drop hints and clues that the abuse is happening without revealing it outright.