Monday, August 3, 2009

The Effects of Sexual Abuse

What are the effects of sexual abuse on chil­dren and adolescents? You may identify with one or more of the common effects mentioned below:

Physical illness and injury: Some victims contract AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases through con­tact with a promiscuous adult. Some suffer tissue tears due to penetration of the vagina or anus. Some illnesses and injuries from sexual abuse are permanent.
False guilt: If an adult does something to hurt a child in some way, including sexually abusing them, the child may assume he or she has done some­thing to deserve it. Other children feel false guilt or condemnation because they knew the abuse was wrong, but felt they could do nothing to stop it.
Shame: Shame is a cousin to condemnation. You may feel dirty, bad, worthless or sinful as a result of being abused, even though it is not your fault.
Helplessness: You may have been strongly encouraged, threat­ened or perhaps bribed into silence by your abuser. Or you may have felt helpless because you tried to tell someone about the abuse, and they ignored you or didn't believe you.
Poor sense of worth: Many victims are convinced that they are unloved, unlovable and unworthy of love. A poor sense of worth may lead to other emotional problems, such as eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.
More sexual abuse: Many victims of child­hood sexual abuse are likely to be victimized again. Having lost a sense of worth from some­one abusing them during the first experience, victims can begin to believe that they deserve other sexual abuse.
Pregnancy: Some girls bear children as a result of sexual abuse, further complicating their already troubled lives.

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