There are numerous psychological dynamics connected to child sexual abuse and incest. Many people think that the sexual touching or rapes are the only aspect of sexual abuse. Other people think that none of it is any big deal. They say, “Move past it.” “Be thankful for what you have and get over it.” “Stop being a victim.” or “Let it go.” This is probably one of the worse things that a someone can say to a person who has endured severe abuse or sexual trauma.
It’s not like we don’t want to let it go. Do people actually think that abuse survivors enjoy suffering? Do people think that survivors take pleasure in feeling panic and anxiety attacks without warning? Do those who have not been sexually abused think that survivors of abuse have a good time staying home because they can’t leave the house due to severe depression or physical problems instead of being out enjoying life?
Believe me, if I could have stopped the hell that I experienced for fifteen years, I gladly would have just ‘moved on’ with my life, but victims of trauma and severe prolonged sexual abuse, do not have a choice. The subconscious mind of those who are attacked and terrorized does not offer a choice. One can consciously attempt to push aside what happened but this is ineffective and causes more severe problems later in life.
Here are some of what is felt or experienced by a child being sexually victimized by an adult:
- Sexual pleasure
- Sexual confusion
- Fear of death
- Fear of the good ending at any moment
- Constantly walking on egg shells
- Attachment to the victimizer
- Physical Pain
- Feeling worthless
- Inability to trust anyone
- Fear connected to not knowing what is going to happen
- Fear from death threats
- Boundaries being crossed
Here is a partial list of what the adult survivor feels as a result of having been sexually abused (Some of this is also experienced by the child during the abuse)
- Sexual dysfunction
- Feeling estranged from others
- Feeling crazy/different
- Feeling of having a short life span
- Exaggerated startle response
- Dislike of being touched
- Frequent or uncontrollable crying
- Panic attacks
- Severe Depression
- Fear of a punishing God
- Poor body image
- Feeling sexually stimulated inappropriately or when there is no conscious reason for it.
- Frequent, excessive, unwarranted, washing (especially of the genitals or breasts)
- Abnormal fear or hatred of men
- Abnormal fear or hatred of women
- Loss of time
- Suicidal thoughts
Not so easy to just put it all behind you and ‘not allow it to define your life.’ People who offer this “advice” to survivors of trauma and severe abuse either say it for their own self-comfort (if the abuse survivor puts it behind them, then others don’t have to be made uncomfortable with the topic of child sexual abuse), they have abused a child themselves, or they are repressing trauma of their own and don’t want to face it. Anyone who doesn’t fit into any of these categories are ignorant, cold-hearted and uninformed.
To read Part Two, click here
To read Part Four, click here