Issue 128: Feelings Buried Alive Never Die: Child Sexual Abuse
Forum: Newsletter, Slavery & Trafficking, Child Sexual Abuse
- Issue 128: Feelings Buried Alive Never Die: Child Sexual Abuse
/ Slavery &
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Feelings Buried Alive Never Die: Child Sexual Abuse
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Only recently, and only in some countries and cultures, has
the abuse of children come to be seen as a major social problem and a main cause
of many people's suffering and personal problems. But, there is no doubt that
children have been abused throughout human history.
The true extent of sexual abuse is unknown. Studies of the
general population of adults show that anywhere from 6 to 63% of females were
sexually abused as children. A 1985 L.A. Times national survey found that 27% of
women and 16% of men reported being sexually abused prior to age 18 [Finkelhor,
D. (1986) A Sourcebook on Child Sexual Abuse. California: Sage Publications.]
Girls are sexually abused more often than boys. Among adult women, more
than 15% have had some kind of negative, unwanted or forced sexual experience
with a family member before 16. All statistics on the incidence and prevalence of child abuse
and neglect are disputed by some experts. (Incidence refers to the number of new
cases each year, and prevalence to the percentage of people in a population who
have had such experiences.) Numbers from 15% - 30% are very common when one
talks about prevalence of sexual child abuse.
- What does that means for you who have been sexually
abused? It means that you are not alone. It means that at least one
out of 5 or one out of 8 of your girlfriends have been sexually abused.
- Who are the abusers? Very often it is a step-father,
a friend of family or a neighbor. Quite often it is a member of a closer
family like uncle, cousin, grandfather, father, mother, brother, sister.
Sometimes it is a priest or a teacher or some other person that child trusts.
Jim Hopper, Ph.D. writes:
- Most abused and neglected children never come to the attention of
- This is particularly true for sexually abused children, who
may have no physical signs of harm. In the case of sexual abuse, secrecy and
intense feelings of shame may prevent children, and adults aware of the abuse,
from seeking help. Therefore, official government statistics do not indicate actual
rates of child abuse.
- Government statistics are based on cases that were (a) reported to social
service agencies, (b) investigated by child protection workers, and (c) had
sufficient evidence to determine that a legal definition of "abuse" or
"neglect" was met. In the official government studies linked to below, terms
like "substantiated cases" (United States) and "registered children" (England)
refer to such cases.
- In short, official government statistics are only "the tip of the
- Secrecy and intense feelings
of shame usually prevent children and adults from talking
bout abuse and from seeking help. But, the first step toward help is
opening up and talking about the abuse.
TALK! Open UP! Do
not try to burry those feelings, it can kill you!
What happens when you don't want to open up and when you decide to keep
of those who were abused in their childhood, and were unable to talk
about it, retain many problems due to this trauma:
- Keeping the secrets, hiding thoughts and
burring feelings alive consumes enormous amount of energy. Very often,
almost whole available energy is spent to keep the secret and to hide
feelings. The secret and buried feelings are slowly
draining your energy and may cause serious health problems like: clinical
depressions, cystic ovaries, schizophrenia, tumors of sexual organs,
vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, sarcoma,
leukemia, sleeping disorders, suicidal thoughts ...
- Psychological problems: Fears, panic attacks, sleeping problems, nightmares, irritability,
outbursts of anger and sudden shock reactions when being touched. Little confidence, and self-respect and respect for one's own body
may change. Behavior that harms the body: addiction to alcohol and other
substances, excessive work or sports, depression, self-destruction and
- Self-Mutilation: Self-Injury, Delicate
- Social problems: Have little confidence in other people. Fear of loss of control in relationships.
- Sexual problem: While making love problems often occur. The partner may be confused
by a certain remark, touch or behavior that brings back memories of
the abuse. Patients sometimes don't want to make love at all anymore or make
love less. Sexual relation problems may occur, together whit pain while making
love, not wanting to make love and problems in getting aroused.
Problems with the orgasm and coming also occur.
- Physical complaints: Abdominal pain, pain while making love, menstrual pain, intestinal
complaints, stomach ache, nausea, headache, back pain, painful
shoulders, in short all kinds of chronic pain may occur. The pain is
- Eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia, compulsive
eating are also very common.
- Denial and repression: deny or repress the harmful event(s); don't want to talk about or avoid certain situations.
- Re-experiencing: experience the event(s) again;
unintentionally they are confronted with memories of the abuse, for
example through nightmares, sudden memories or unexplainable physical
- Over irritation: are easily affected, hot-tempered,
jumpy, excessively alert and don't fall asleep easily.
TALK! Open UP! Do
not try to burry those feelings, it will kill you!
- I was sexually abused by an uncle when I was just 4 or 5 years old
I was sexually abused when I was 4 or 5 years old by
an uncle. The thing is that I don't remember which one :(. All I know is
that I have been having nightmares about this since I was 6 or 7 years old and
till this day. When my husband tries to touch me sometimes, I cry and ask him to
stop!! Okay, I'm really scared about what I'm about to post. The only person
that knows about this is my husband and it toke me 15 years to tell someone
about this, so I hope you'll don't judge me to harshly :(. I don't even
know where to start. Okay, When I was 12 years old I was taking care
of my cousin ...
- my daughter was molested by her own father when she was 4
We where separated, on the way to a divorce at the
time. When she was 14, and we where in counseling, she finally told it. Wow, she
just fell apart. She was having major depression, and could not even go to
school, I had her homebound for 2 years. She felt too much guilt and shame. The
bad thing about it, when she was 16 and we where still in therapy, and she was
actually living normally by then, her x-boyfriend murdered her. She was 2 weeks
from being 17 ...
- My girlfriend was sexually abused
She is 17 and I'm 21. She was sexually abused by her
uncle from when she was very young to roughly when she was 14. I don't know the
details as we don't really talk much about it, so I'm unsure how far it went
(not really sure I'm ready to know anyway). We don't have sex or kiss, most
we've ever done is hugging (which is pretty great!). I don't really expect any
of these things for a long time which I'm fine with. ...
- I am and have been abused by my parents since I was a child
I was also sexually abused by a friend of my father
from ages 2-5. My father doesn't beat me anymore like he did a year ago. My
mother on the other hand still abuses me. My mother is like a flipped-side
coin. She's either really sweet to me or she's just nasty. She'll hit me in the
face if she "feels" she has to, or will grab me roughly. When she's not being
sweet, she'll abuse me mentally and emotionally, calling me names and treating
me like a piece of trash. ...
- sexually abused during a massage
My girlfriend told me today that 2 years ago she was
sexually abused while she was getting a massage at a local gym. The masseur
worked his way down to her private parts, touching her and inserting his finger
in her. She didn't report it to the police, because she didn't feel comfortable
talking about it to anyone. ...
- I was abused by an older brother
I was abused by an older brother. I suppose I was
somewhere around 6-8 years old. He is 7 years older than me. I just remember him
coming into the bathroom and fondling me, and not being able to escape,
everything else is a blank. I am 47 years old and have lived my life trying to
ignore this fact, thinking that if I pretended it never happened I would be able
to forget. ...
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