Risks after sexual abuse

0016Physical risks and discomfort (long) after sexual abuse

We tend to focus on the emotional stress after sexual abuse, but there are many physical problems, often related to emotional stress. For instance tension headaches and nausia. Not to mention the risk of selfmutilation, eating disorders etc.

Extremely uncomfortable cramps

We women know all the effects of PMS: Wanting to hide until it’s over. Cramps, headaches, grumpiness. You don’t want to see anybody. Hormones running wild.
I never did any extensive research but I noticed all my female clients complaining about extreme physical discomfort during their periods. Extreme in the sense of extreme bloodloss, extreme cramps and having their periods more often than the regular cycle.

Physical risks after sexual abuse

  • higher risk of cervical cancer
  • STDs
  • higher risk of myoma
  • infertility
  • infection of the genitals
  • damaged and/or numb genitals
  • incontinence
  • stomach or colon cramps

The younger the victim at the time of abuse, the higher the risk.

Anger

When I found out about the high risks to my health, I became even more furious at the man who abused me. I had suffered very painful periods for years and only found some relief after quite a few sessions in homeopathy.

Risks

All the risks he exposed me to, makes me even more determined to break the silence. I don’t want to be a victim. I know we can all heal from sexual abuse. But it’s time we face all the uncomfortable truths. It’s time to share the physical effects from child abuse with the media as well. It’s too significant and damaging not to.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

Boundaries

winter 01-11No boundaries

The lack of respect for your boundaries at an early age can have a big impact on your reactions now. When somebody crosses the line, your basic response is that it’s no use saying NO. Your experience in the past has taught you that the other person is in charge.

Not knowing your own boundaries

It may seem strange, but sometimes you literally don’t know what you want or don’t want. Simply because you haven’t yet developed a will of your own. You’ve never practiced. When someone says we’ll take a left turn, you go left. When someone wants you to go right you will. You obey. You’re a good kid. Your likes and dislikes are very well hidden. You live a robotic life, because you don’t know that you even have a choice.

Not knowing the boundaries of another person

Another result of child molestation and sexual abuse may be not knowing another person’s boundaries. Either consiously: Why should I care about yours when nobody ever respected mine. Or perhaps you just don’t realize that No means No because you’ve never experienced this simple fact.

Continuous abuse

Depending on your environment, you are likely to find a pattern of continuous abuse that suits you. Whether it’s drugs or drinking, violence, sexual abuse or trying to desperately please everybody around you, any of those will serve to prevent you from leading your own life. If you have no experience in protecting your boundaries, you’re hard pressed to enforce them when someone else pushes your buttons.

Healing from sexual abuse

The first step to heal is to stop the abuse. The original sexual abuse often ended years ago. But by not setting your boundaries you’re still allowing yourself to be abused. You’ve become identified with the victim role. The way out is to learn to feel what you want and what you don’t want. Practise setting boundaries, even very small ones. If you don’t, you will continue to be the victim.
Believe me, the first time you’ll say NO is absolutely terrifying AND enormously liberating! You’ve reclaimed your right to say NO.

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to cope, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com

I didn’t say NO

braam (18)I never said: NO!

Girl meets boy. Girl is 15 years old, boy is 18 years old. It’s a case of puppy love. The boy expects sex. The girl is naïve and in love. She gives him what he wants, even though she is not ready for sex.
She tries to tell him. His firm response is: “Don’t be a bore, sex is part of it and it’s fun.”

Is this sexual abuse?

According to the law: Absolutely! She’s legally a child, he’s legally an adult. In addition: his behavior is designed to make her feel powerless. When she tells him she doesn’t want to have sex, he manipulates her into doing what he wants. He doesn’t give her any choice. So yes, this is sexually abuse. It’s because of the very fact that children tend to be naïve and easily influenced, that the law protects them by being very clear: Sex with a minor is statutory rape.

This is sexual abuse:

Although the law is pretty clear about this, your feelings and experiences may be very different and confused. Ask yourself these questions if you’re not sure:

1- Was the sex consensual?
Sometimes sexual abuse is forced and rough. But most often it’s used by bribery and manipulation. Drawing you in with words like: “C’mon you like it too, don’t you?” He’ll give you presents and/or attention to make you feel you’re in this together.

2- Was there equality?
Obviously when you’re a child and your abuser is an adult it’s not an equal relationship. Take a 30 year old male with a 14 year old girl… But what if you’re 15 years old and your boyfriend is 18 years old, like in our example. Do you feel overpowered? Is he bigger/taller? Does he listen to you when you feel reluctant?

3- Does it matter who initiates sex?
No. You start to cuddle up and kiss, he takes over. At one point you don’t want to take it any further but can’t back out. When you feel there’s no point of return without unpleasant consequenses you’re being abused.

4- Does it make a difference if you enjoyed it?
Physically your body reacts. An abuser will try to make you feel good, so he can fool himself ( and you!)  into thinking you’re part of this. It still doesn’t mean you want this, though. So it’s still sexual abuse.

5- Does it make a difference if you had actual intercourse?
No. Sexual abuse happens in many different ways: He wants you to leave the door open when you shower. He wants to take pictures of you undressing. He forces a child to look at sexual images etc.

6- Does he tell you over and over again that you’re special?
On average an abusers victimizes 30 children…
Special??

Absolute certainty

Only when BOTH parties consciously decide they want to have sex it’s consensual.
A child cannot consciously say yes to sex. EVER.
An adult who has had a few too many drinks at a party cannot consciously say yes to sex.

When either one of you is not 100% sure from the beginning or during sex and the other tries to force you physically or emotionally, it’s sexual abuse.

Of course this story applies to men as well. I used girl-victim, man-abuser, but we all know it happens the other way around way too often as well!

 

For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com