A symptom of sexual abuse is often isolation and depression.

A symptom of sexual abuse is often isolation and depression.

This blog entry is about sexual abuse, especially in light of the recent Richmond High incident. There are many ways sexual abuse or molestation can manifest in both men and women. Here are some phrases to watch for that might be cause for deeper work:

– “I had sex when I was 4 with a female babysitter,” said by a male. If you’re male, and had “sex” before puberty especially by someone who was older or who had more authority, that isn’t sex – it’s abuse. As an adult, you may experience difficulty with intimacy and a tendency to sexualize your relationships.

-“I was molested when I was 8, but it’s no big deal, because it was my fault,” said by a woman. If you were touched inappropriately anytime but especially as a minor, it ISN’T OKAY. It doesn’t matter if you didn’t fight back, if you took some candy or toys you were being offered, or if it was from someone you really loved. It’s never okay and it is a big deal!

-“He was going to do it anyway, so I pleaded with him to use a condom,” said by a woman. Often what is taken as “consent” is really the mind’s way to assert some control. Wanting to use a condom, getting a child out of the room, or closing the blinds does not mean the victim is consenting, it means she’s doing whatever it takes to survive as best she can – trying to gain some control is a fight, flight or freeze traumatic response to the situation.

-“When I told my mom, she said all women go through stuff like that, so I thought it was normal,” said by a woman. Just because the adults around you couldn’t see the severity of the situation does not mean it doesn’t have long-term effects. Mothers who have been victims themselves can often be blind to what their daughters are going through, even if the daughters spell it out explicitly.

-“People laughed at me when I told them, because they don’t think a girl can be raped by another girl,” said by a woman. There is a misconception that same gender rape can’t happen, but it’s very real. “No” means “no” across the board.

Men and women who experience childhood sexual abuse or are survivors of rape often experience anxiety, guilt, nervousness, phobias, substance addictions, process addictions, sleep disturbances, depression, alienation, sexual dysfunction, physical pain, and aggression. They are also at a higher risk for future victimization and suicidal ideation.

If you or someone you know suffers from any or all of these symptoms, make sure to get help. I have a few openings for individuals or couples, especially during daytime hours.

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