Sexual Abuse


Sexual Abuse refers to any form of coerced sexual interaction between an individual and a person in a position of power over that individual.

The term incest refers to sexual contact with any person who may be considered an inappropriate sexual partner because of blood ties or social ties to the individual and his or her family.

Such persons are usually people in a position of power and from whom a child would normally expect protection and affection.

Abusive sexual contact may include degrees of exhibitionism to intercourse. The impact on a child is usually so severe that it fits the criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and may even cause delayed symptoms of PTSD later during life resulting in Chronic Stress Disorder.

Research indicated that involving violence and coercive strategies and perpetrated by valued and trusted family members over extended periods of time is likely to cause the most damaging consequences.

Symptoms displayed by victims of Sexual abuse include dissociative responses, flashbacks, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, memory problems, hyper alertness, irrational guilt and intensification of symptoms when exposed to experiences that even symbolically resemble original trauma. (Briere, 1989). The same symptoms are experienced by rape victims.

I’ve found in my practice that clients often present with other symptoms such as depression, anxiety or intense anger, and only after exploring childhood experiences and schemas the underlying cause of undisclosed or untreated childhood sexual abuse (CSA) explains the presenting problems.

The therapeutic process is often difficult and painful, but may free the client from destructive memories and irrational beliefs about her/himself, significant others and the world.

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