The effects of childhood sexual abuse in adulthood
Being sexually abused as a child or young person can have long-lasting consequences in many areas of adult life. The violation of personal boundaries and betrayal experienced during childhood sexual abuse can impact a survivor’s sense of self, safety, health and capacity to trust. Common difficulties experienced by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse include:
Feeling like you are constantly in ‘crisis mode’
Symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks and/or nightmares
Intense emotions such as anger, fear, shame, humiliation, guilt & self-blame
Interpersonal and relationship difficulties
Intimacy issues and avoidance
Negative self-perception and low self-worth
Feeling emotionally numb or dissociative
Chronic feelings of isolation and despair
Depression and anxiety
Re-experiencing abusive patterns in adult relationships
People pleasing behaviours or interpersonal boundary issues
Can I recover from childhood sexual abuse?
Although sexual abuse is a traumatic and life-altering experience with effects that are varied, complex and enduring, with professional support adult survivors can heal from their childhood trauma and live fulfilling lives.
Many survivors feel a misplaced sense of responsibility for their abuse. Counselling can help you to work
through the shame and issues of responsibility and self- blame.
Danni Murfett at Sexual Trauma Counselling Perth is a highly skilled and
compassionate counsellor with experience working with adult survivors
of childhood sexual abuse in both individual and group therapy settings.
As a specialist sexual abuse counsellor Danni will assist you to reduce the
impact of your childhood sexual abuse and empower you to live a life filled
with hope, trust and fulfilling relationships. She is trauma-informed and
incorporates a number of evidence based therapeutic approaches in her work with survivors.
Sexual abuse is a traumatic experience that can leave survivors with long-term physical, emotional and psychological pain. Unfortunately, it is common for survivors to experience a deeply felt sense of humiliation, shame and powerlessness following their abuse which can prevent them from accessing the support that they need for recovery.
What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse occurs when a person in a position of power or authority, or in a caring role, chooses to abuse their position of trust by involving another in sexual activity (i.e. teachers, sports coaches, parents, foster parents, medical providers).
Childhood Sexual Abuse
Childhood sexual abuse specifically refers to situations where an adult, adolescent or older child uses their power or authority to involve a child in sexual activity. This may include the exploitive use of children in sexual acts or prostitution, exposing children to pornographic material or talking in a sexually explicit way that is not age or developmentally appropriate.
Unfortunately, childhood sexual abuse is not a rare occurrence in Australia with research estimating that as many as 1 in 3 girls and
1 in 6 boys are sexually abused by the time they turn 18. Sadly,
due to the secretive nature of childhood sexual abuse and the shame and manipulative strategies often employed by perpetrators,
disclosures are often delayed or withheld, resulting in a protracted period of abuse for the child.