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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

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Feeling emotionally numb or dissociative

  • Chronic feelings of isolation and despair

  • Depression and anxiety

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • 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

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.








Statistics sexual abuse Australia
Sexual Abuse Counselling

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.


-Karen Salansohn -

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