Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse

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Adult Victims of Childhood Abuse

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Posted By DAM Firm | December 18 2019 | Sexual Abuse

Over the last few years, this country has been grappling with revelations of childhood sexual abuse. Many instances of this abuse have occurred at the hands of people that the children should have been able to trust. The perpetrators are often in positions of trust, responsible for a child’s well-being. This includes teachers, members of the clergy, coaches, and even family members.

How Does This Abuse Affect Victims?

Adults who were the victims of childhood sexual abuse often experience emotional trauma for their entire lives. Any survivor of childhood sexual abuse can suffer from symptoms related to their abuse. More extreme symptoms are often seen in victims who suffered from abuse:

  • At an early age
  • For extended or frequent periods
  • From a parent
  • Through forceful means

Physical Effects

Physical effects that adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse can include:

  • Chronic and diffuse pain, especially of the abdominal and pelvic region
  • Lower pain thresholds
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Self-neglect
  • Eating disorders

Studies have shown that adults who were abused as children are 4 to 5 more times likely to abuse alcohol or other illicit substances. They are also more likely to smoke, be less physically active, and are more frequently severely obese.

Sexual Effects

There are various sexual effects the victims of childhood sexual abuse can suffer from in adulthood. This can include disturbances of arousal, desire, and orgasm due to the Association between sexual activity with violation and pain.

Studies indicate that survivors of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to have 50 or more sexual partners over their lifetime. They are also more likely to contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and engage in risk-taking behaviors that increase their risk of contracting HIV.

Certain gynecological problems are more common among survivors of childhood sexual abuse. This includes pelvic pain, dyspareunia, vaginismus, and vaginitis.

Interpersonal Effects

Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are often less likely to be skilled at self-protection methods. They may struggle with issues of low self-esteem, which may have been the result of negative messages they received from their abusers when they were children. This can lead them to them being victimized again in adulthood. Many adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse are repeatedly victimized in adulthood due to their general vulnerability in risky and exploitative situations by untrustworthy people.

What Survivors Can Do

For some adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, there are minimal effects on their functioning in adult life. However, others will experience physical, sexual, psychological, and behavioral symptoms as a result of what happened to them. Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse must seek help from trained professionals.

Many victims do not feel comfortable coming forward and speaking out against their abusers. However, adult victims of childhood sexual abuse should be aware that they may be able to file civil lawsuits against the perpetrators of their abuse. While no amount of compensation will erase what happened, a civil case may help bring closure to the situation.

You should speak with a skilled childhood sexual abuse attorney about your options moving forward. An attorney will be able to guide you towards those who may be able to help with the effects you are experiencing. No matter what, the abuse you in curd as a child was not your fault and it is never too late to start the healing process.

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