Sexual abuse does not have to be between a child and a ‘grownup’. It can, for example, be an older sibling who abuses you. Or it might have been a child of a similar age forcing you to do things against your will.
It is now recognised that sexual abuse does not even have to involve physicality to be extraordinarily damaging to a child and the future adult they will become. Sexual abuse can can be any situation where a child is exploited for the sexual pleasure of another.
Called ‘non contact’ or ‘covert’ sexual abuse, this can be things like an adult who constantly exposed their body to you, forced you to expose your body, showed you pornography, or an adult who constantly talked about sexual things to you.
Something like a child whose father always talks about her body being too sexual when she is going through puberty, or whose mother strips her and makes her stand naked in her room for hours as ‘punishment’ for ‘being bad’, can both result in the same symptoms of other forms of sexual abuse.
For professional support from a qualified therapist, you can visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to book counselling easily and quickly, worldwide. Appointments are available online via Skype, by phone or in person.
Wouldn’t I remember it if I was abused?
Victims of sexual abuse often do not remember the experience. In fact having no memory of certain parts of your childhood is often an indicator trauma of some form took place.
Psychoanalytical psychotherapy came up with the still popular idea that when things are too traumatic for the conscious brain they are delegated to the hidden ‘unconscious’ mind. Of course nowadays we understand the brain is not composed of clearly marked ‘closets’, and that trauma affects the brain in far more complicated ways.
So have I been sexually abused? Knowing the signs.
Sexual abuse can cause many issues, not just in your behaviours, but in your relationships, your sex life, the way you treat yourself, and even in your physical wellbeing.
The symptoms above are comprehensive, and many are also symptoms and signs of various other psychological issues. So the first thing to do is not to panic.
Unearthing previous trauma can lead to falling into a ‘vortex’ of research and worry. You can spend days or weeks in front of the computer or on forums and lose sight of the rest of your life. Try to stay balanced and practise good self-care until you can find support.
If you do suspect you were sexually abused as a child, you might find yourself suddenly experiencing large waves of anger and fury. It is highly advised you don’t react by immediately contacting and accusing all the people who might have abused you.
You will be doing this from a vulnerable place, and can put yourself at risk of attack, psychological manipulation, and emotional abuse. You might even in the process alienate yourself from other family and friends whose support you count on.
Again, seek professional support first. A qualified mental health professional will help you process the experience and reach a more stable place. Then you will be better prepared to decide if, how, and when you will approach those involved.
At Harley Therapy all of our therapists have a minimum of five years of experience working with clients just like you. They create a warm, safe environment for you to work in, and can be booked at five London locations.
For affordable counselling worldwide, please visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to book therapy by Skype, phone or in person with our qualified, professional counsellors and psychotherapists. We have appointments available seven days a week, so whenever you’re ready, we’re here to help you book therapy easily and quickly, wherever you are.
We are pleased that after 12 years of operating London’s largest group of psychotherapy clinics we are now able to connect you with high quality therapists on a more affordable and accessible basis.
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