Checking a few items on the list…

There is a HUGE cost to society when a child is sexually abused.  Children become adults.  Sadly,  not all make it to adulthood but for those who do, there are numerous ways that the abuse manifests in adults.

Today I find myself thinking about the many, many ways that I have personally been affected.  I am also thinking about how what I experience(d) has affected other people in my life.  How my depression, addiction, anxiety, panic disorders, compulsive behaviours, eating disorders, truancy, PTSD etc.etc. etc.. (yes there is more) has affected the people closest to me.  How much I have hurt others by my self- abuse.  My inability to have a healthy love relationship.  The pain I caused through my years of addiction.  (Thankfully I am stronger now.  Mostly okay.  Self- aware.)

Take a look at the list below.  When you do so, think about the toll this takes on the individual who has been abused.  Think about the cost to society.

When you are finished, do me a favour.  Think about PREVENTING this from happening to another child. 

Common Symptoms in Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse:

  • Physical Presentations
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms/distress
  • Musculoskeletal complaints
  • Obesity, eating disorders
  • Insomnia, sleep disorders
  • Pseudocyesis
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Asthma, respiratory ailments
  • Addiction
  • Chronic headache
  • Chronic back pain
  • Psychologic and Behavioral Presentations
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms
  • Dissociative states
  • Repeated self-injury
  • Suicide attempts
  • Lying, stealing, truancy, running away
  • Poor contraceptive practices
  • Compulsive sexual behaviors
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Somatizing disorders
  • Eating disorders
  • Poor adherence to medical recommendations
  • Intolerance of or constant search for intimacy
  • Expectation of early death

Although there is no single syndrome that is universally present in adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, there is an extensive body of research that documents adverse short- and long-term effects of such abuse. To appropriately treat and manage survivors of CSA, it is useful to understand that survivors’ symptoms or behavioral sequelae often represent coping strategies employed in response to abnormal, traumatic events. These coping mechanisms are used for protection during the abuse or later to guard against feelings of overwhelming helplessness and terror. Although some of these coping strategies may eventually lead to health problems, if symptoms are evaluated outside their original context, survivors may be misdiagnosed or mislabeled (5).

In addition to the psychologic distress that may potentiate survivors’ symptoms, there is evidence that abuse may result in biophysical changes. For example, one study found that, after controlling for history of psychiatric disturbance, adult survivors had lowered thresholds for pain (13). It also has been suggested that chronic or traumatic stimulation (especially in the pelvic or abdominal region) heightens sensitivity, resulting in persistent pain such as abdominal and pelvic pain or other bowel symptoms (14, 15).

Although responses to sexual abuse vary, there is remarkable consistency in mental health symptoms, especially depression and anxiety. These mental health symptoms may be found alone or more often in tandem with physical and behavioral symptoms. More extreme symptoms are associated with abuse onset at an early age, extended or frequent abuse, incest by a parent, or use of force (4). Responses may be mitigated by such factors as inherent resiliency or supportive responses from individuals who are important to the victim (4). Even without therapeutic intervention, some survivors maintain the outward appearance of being unaffected by their abuse. Most, however, experience pervasive and deleterious consequences (4).

The primary aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse have been divided into seven distinct, but overlapping categories (16):

  • Emotional reactions
  • Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Self-perceptions
  • Physical and biomedical effects
  • Sexual effects
  • Interpersonal effects
  • Social functioning

Above taken from:


3 thoughts on “Checking a few items on the list…

  1. zulu127 says:

    Unfortunately I can put a check beside far too many of those items that apply to me. [ btw, thanks for the judicious editing of that paper.]

  2. darkside54 says:

    The effects on others can be just as painful, and hard for many to understand. Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse is needed. We need to make the public more aware of the overall implications.. Thank you for posting this.

  3. […] are sexually abused by people they know, trust and love.   I spoke of the damage done, the consequences of abuse and shattered a few myths.  The taboo subject of childhood sexual abuse needs a voice.  The […]

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