Sexual Abuse

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse is any kind of unwanted sexual contact. It could be that you are being touched in a way that you do not like, you are forced to have sex, you have to watch someone do something sexual, you have to touch another person in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable or it could even be someone encouraging you to look at sexual pictures or videos.

 

Effects of Sexual Abuse

Children who have been sexually abused may feel sad, hopeless, embarrassed, angry, depressed, shocked, not worthy of living, hurt and many more negative feelings. There may be changes in how he/she is eating and sleeping and how well he/she performs in school. Some of the physical effects are that a child’s body may hurt, swell and bleed, inside as well as outside. The damage can be worse if victims of sexual abuse do not get help. If this continues, the child can suffer from a low level of self esteem and issues with whom he/she can trust. Children who are sexually abused may find unhealthy ways to cope like smoking, doing drugs or hurting themselves because of feelings of not wanting to live anymore and they may not like how they see themselves.

 

Dealing with Sexual Abuse

Anyone can be a sexual abuser. Sometimes it can be someone that you know, someone that you love and trust. Your personal safety is important. Always be aware of where you are and your surroundings. Avoid dark corners, out of the way places or any place that seems dangerous to you. When using the internet, practice safe online methods, that is, do not agree to meet anyone who you met online, be selective in whom you add as friends and interact with and try to reduce the amount of personal information that you give out. For more on this read our article on Online Safety. If you feel uncomfortable with someone that you know because of how they behave or speak to you, let someone who you can trust know immediately like a relative, neighbour, teacher or guidance officer. You can even call us here at ChildLine at 800-4321 or 131. As a person, no one has the right to harm you in any way. Remember, sexual abuse is NEVER your fault.

 

Resources

http://www.preventchildabuse.org/advocacy/downloads/child_sexual_abuse.pdf

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/childsexualabuse.html

http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/child-sexual-abuse.asp

http://helpguide.org/mental/child_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm

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