Effects of Abuse
Sexual abuse can make you suffer from any number of ailments, psychologically and mentally, ranging from low self esteem to self harm and suicidal attempts. People suffer in a variety of ways which may include, low self-esteem, insomnia, nightmares, fear of the dark, fear of being alone, agoraphobia, physical illness, shame, guilt, bulimia, anorexia, drug and alcohol abuse, hyper-vigilance, anger, wearing lots of clothes, isolation, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and many more symptoms.
The trauma of sexual abuse can extend into the whole family and any new relationships that the survivor makes can be affected.
Sexual abuse is a crime although very few people report it; instead they suffer in silence for years as if the guilt belongs to them instead of the abuser.
Sexual abuse can have profound effects below are facts and figures from research projects:
Adults who were sexually abused in childhood are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. One study found that almost half (48.9%) of childhood sexual abuse victims became victims of a violent partner as an adult. This compared to 17.6% on non victims of childhood sexual abuse.
(Briere J and Runtz M. 1988. "Post Sexual abuse trauma". In G E Wyatt &G J Powell (Eds), "Lasting effects of child sexual abuse" (pp85-99) Newberry Park, CA:Sage.)
Drug and Alcohol Dependence
A survey of workers at 47 drug addiction agencies in Scotland estimated that 50% of their clients had been abused in childhood.
(Wilson J (1998b) "Abuse and misuse - The ultimate hidden population". Druglink (ISSD) : 13(4) )
50-60% of psychiatric inpatients and 40-60% of outpatients were physically and/or sexually abused as children.
(Jacobson A& Richardson B 1987 "Assault experiences of 100 psychiatric inpatients - Evidence of the need for routine enquiry": American Journal of Psychiatry: 144: 908-913, Briere j & Runtz M (1987) "Post sexual abuse trauma - Data and implication for clinical practice" Journal of Interpersonal Violence: 2 :367-379.)
Sexually abused young men are amongst the highest risk groups for youth suicide.
(O'Leary, T & Pratt R (2003) "Suicide Prevention - Homophobia & Suicide prevention" in Respect, Protect, Connect by SECASA.)
How common is sexual abuse?
Nationally, there are 2,500 children on the child protection register for sexual abuse
Below the iceberg:
From prevalence studies, there would be an estimated 1,100,000 girls (21%), and 490,000 boys (11%), in England who have been sexually abused.
For children, we are probably only aware of approximately 1 in 800 cases of child sexual abuse.
(From "Abuse: The Hidden Reality Patterns of violence and abuse. Impact on Health and well being". Dr Jo Nurse Consultant in Public Health, Dept. Of Health)
Family Matters helped 4,000 people last year, nearly a 1000 of those for 1:1 support and therapy alone.