Nov 2014: A Difficult Post on Childhood Sexual Abuse

Childhood Sexual Abuse

Important: if you have been a victim of Sexual Abuse, please consider how this blog post may bring forth distressing or upsetting feelings and responses. Therefore, if you experience any distress of any kind due to the subject matter, please do not continue reading.

Recently, I was reminded again of how prevalent Childhood Sexual Abuse is in our society. Thus, I felt compelled to bring awareness to it and hopefully to spur myself and others on toward participating in healing and prevention practices related to CSA. This includes noticing symptomology in children and undertaking responsible action so that children can be protected from this devastating experience.

Where Is CSA Most Prevalent?

While we might like to think otherwise, “Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA) occurs across all socioeconomic, educational, racial and ethnic groups. It is estimated that 20-25% of women and 5-15% of men will have experienced Contact CSA” (i.e., forced intercourse or oral-genital contact) before reaching adulthood. These figures are estimated to be much higher due to under-reporting and threats by perpetrators and do not include other forms of violence or non-contact sexual abuse.

What Are the Known Risk Factors for CSA?

  • Being female
  • Being 12 years or older
  • Having a physical disability
  • Parental absence
  • Parental impairment (mental health issues, drug use)

Who Are the Perpetrators of CSA?

  • A parent or stepparent (majority)
  • A stranger (5-15%)
  • A relative (33%)
  • A man or male adolescent

What Are the Main Symptoms for CSA in Children?

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Dissociation
  • Low self-esteem
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anger
  • Stomach aches
  • Suicide attempts
  • School refusal
  • Headaches

With this information in mind, please be mindful of the children in your life. And, as always, if you would like to talk about anything on this blog or any other topic, including making a counselling appointment please contact me through this website.

Peace,
Shari van Spronsen, RCC
shari@secondstorycounselling.com

If you are concerned about CSA for a child you know, the Ministry of Family and Development has a confidential and anonymous phone line to talk about any suspected or known CSA or abuse of any kind.

Link to MCFD website:
http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/child_protection/pdf/handbook_action_child_abuse.pdf

If you are a victim of CSA and/or are experiencing any kind of violence, please consider meeting with a counsellor. Here is one option:

Link to BC Association of Clinical Counsellors:
http://bc-counsellors.org/find-a-counsellor

References for information cited in the blog:
http://childhealthpolicy.ca/wp-content/themes/chpc/pdf/RR-14-06-full-report.pdf
https://www.childwelfare.gov/survey/disclaimerAskme.cfm

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