advertisement
Home » Ask the Therapist » Relationships » Sexuality » Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexual Abuse

Asked by on with 1 answer:

I’m having flashbacks of being involved in sexual activity from the age of around 7, the boy was 4 years older than me. I remember waking up to him touching me during a sleepover and telling me to be quiet. I didn’t know what he was doing and was too scared to say anything.

This sparked a long series of events where this boy would force me to perform sexual acts, he would tell me that he would tell all my friends that I was homosexual if I didn’t perform the sexual act. Of course now I realise that he should have been more scared than me, but I was young and I didn’t understand.

I have wrestled with this problem for years, even convincing myself that I wanted it and it was okay and it could not have been abuse. It might sound silly, but is this classed as sexual abuse? He was only a few years older than me, but I remember a constant feeling of disgust and shame, and that has followed me into adult life.

As a result, I have depression, anxiety, I don’t have relationships sexually as the idea of sex to me is shameful, I believe this has also led to me becoming addicted to narcotics as I often need to illegally purchase sleeping medication or when I’m trying to do normal everyday tasks I turn to cocaine to get me through the day.

I need to know whether I’m right in thinking that this was abuse and that it could be the reason why I’m now being so self-destructive, I don’t want to seek help from a doctor unless I have more certainty as I’m extremely embarrassed and ashamed.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you.

Child Sexual Abuse

Answered by on -

A.

Your questions are not silly. You are a victim of sexual abuse. Please don’t think that you are not. What you described is abuse. The perpetrator doesn’t have to be an adult to be a perpetrator. He forced you to do things that you didn’t want to do and used power and control to scare you into keeping quiet. That is abuse.

Feelings of shame and embarrassment are common aftereffects of childhood sexual abuse. Those feelings often prevent people from seeking help. When you think about it, there’s nothing to feel shameful or embarrassed about. You didn’t do anything wrong. This was something that was forced upon you, through no fault of your own. You had no choice. You were a child. You were a victim.

You stated that you do not want to seek help unless you are certain that the abuse is the reason why you are struggling. Why? That is an unusual way of thinking. Typically, people consult professionals to understand what’s wrong. It’s not a prerequisite that they know what is wrong before the consult.

You wouldn’t use that same logic for any other type of problem. For instance, it would be odd to think that in order to see a dentist for tooth pain, that you must be certain of the cause of the pain before the consultation. That is an irrational way of thinking and likely linked to your feelings of shame and embarrassment.

You stated that you have depression, anxiety, sexual issues and are using drugs in order to get through the day. That is not a healthy way to live. It doesn’t matter why you want help or what has led you to ask for the help. The only thing that matters is that you get help.

Shame and embarrassment seem to be clouding your judgment. They are thinking traps that put you at risk of stagnating in life. Fight past those cognitive restraints, do the right thing and consult a therapist. The sooner you begin seeking help, the sooner you can overcome them and get on with your life. These are all treatable problems but not if you continue to succumb to irrational ideas of why you are undeserving of help. Thank you for your question. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

Child Sexual Abuse

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2019). Child Sexual Abuse. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/04/16/child-sexual-abuse-2/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 13 Apr 2019
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 13 Apr 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.