Parenting

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Impact of Child Sexual Abuse on Victims



The damages caused by child sexual abuse last a long time without the proper healing. Dr. Phil explains the impact on victims:

  • Damage to self-concept/self-esteem, feeling “dirty,” or like “damaged goods”
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, despair and anger 
  • Belief that sexuality/physicality is “all I have to offer”
  • High risk of promiscuity, hyper-sexuality, sexual identity problems or negative sexual encounters 
  • High risk of teen pregnancy
  • High risk of aggressive and suicidal behavior 
  • High risk of substance abuse and other acting out or high-risk behavior
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Disrupted sleep patterns and nightmares
  • Regression to more infantile behavior (bed-wetting, etc.)
  • Problems with memory, cognition and attentiveness
  • Change in appetite or eating behaviors
  • Inability to trust others
  • Controlling behaviors or involvement in exploitative relationships
  • Powerlessness, vulnerability and avoidant responses, such as running away
  • Tendency to withdraw from relationships and society
  • A fear of intimacy or commitment
  • Paranoia/hyper-vigilance/phobias
  • Re-victimization
  • Higher incidence of mental and emotional disorders, such as anxiety, depression or eating disorders

For more information, read: Child Sexual Abuse Warning Signs and Resources.