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5 Ways Sexual Abuse Can Impact People

Posted by on December 10, 2020 in Relationships & Sex with 0 Comments

It seems like there are too many sexual abuse news stories these days. The Catholic church has had to pay victims millions of dollars, and the Boy Scouts of America has as well. These are organizations that should have nurtured their young participants, but instead, they scarred many of them for life.

There are many ways that sexual abuse survivors might feel the impact for the rest of their lives. We’ll take a moment to discuss a few of those right here.

You Might Abandon Your Religion

When someone suffers sexual abuse, they often seek compensation from the individual or organization who perpetrated it or allowed it to go on. They sometimes face limitation statutes, though. For instance, in California, you must begin civil court legal proceedings within eight years of reaching the majority age.

Even if you suffered sexual abuse and you’re able to successfully receive monetary compensation for it, that does not mean you’ll ever get your innocence back. If a clergy member harmed you, that might mean:

  • You’ll turn away from your faith
  • You’ll question why this happened to you

Faith is something that you feel. If your parents or family bring you up in a particular religion, you might feel inclusion there, and you might feel a deity’s presence. Alternatively, you may decide that religion is not for you, and as an adult, you might seek a different spiritual path.

If a clergy member molested you, that might scar you for life. You might try to get over it in different ways, and maybe you will fully or partially succeed. However, you might no longer feel that particular deity’s love or that you’re a part of their plan at all.

You might take up a different religion, or you may become an atheist or an agnostic. What happened might have tainted that particular religion for you.

You Could Have a Hard Time Trusting People

When someone sexually molests you, you probably trusted them, and they betrayed that trust. That’s hard when the person:

  • Should have protected you
  • Was an older, influential figure

Whether it was a family friend, scout leader, religious figure, coach, teacher, etc., you might have liked them once, but then they revealed their predatory aspect. Later in your life, you might grapple with trust issues that may never completely go away.

You may not be completely able to trust your significant other. You may partner with someone and try to be exclusive with them, but their motivation might be a tricky issue for you. You might feel like they’re with you for your money, that they’re cheating on you, or they don’t love you or care about you as much as they claim.

It might take you years of therapy to get to a point where you have a healthy relationship with your spouse or partner and the other important people in your life. You’ll have to work through your feelings, and hopefully, those close to you will be patient while that happens.

You Might Have Drug or Alcohol Issues

If someone molests you, it leaves psychological scars. Even for the strongest or most capable person, that is true.

If you’re in this position, you might struggle with your memories and buried feelings as an adult. They may haunt you, and you’re unable to drive them away fully.

If that’s true, you might use drugs or alcohol to keep your feelings at bay. When you’re drunk or high, you might be able to forget them for a time, so you could face addiction.

If so, you will have to come up with other, healthier pain-coping methods. You might need to go into AA or NA, or similar programs. Talking with others who have been through what you have might help you.

You Could Have Intimacy Issues

If someone molested you in the past, you will carry that with you. You might marry someone or cohabitate with them years later, and you might want to have a physical relationship with them.

You may be able to do that with no problems. If you’re in the act, though, you might have a flashback to what took place so many years ago.

You might withdraw from your spouse or partner at that time. That might surprise them, especially if you have not disclosed your past.

You will have to figure out how much you want to tell them. You may want to keep it to yourself entirely. However, many relationships feature physical intimacy as a significant part of them.

A time might come when you’ll have to tell your spouse or partner about what happened to you. Doing so will not be easy. You will have to trust them and doing so will be a major leap of faith on your part.

You Might Consider Suicide or Self-Harm

Those who someone abused when they were younger often think about self-harm, or they carry it out. You might cut yourself, burn yourself, or engage in similar behaviors.

You also might think about suicide often. You may think about how you would do it. You might even get a gun or pills, believing that the option is there for you if the pain ever grows too great.

If this happens, you should seek help. You might talk to your spouse or partner, your siblings, parents, or other family members, or your therapist. If you are considering killing yourself, you have reached a crisis point, and you may need someone to intervene.

You should remember there are people in your life who love you and care about you. A horrible person might have done something to you, but not everyone is like that. There are good, kind people in the world and they make life worth living.

That’s not always the easiest thing to remember, but you have to try. If you give up and attempt to take your own life or sink deeply into depression, you let your abuser continue controlling you.

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