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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    Incest And Child Sexual Abuse
    THE NORTHAMPTONSHIRE RAPE & INCEST CRISIS CENTRE
    Posted April 27, 2014


    Child Sexual Abuse
    This is a general term used to describe any sexual abusive act committed against a child. When an adult, using his or her ?adultness? or power and authority, takes advantage of a child?s vulnerable innocence, trust and dependency for his or her own sexual gratification and/or other adults.

    Often it commences as a ?game? with rewards, bribes and gifts. Perhaps continuing with threats and emotional blackmail not to ?tell?.

    It may start as:-

    Non-touching Sexual Abuse
    Such as sexual comments, language and inappropriate innuendo, genital exposure, voyeurism, exposure to pornographic material or the taking of sexual explicit photographs.

    It may lead to:-

    Physical Sexual Abuse
    Such as acts of fondling ? breasts or genital area, sexual kissing, masturbation, digital penetration, sodomy, oral or full sexual intercourse.

    The Effects of Incest
    The effects of incest can be devastating. Appropriate boundaries and moral codes become confused with conflict of emotions say, between loving and wanting a family unit, yet hating what the perpetrator has done.

    Children do not have the necessary adult skills of power and control to say ?No? or even understand that what is happening is wrong. Heads of family units, older brothers/sisters and their peers can, as perpetrators use their power (as an adult) to coerce a child into complying with their need for unlawful sexual gratification. It may start as a game. It may be continued with threats, for example the perpetrator may ?start? on a younger sister/brother. Gifts, bribes and blackmail may be used to silence. It then becomes impossible to confide in, say, a mother or a sister or brother. The repression of this traumatic experience can lead to long term effects on a survivor?s daily life.

    Emotional effects may be such as depression, guilt, anger, anxiety and low self-esteem. Behavioural effects such as self-harm, eating disorders, fear of intimacy and relationships, fears for their own children, alcohol or drug abuse.

    Physical effects can manifest themselves as continuing aches and pains, sleep disturbances such as not being able to sleep without the light on or the door open, nightmares, numbness and panic attacks.

    The effect incest has on trying to establish normal sexual relationships can generate phobias or aversions to certain sexual acts or positions or an inability to separate sex from affection which may lead to promiscuity or impaired arousal.

    The Effects of Child Sexual Abuse
    The effects of child sexual abuse, regardless of whether the assailant is related to the victim or not, is a minefield of trauma and emotional problems. This leaflet has been compiled in the hope that it will help those who have been subjected to incest or child sexual abuse to realise that they are not alone ? which, sad to say, they often feel they are. It is generally accepted that the true numbers of children who are, or have been, sexually abused will never be known, as along with other forms of sexual abuse it is often kept secret.

    Often adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse have been coerced into keeping the abuse a secret. This can be a lonely and isolating experience, bringing issues of fear, guilt, responsibility and ?not being believed?. Years can pass as consciously or unconsciously memories of abuse are raised in attempt to deny the reality of the pain. Sometimes the memories can be awakened by specific life events such as the death of the abuser, the birth of a child or that child reaching a certain age. Specific sounds, smells, places and even programmes on television may act as a trigger. Nightmares, fragmented flashbacks and panic attacks occur, with difficulties surrounding issues of trust, sexuality, despondency, self-image, anger and betrayal.

    Some survivors also carry the burden of shame and self-blame as their recollection of enjoying the attention, or, for example being singled out for inappropriate affection, seem now as an adult very wrong.

    But it is important to remember the adult survivor was just a child with no adult power or boundaries; and to honour that child for surviving.

    The victim frequently feels guilt because in some ways they may (wrongly) feel that they encouraged the abuse. He/She may feel that they went with the assailant willingly. He/She may feel guilty because they did nothing to stop the abuse. In later years he/she may feel they could have told someone and had the abuse stopped. He/She may even feel guilty because as an adult he/she feels they should hate the abuser but may still love and care for them.

    Looking at these areas of guilt realistically, it is easy too see how they can have a profound effect on a victim of child sexual abuse. Generally sexual abuse begins gradually and may not at first appear threatening for the child involved. The child not being aware of what is happening will have very little reason for not returning to the abuser ? indeed in many cases there will have been no alternative. With all child sexual abuse there will have been an element of blackmail, threat, intimidation and bribery ? any of which would ensure that an adult felt too frightened to seek help ? let alone a child.

    As the years pass, not only will the child develop, but so will the assailant ? a person who forced the child to take part in sexual abuse will get older and will appear not only less threatening (not applicable in all cases); but may appear vulnerable and therefore love/hate emotions will perhaps deepen.

    Fear will often surface when the victim has children of their own, they may worry that their children (male and female) will suffer as they did. He/She may be afraid that if they do not disclose what happened in the past they will not be believed and that the family will be thrown into turmoil and that he/she and not the abuser will be the cause. There may be anger directed towards himself/herself or at other family members (especially a mother) because the abuse was not stopped. It may be that he/she knows or believes that family members knew about the abuse. Depression may be due to not being able to cope with feelings that he/she can?t understand or for not having control over his/her memories.

    All the above can lead to confusion and despondency and there is usually a reluctance to talk about child sexual abuse because it was such a personal assault. However, bringing the fears and feelings out into the open in a safe environment can help a victim to rationalise them and to understand that the offences were committed on him/her and NOT by him/her.

    He/She was the victim ? with appropriate support they can turn that around and become a SURVIVOR.

    These are just a few examples, each survivor of incest or child sexual abuse has a different story to tell.

  2. #2
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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    Just reading the start of this is very helpful in gaining more understanding of myself. I hope to have the courage to read the rest very soon. Thanks for the post.

  3. #3
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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    I know this is not true, but sometimes I think psychological or emotional abuse is worse than physical and sexual abuse. It is easier to hide and easier to blame the victim. If you physically or sexually abuse someone you leave physical evidence. Most of the time the victim remembers. The psychological abuse gets buried and confused and then later you wonder if it really happened the way you remember. Did my mother, father, brother or sister really say that to me?

    I suffered some physical and sexual abuse at the hands of my older siblings, (and maybe my mother) but mostly it was psychological and emotional. I remember now, but I'm 60. For years I refused to accept it and thought it was normal. Then a couple of things happened. I was able to witness my elderly mother attempting to be abusive and recognized it. Then a friend of mine shared some memories of my family which brought back more memories.

  4. #4
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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkside View Post
    I know this is not true, but sometimes I think psychological or emotional abuse is worse than physical and sexual abuse
    I remember reading that sentence when you first posted it,and I was upset,thinking no way! But,for myself,I am finding it to be true.I think I am having a harder time working through the emotional abuse than I am the sexual abuse.

    Don't get me wrong,the sexual abuse is hard to deal with and work through,but the emotional abuse feels like it has scarred my soul.It goes to a deeper level inside for me.

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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    I suppose every person's experience would be different and for you guys, the emotional scarring could have been worse. Definitely not the case for me though. Then again, I wasn't ever emotionally abused. That has presented interesting challenges on it's own. Sometimes it can be very confusing to remember a parent being very nurturing and sexual with you. It results in some very blurry lines.. a lot of confusion.

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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    After reading this again I would say that emotional and psychological abuse almost always accompanies physical and sexual abuse. (Blackmail, threats, denial, etc.) So in that way the physical and sexual abuse is worse than purely psychological abuse or manipulation. It's just that the recovery from the psychological abuse is so difficult - at least it has been for me - because there is no direct evidence it ever happened at all. I constantly question my memory of it and wonder if it was me rather than them.

    I grew up in a household with 2 abusive older siblings, a very sick mother (most likely a narcissist, but definitely extremely selfish) and a father who was in way over his head. He was cruel at times (most of the time it was an attempt at discipline) but he had a heart and a conscience. He could be nurturing and loving where the other 3 could not. I've just realized in the past few years that he struggled dealing with what was going on around him. He could have divorced my mother (like I did my wife) but instead he sought counseling help and stayed with my mother. Late in his life my mother's powers of denial and lack of responsibility (it was always someone else fault) wore him down and he mentally checked out. It's funny, but at the time she managed to convince my sister and I that it was my father's fault and that he had developed dementia. She worked very hard to build allies for her view of things.

    All this to say how powerful psychological abuse can be but when you add it to physical or sexual abuse it is mind numbing.

  7. #7
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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    I once told my therapist that what I went through wouldn't have been so bad if I had been loved,if my parents would have told me and showed me they loved me.He said if they had loved me then the abuse wouldn't have happened in the first place.

    I find it all just so confusing actually.

  8. #8
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    Re: Incest And Child Sexual Abuse

    I think that emotional incest can be very damaging over time.

    A child loses sense of self, or never developed one, or the Self is damaged. This can cause a whole list of disorders...
    (Formerly JollyGreenJellyBean)

    My dog is a human whisperer.

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