Childhood Sexual Abuse: How the past affects the present
Rough estimates put one in three girls and one in six boys in the US at risk for being sexually abused. But exact figures are hard to assess because most children delay reporting their abuse until later in adulthood or never report it at all. Many of the women I’ve led through healing were not believed when they did report it, or worse, they were punished for sharing the family secret.
This is a difficult topic to write about and a hard topic to read as well. The thought of anyone using a child to gratify their own perverse sexual desires is an incomprehensible evil. It is an evil that has disgraced, destroyed and devalued the human race. But it’s real. It happens and the numbers of those affected by it are growing. Maybe it has happened to you.
Some of the questions I’ll attempt to address in this series are:
- How do you know if you were sexually abused as a child?
- If you were abused, how do you know if it’s still impacting you today?
- How do I know if I need healing?
- Why do I struggle with sexual intimacy?
I understand that you may want to stop reading at this point. If you have memories of sexual abuse, it can be painful to revisit those memories and the emotions associated with them. Or maybe, you are one that has no memory, but you have a ‘feeling’ that you were abused. You occasionally get an image of an event, a person, or of yourself in an uncomfortable situation and you wonder. Perhaps there is someone in your past that causes negative emotions to surface whenever you think of them or have to be around them. Again you wonder, but don’t know for sure. Maybe you don’t want to know.
If so, I understand. What you’re feeling is typical. You’ve survived until now by shoving the abuse, the memories, that ‘wondering feeling’ deep down so that you could get on with your life. Or you have minimized the abuse you do remember by saying, “it really was not that big of a deal”. But lately it has been surfacing unexpectedly. You’re no longer able to keep it buried. It’s having an impact on your dreams, your marriage, your parenting, your ability to trust and to be intimate. Perhaps you need answers to questions like, “Am I this way because of what happened to me as a child?”
But there may be another reason you’d rather not keep reading. Shame. The shame that whispers, “You’re to blame. You didn’t say no. You asked for it. You wanted it. You allowed it to continue. It’s. All. Your. Fault!” I’ve led hundreds of women through sexual healing, and more than half of them experienced some form of sexual abuse or trauma, as in rape. And every single one of them had at some point believed that they were to blame.
It’s a lie, a horrible, evil lie! You were not to blame. It is not your fault. You were a child. Children have no sexual desire, unless that sexual desire is awakened against their will. I’m praying for you. Praying that you won’t let the shame, fear or the lies keep you from claiming the truth. God’s truth is this: you are not alone. It wasn’t your fault. You can be healed. There is hope.
For further reading in this series:
Beauty for Ashes by Joyce Meyer
On The Threshold of Hope by: Diane Langberg
The Wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by: Dan Allender
List of Barbara’s Books Barbara covers many issues in her books including Sexual Abuse and much more. Titles include: Break Free From Your Sexual Past, Invisible Bond, Kiss Me Again: Restoring Lost Intimacy in Marriage