Speaking Point: There is nothing glamorous about child abuse, even when celebrities discuss it openly. It’s heart breaking, terrifying, traumatic and has long lasting psychological, emotional and physical ramifications. None of us can comprehend why people would not report suspected child abuse. The usual reason is fear and intimidation. It’s the same way people react to being a witness to a car crash. Some run to the scene to help, while others, turn away because they just can’t cope. However, when it comes to protecting children, we should all suck it up, and just do it.
Speaking Point: Emotional isolation: Children who are abused can be very emotionally isolated. The abuser can force the child to keep the abuse a secret. If the abuser is a family member, the child may worry about what will happen to the family if the secret is told. The burden of the secret can be carried into adulthood.
Speaking Point: Self-blame and guilt: Children also feel they were to blame for the abuse. They feel that the abuse was punishment for something they did wrong. The abuser may, in fact, have said this was the case. Children usually assume that adults, who are in a position of authority, are right. The guilt and shame felt by the child can persist into adult life.
Speaking Point: Betrayed trust: As an abused child, trust is betrayed, perhaps by someone trusted by the family, or even by a family member. When this happens it can be difficult to trust again.
Speaking Point: Experiencing triggers: If you were sexually abused as a child, there may be things that trigger memories. These include not only obvious things like childbirth, Pap smears, or the way your partner touches you sexually, but also everyday things such as colors, kinds of furniture or vehicles, sounds, or smells that bring back memories or feelings associated with the abuse.
Speaking Point: Anger: Some adult survivors report problems with anger. It may be anger that is hard to direct, such as anger with fate or God. Adult survivors may feel angry with themselves for not being able to stop the abuse, angry with the abuser, or angry with parents or care givers for not protecting them.
Speaking Point: Fear and anxiety are normal responses to trauma, and so is feeling the need to be on guard against possible danger. Self-harming, addictive, compulsive, and suicidal behaviors:
Speaking Point: • Eating problems, including starving, bingeing, vomiting food, or overeating.
Speaking Point: • Sexual difficulties, including avoidance of sex, promiscuity, or experiencing fear and flashbacks, Being a workaholic, over exercising, or other compulsive behaviors.
Speaking Point: • Engaging in self-harm, including cutting and burning one's arms, legs, genitals or other parts of the body, Repeatedly thinking about wanting to die.