Aftereffects of Sexual Abuse/Incest Overview

The definition of sexual abuse and incest states that sexual abuse and incest are more than sexual acts–they affect all aspects of the survivor’s life. The manifestation of sexual abuse and incest take many forms of abuse that occur during childhood. There are the violence and violation of physical abuse, the self-esteem consequences of emotional abuse, and often the actual or perceived abandonment of the non-perpetrator(s) or parent(s) and the confusion and chaos caused within a dysfunctional family environment. Sexual abuse is the most devastating form of abuse a child can endure. It robs the child of a childhood, of innocence, of ownership of his or her body, and of the potential for his or her healthy sexual development. It damages trust and disrupts bonding. It isolates the child in an unpredictable, emotionally confusing bond with the perpetrator who has security through secrecy and threats. In short, sexual abuse and incest damages the child.s mind, body and spirit.

Every aspect of the child’s physical, emotional, mental, behavioral, sexual, and spiritual self is compromised. The capacity for the child to relate in healthy ways is affected. Although there are common denominators within the various aspects of the effects of sexual abuse, I will address each separately.