HFM Christian Counseling Center

a division of Have Faith Ministries, Inc.

Sexual Abuse Counseling Services

Sexual Abuse Counseling Services

Serving Belleville and the Metro-East area of Southern Illinois for Sexual Abuse Therapysexual abuse sex assault counseling therapy services orlando clermont winter park east metro west florida

What is Sexual Abuse?

Childhood sexual abuse has only become a societal issue in the past several decades.  Consequently there is a lack of research, much of which began in the 1980’s.  Finkelhor and Brown (1986) defined sexual abuse as any sexual activity involving a child under eighteen in which the other person is five or more years older than the child and in which any implicit or explicit coercion is used. Because of this power differential, older adolescents or adults are able to lure younger children into a sexual relationship which they do not have the maturity to give consent. Sexual abuse itself can be any number of intrusiveness behaviors ranging from pornography to exhibitionism to penetration (Wickham and West, 2002).

About 20% of females and 10% of males will experience childhood sexual abuse. There is no set of symptoms with predictable symptoms for abuse. Abuse is not a just a traumatic event that happens sometime in the child’s life. It is enmeshed in the fabric of a dysfunctional family of origin and entwined in the conditioning process that occurred before and following abuse (Finkelhor, 1990). The combination of the already distorted family relationships, the event itself, and the condition contributes to the child’s maladaptive functioning.  Abuse twists the child’s cognitive and affective capacities (Finklhor, 1990) and thus colors the way he or she views life.

What are the symptoms or behaviors as a result of Sexual Abuse?

Although there are no specific set of symptoms victims of childhood sexual abuse exhibit, there are many short-term and long-term effects associated with it.

Short-term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

School Functioning

  • Truancy
  • Dropping out of school

Emotional and Cognitive Effects

  • Depression
  • Phobias
  • Anxiety
  • Shame and Guilt
  • Self-injurious behavior
  • Suicide ideation

Social and Interpersonal Functioning

  • Aggression
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Running away from home

Physical and Sexual Functioning

  • Physical complaints, such as stomachaches and headaches
  • Prostitution
  • Sexual Identity Issues

Compulsive and Addictive Behaviors

  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Destructive Behavior

Long-Term Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse

Emotional and Cognitive Effects

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Shame and Guilt
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Distorted Self-Perception

Social and Interpersonal Functioning

  • Interpersonal Difficulties
  • Re-victimization

Physical and Sexual Functioning

  • Sexual Difficulties
  • Physical Problems such as headaches

Compulsive and Addictive Behaviors

  • Substance Abuse
  • Eating Disorders
  • Self-Destructive Behaviors

Some of our counselors specialize in facilitating the healing process with counseling for victims of sexual abuse in Belleville and the Metro-East area of Southern Illinois  area.

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References

Finkelhor, D. Early and long-term effects of child sexual abuse: An update. Professional Psychology:  Research and Practice, 21,  325-330.

Finkelhor, D., & Brown, A. (1986). Impact of child sexual abuse:  A review of the research. Psychological Bulletin, 99,66-77.

Wickham, R., & West, J. (2002).  Therapeutic Work with Sexually Abused Children.

 

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