Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse leaves harsh marks on its survivors. Fear. Betrayal. Confusion. The feeling of being alone.

Sexual abuse, or molestation, is unwanted sexual contact. Any sexual contact with a minor, forced or not, is considered child sexual abuse. An abuser may kiss or touch a child in places and ways that make them feel uncomfortable or engage in upsetting sexual conversation.

Sometimes abusers offer money or gifts to coerce sexual interaction; they may threaten the child or the child’s loved ones with harm if they tell anyone about the abuse. These offenders know that they are doing something illegal and immoral. If you have been abused, please remember that you are not responsible.

Sexual abuse can cause lifelong emotional and spiritual damage. It warps self-image, erodes one’s sense of security, and can make it difficult to establish healthy relationships. A sense of unworthiness may lead abuse victims to sabotage their own plans and relationships. They may experience trauma symptoms including nightmares and flashbacks.

All sexual abuse involves an imbalance of power between the abuser and the abused. Despite the stereotype of a suspicious stranger, the majority of sexual abusers are known by those they abuse. They may be relatives, family friends, neighbors, or fellow church members. They tend to have a reputation for being trustworthy and often tell their victims that no one will believe them if they snitch. Abusers often manipulate their targets by associating the abuse with something the victim desires, whether attention, favors, or rewards. If you are being abused, speak to someone in a position of authority whom you trust, such as a teacher, pastor, or school guidance counselor. It can be difficult to tell about your experience to an adult, so you may want to get the support of a friend first.

In many areas, professionals who work with children are required by law to report abuse to the police. If you are injured due to sexual abuse, seek immediate medical attention. The evidence gathered may be crucial in prosecuting your abuser.

While these may reflect other traumatic events, such as a divorce or death of a family member, be aware of the signs of sexual abuse in a child or young person. Signs may include sudden changes in eating habits, age-inappropriate behavior, self-injury, acting out sexually, or trouble sleeping.

If you have been sexually abused, God desires for you to heal and live a full and fulfilling life. Seek the help of a counselor you trust and with whom you feel comfortable. Know that you are not alone and that you are loved by God and by others.

For a deeper understanding of the issue involved, we suggest people go to the following link: