Child sexual abuse is a legal and psychological issue. It can be classified as anything that ranges from inappropriate behavior such as the showing of the genitals to sexual intercourse. Any child that is under their states legal age of capability of sexual consent who has been sexually abused by their superior, whether physically or psychologically, is considered a victim of child sexual abuse, also known as CSA. The legal definition is a sexual act, anything with physical contact, that provokes the victim or the person committing the act.
While there’s a legal definition there’s also a psychological definition. The psychological definition is anything that hurts their psychological safety. Examples of this type of situation is exposure of the genitals and/or conversations of the sexual nature. No matter the type of situation, both of them are illegal and sinful.
Physical effects vary for each victim and are not necessarily associated with sexual abuse. Physical symptoms generally do not appear noticeable until the victim is an adult.
There have been physical complaints recorded such as abdominal pain and constipation. Other deficiencies that have appeared are skin lesions or genital pain which are anogenital symptoms. Although these symptoms are associated with traumatic experiences, none of them can be specifically linked to child sexual abuse.
Emotional effects is an unfortunately sad outcome from child sexual abuse. Since victims suffered a traumatic event they almost always develop post traumatic stress disorder. Victims tend to suffer emotional effects such as major depression, and severe anxiety.
They also suffer from suicidal thoughts/ attempts. Aside from all of these effects, the victim develops low self-esteem and a negative perception about the world. Although the victims suffer through their time of darkness, most eventually find help and ways to cope with their stress and anxiety.
Sexual abuse victims have higher levels of pathology than victims of other traumatic experiences, which means they are more prone to medical diseases and disorders. PTSD is the most common outcome from child sexual abuse. Victims are more prone to develop PTSD or lifelong PTSD than victims from other traumatic experiences. Other disorders victims tend to get are depression and panic disorders. They also may develop phobias. Later in life when the victim is older, some turn to substance abuse, and others develop eating disorders. Unfortunately, the victim suffers from severe anxiety as an effect. When children have undergone examinations in recent studies, it was reported that the child was anxious or afraid. It is important for the victim to receive medical help if any of these disorders were brought onto them.
As stated before, there are physical and emotional effects from child sexual abuse, but this will reveal the other consequences of CSA. The people who have to go through this unfortunate situation also have to relive the situation day-by-day. Victims growing up after the painful act have had difficulties in school. Some have had difficulty focusing, or were bullied at school. The child growing up feels depressed as a child and worried the traumatic event will happen again. Some victims try to act invisible at school making themselves socially unknown while others turned to substance abuse. Living life after the trauma has taken place is a painful and difficult experience.
Somatization is a result from PTSD which comes from child sexual abuse. As writer Seung Min Bae wrote, Somatization is a major post traumatic symptom. In the article written by Seung Min Bae, there were studies that showed that somatization was a result of PTSD and intelligence. It was also shown that somatization was not associated with age and types of abuse. As painful as PTSD, there are sadly more results that come from it.
There are different signs to look for if you believe a child has beens sexually assaulted. After the event has happened the victim may seem to be in loss of concentration or not in full reality in a way. The victim may also leave some type of hints behind revealing that they suffered a traumatic event of the sexual nature. Another sign would be that the child is unusually afraid of a specific person. Although these signs don’t directly link to CSA, but if a person has shown these signs, it is important to make sure they’re okay and to identify the problem immediately.
After all these painful experiences, though hard to believe, it is possible to heal after everything that has happened. One way victims begin to heal is by the victim changing their old ways. By changing their old ways, it is meant by giving up such habits such as substance abuse, and low self-esteem (etc.). Another way to heal is to accept the fact that the situation has happened so you can move forward. It is also important for the victim to develop a kinder relationship towards themselves. That means to not be critical towards their appearance and to give themselves time for theirselves. Counseling, another form of healing, will help the victim if they found the right therapist for them. Most importantly, it is beneficial to develop a relationship with God. Pray to God everyday for strength and have faith in him. God will help those in trouble.