Cases of childhood sexual abuse are rampant. Yet we are not really as aware of the consequences as we should be. While both boys and girls are subjected to forced sex during their childhood, as per reports, the rate of sexual abuse of girls far surpasses than that of boys. As per RAINN, the Government authorities respond to cases of child sexual abuse every 8 minutes. One in every 6 boys and one in 4 girls are reportedly subjected to forced sex at present. It has been estimated that around 15 million girls across the world have had the terrible experience of being forced to have sex.
The figures are dreadfully staggering. Childhood sexual abuse breaks people in many ways. And, more and more evidence has only gone on to prove that it renders the victims incapable of developing coping mechanisms—which is the reason why they resort to substance abuse. Yes. It’s true! Childhood sexual abuse is connected to addiction in later stages – which is the reason why it has emerged as a major concern as far as the budding generation is concerned.
Now—the question is – why? Why are victims of childhood sexual abuse turning to substance abuse at large? It is simply because of the fact they are unable to cope with traumatic memories in a saner fashion. Another report also suggests that abused children are 1.5 times more likely to admit that they are actually taking drugs than the ones who are not abused likewise. Needless to say, several types of research have been conducted to find out why abused victims take to drug abuse and these are the reasons that have surfaced. Are as follows:
Both depression and anxiety are common among the “abused”. Depression – of course – refers to an almost perpetual feeling of sadness and helplessness. This condition manifests itself in prolonged periods of evident sadness, inexplicable bouts of crying, feelings of hopelessness, consistent weight gain or weight loss, or in general indifference about everything happening around. It can well be understood that sexual abuse at an impressionable age leaves us emotionally broken. The consequences are definitely far-reaching. If elders around fail to respond to an abused child’s emotional needs, then the child is bound to grow up with marked diffidence, fearfulness and also may be with general apathy. Prolonged fearfulness is what can be termed as anxiety. Victims as they grow up find it difficult to face the world and may also end up experiencing panic attacks at times. Panic attacks are nothing but a manifestation of intense anxiety that only leads to psychological and physiological reactions. Heavy breathing is a common phenomenon in these circumstances.
Another very sad consequence of childhood sexual abuse is dissociation. We have already mentioned general lack of interest as a side effect of depression. Dissociation is the individual’s inability to focus and perform tasks for prolonged periods of time. The person often ends up feeling highly disconnected from one’s body. The memories of sexual pain assume a monstrous shape and this is the reason why they actually go on resorting to substance abuse. Drugs are viewed as a sad recourse – used as a means to numb the pain. Dissociation is a condition where the person is not exactly rendered incapable of “coping” but he grows disinterested to cope in the first place.
Then – how exactly can we forget about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? PSTD is once again a mental health issue engendered by any traumatic event whatsoever. Not many of us realize but it’s true that symptoms can actually emerge even after years of sexual trauma.
It is important to address sexual vindication of any sort. We are all aware of the physical consequences of childhood sexual abuse but it is very important to address the emotional needs of the children. Make sure as parents, you are keeping track of your children’s behavioral patterns. Have they started behaving a bit abnormally of late? Make sure you are investigating every discrepancy in this regard and act in accordance.