Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

If your day to day responsibilities were taken care of and you could throw yourself completely behind a cause, what would it be?


I would mount a one-woman crusade to help bring health and healing to victims of childhood sexual abuse.  This is the issue I find most grievous to deal with in my practice.  Too often, victims of childhood sexual abuse don’t get any help until they are well into their ’30’s, or older.  They may never have told anyone else, ever, what happened to them.

There is a profile for victims of childhood sexual abuse. That profile includes anxiety, depression, substance abuse, sexual promiscuity, multiple marriages and divorces, and all degrees of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  PTSD inclues flashbacks, nightmares, night terrors, hyper-vigilance, and more. 

When a predator touches a child’s body, he touches the child’s soul.  I read recently that some benighted person tossed off a remark to the effect that a predator doesn’t touch anything important–just the throwaway parts.  Whatever that means.  Obviously, the ignorant person who said that doesn’t have the first clue about sexual abuse, yet he tried to come off as an expert.

I need to stop here.  I could write all day, and I don’t have time.  Have to go to work. I’m seeing two clients today who have been sexually molested, treating them with EMDR and a whole lot of patience.

I don’t get angry about much these days, but this one sends my mad-ometer over the top. I will not see the predators in my office.  They are not welcome. I have nothing but disgust for what they do, nothing but revulsion for them. Typically, they don’t believe they’ve done a single thing wrong. Unless someone blows the whistle, stops them by having them tossed in the clink, they will not stop. Their victims are multiple. They belong in prison. For life, if I had my way.


A House Divided

Pick a divisive issue currently in the news. Write a two-part post in which you take on two personas and approach the topic from both sides. Bonus points for a creative format (roundtable discussion, debate transcript, etc.)


“Childhood sexual abuse is rampant around the world. We’ve all heard about human sex trafficking. We all know that children are involved. We also all should know that molesting a child is a felony in all 50 states here in America.

“What we don’t always know is that the results of being molested can change a person forever; being sexually abused as a child often results in the sexualization of a child who has no clear understanding of the power the offense had. I submit, therefore, that any child who has been sexually abused needs to be in some kind of therapy that will help dispel the terrible after-effects, and help that child not to act out in a socially inappropriate way.”

“Okay, Linda, so what’s the big deal here?  I don’t think any right-thinking person would disagree with what you’ve said.”

“Sadly, Pumpkin, that is not the case. My issue for this post is that there ARE people out there, people who claim to love God and to care about the children, who dismiss the troubling results of sexual abuse.  They don’t believe PTSD really exists, but is made up by people in my profession simply to create something else that needs therapy.  Sometimes, they even go so far as to say that soldiers, for instance, don’t really have PTSD.  What’s wrong with them is that they just don’t love God enough, and they have made an idol out of their wartime experiences.”

“Oh, you have to be kidding! ”

“I wish I were.  I’ve worked with too many adults who were traumatized by sexual abuse as children, and too many vets who can barely function in civilian society, to be unaware of the belief out there that it’s all bunk.  Do you remember, Pumpkin, how our soldiers who fought in Viet Nam all those years ago were vilified?  Not only did they see horrendous things over there, but when they came home they often faced a barrage of rotten vegetables and screams of “Baby Killer!” thrown in their faces as they deplaned. Trauma there, trauma back home. No wonder they’ve struggled all these years just to survive.”

“Linda, you started this post with the topic of survivors of childhood sexual abuse.”

“You’re right.  I got off on a rabbit trail there that upsets me just as much. Back to sexual abuse. Did you know that there is still an attitude out there that if you were abused, you were probably asking for it?”

“No!  I thought that kind of thinking went out with the cave man.”
“I wish.  Here are just a few of the things survivors hear:

♦ What were you wearing?  Was it revealing or immodest?

♦ Why didn’t you scream or run away?

♦ I don’t see any bruises or anything. Why didn’t you fight?

♦ Didn’t it feel kind of good?  Is that why you never told anyone until now?

♦ Are you bitter or angry at the person who touched you?  Have you gone to that person and asked forgiveness ?

♦ You know, the “abuser”  didn’t touch your soul.  He just touched the throw-away parts.

“Wait!  What?  Who would say such an awful thing?  What in the world are “throw-away parts,” anyway?  Come on, aren’t you making some of this up? ”

“Pumpkin, my friend, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.  I am appalled at the way we re-victimize the victims, blaming them for the abuse, accusing them of “asking for it,” letting them know it wouldn’t have happened if they hadn’t wanted it to.  I know of someone, for example, whose own father abused her for nearly 20 years. She had no idea that what was happening to her was abnormal. She hated it, but her father convinced her she needed to obey him or God would punish her. And he also told her never, ever to talk about it, because what happens behind closed doors stayes behind closed doors.”
“So you’re saying that children are victimized, then threatened so they won’t tell.  But why do they just allow the abuse?  Wouldn’t you want to scream or try to run away?”

“Sure I would,  But pedophiles are crafty, and most of them take the time to ‘groom’ a child. This is a process of getting the child’s trust; of getting the child used to his (non-sexual) touch.  It often includes establishing himself as an authority figure in the life of the child, and it is often someone the child’s family trusts–a youth worker, a teacher, a pastor,  the friendly guy next door, or the athletic coach. Evil comes packaged very attractively.”

“So you’re saying that the child accepts the sexual touch because he’s basically been desensitized.  Then he’s threatened, and he’s afraid, so he says nothing. But, Linda, you mentioned sexual acting out.  What did you mean by that?”

“Little children who are introduced to sexuality before they can understand its importance will do all kinds of sexually-oriented behaviors.  Masturbation, self-exposure, trying to look at another child’s private parts, drawing pictures, and sexualized play with toys are all included. Then, of course, there are the long-term results. These include self-harm like cutting and anorexia/bulimia, alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, even attempted suicide. These are all common behaviors in the population of sexually abused children as they become adults. What really elevates my blood pressure is that, again, we blame the victim and not the perpetrator.  We tell these people that they “just need to put it behind them now, and move forward.”  But we do nothing to help them get unstuck. We don’t help them rid their minds of the pictures imprinted there by what has happened to them.  We dismiss it as if it were nothing more than a mosquito bite, and we even try to protect the perpetrator. This is especially true if the perp was a pastor, youth pastor, children’s worker or community hero.  And of course, when we protect such a person, we enable that person to continue his behavior with full confidence that he won’t be caught or stopped.”

“Wow,  I can see why this upsets you so much.  It’s hard to believe that people are so blind.”

“I know, Pumpkin.  I know.”