Effects of Child Sexual Abuse: The Link Between Shame and Guilt

In today’s culture and society, child sexual abuse is considered a very serious crime. While there are corresponding heavy punishments for those who sexually violate children and minors, statistics still reflect a very ironical set of figures when it comes to how many children and teens are sexually abused each year. Not only does this crime exist in third world nations, you can as well cite thousands of cases here in the United States and the first world. What this means is that no law, no matter how harsh it is, can stop the spread of this cancer in society. And the most unfortunate truth is that child victims obtain the most painful effects and consequences.Child sexual abuse produces adverse and devastating effects towards the victim. Even if offenders and pedophiles show a single trace of remorse for doing it, victims will always get a traumatic experience that will surely linger on for the rest of their lives.While experts concentrate on determining the long term psychological and emotional effects of the abuse, there is little attention given to the immediate responses coming from the victims. Post traumatic stress, drug and alcohol addiction, the tendency to become abusers, and mental and behavioral disorders are some of the common consequences for victims who have failed to recover and heal. But all of these usually appear months or years after the abuse.When it comes to immediate and instant response on the other hand, victims of child sexual abuse usually show feelings of guilt and shame. Guilt is compounded by the culture of silence in most communities where survivors of sexual mistreatment live. A lot of families, places, and neighborhoods in this part of the world find it hard to accept the existence of a child sexual abuse case. For these communities, it is simply unacceptable to talk and think much more to see in actuality, that a child of their own has been abused. Thus, this kind of community setup will lead to the victims thinking that it is their fault why they were abused. And in order not to break this cultural silence, they opt to keep the abuse experience a secret.Additionally, intra-familial abuse is another instance where victims are left with no choice but to feel guilty and ashamed. They see themselves as responsible for humiliating the entire family while at the same time feeling the shame of having been able to tell others about it. Sexual abuse that happens within a family is one of the most difficult pains to swallow. Victims are placed in a predicament as to whether reveal the abuse and risk embarrassment for the entire family or just keep it within the home and just carry the pain and suffering all by themselves.Shame and guilt are actually two instinctive responses that victims feel right after the consummation of the abuse. What’s very sad about this is that it is not the offender that suffers, but the victims. Whenever shame continues to control the emotion and thinking of the victim, healing and recovery are very unlikely. As long as guilt is not removed, victims are capable of inflicting physical and emotional harm to them in a desperate attempt of removing it.

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