Signs your child may be being sexually abused:

Children are three times more likely than adults to be sexually abused.

Specific symptoms of sexual abuse:
(citation, the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress)

  • Withdrawal and mistrust of adults
  • Suicidality
  • Difficulty relating to others except in sexual or seductive ways
  • Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things sexual or physical
  • Sleep problems, nightmares, fears of going to bed
  • Frequent accidents or self-injurious behaviors
  • Refusal to go to school, or to the doctor, or home
  • Secretiveness or unusual aggressiveness
  • Sexual components to drawings and games
  • Neurotic reactions (obsessions, compulsiveness, phobias)
  • Habit disorders (biting, rocking)
  • Unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Prostitution
  • Forcing sexual acts on other children
  • Extreme fear of being touched
  • Unwillingness to submit to physical examination

If you feel you child may be being sexually abused, please talk to him or her and seek professional assistance. Please click on ‘Getting Help’ at the top of the page for information on resources that my help you and your child.

Stories: I was counting on her

This is my story. Today I am 31. Up until the abuse started I had a great relationship with my parents. I was attached to my mom. I was called a daddy’s girl, I have 1 brother which is 3 years older than me. We lived in small country towns. Which was how my whole family lived. I feel that my brother was never really there for me which I could of used, specialy since he had too been sexualy assaulted, but doesn’t talk about it. Very sad story there. Now theis days we are distant to each other. Continue reading “Stories: I was counting on her”

Stories: Killing the Pain

My grandmother told me once, “I just don’t understand why you are so hell bent on destroying yourself.” I wasn’t either. I didn’t know why I would drink myself to oblivion, keep company with every abusive asshole that ever entered my path, ran around on empty, punishing myself. I thought I hated myself. I thought I hated myself but I didn’t know why I did. There was something in me that I was trying so hard to destroy and from the outside looking in, it did look like I was trying to destroy myself. Continue reading “Stories: Killing the Pain”

Ivy

Last month, I traveled outside of the country for the first time. I was so excited. I have always wanted to travel, explore somewhere new, and I was finally given that chance. We went to Germany, for a wedding, right outside of Munich. It was a beautiful country, honestly, and I had a wonderful time. The wedding was beautiful. We did a bike tour of Munich, and another of Salzburg. We went and looked at castles. I stared up in awe at the Alps, and went into old cathedrals, and just took in the beauty of it all in total awe. The pictures don’t do it justice.

My family left on a Tuesday, and my flight left on a Thursday, so I had some extra time to explore. I decided to devote a day to check out Dachau, a concentration camp not far from the city. It was something my parents had done early in the trip, while I took my sister to the aquarium, that I had decided was especially important to see.

Continue reading “Ivy”

CSA and Relationships – By The Numbers

For those who have been sexually abused as a child, there are many aspects of adult life where the impact can still be felt, including relationships.  Whether it is a friend, romantic partner, or child, navigating relationships can sometimes be uniquely challenging.  Here are some numbers shared by survivors who participated in our Childhood Abuse and Sexual Trauma (CAST) survey:

More than 8 in 10

Of those surveyed indicated that their relationships with their friends, colleagues, and classmates have been impacted by their childhood sexual abuse.

Continue reading “CSA and Relationships – By The Numbers”

Stronger in the Broken Places

I have spoken before about how my abuse as a child has caused me to have moments in life that lead to me shutting down. I’m learning that this often happens as a self- defense mechanism.

A survival tool I was never aware I had built into my skill set. A direct response to a threat.

What I neglected to mention and what is equally if not more important, is that each time I resurface from these dark corners of doubt I come back ten times stronger for having been there.

The resilience and the sheer will it takes to face past experiences head on and to continue to claw out of the hurt and keep going holds transforming power. Power that can only be gained from experiencing a specific type of pain.

Continue reading “Stronger in the Broken Places”

Stories: Getting Better Is My Main Focus

First abuse – I was barely 3 years old….a foster home with I don’t even remember how many boys. I was barely 20 and a mom of twins. One child was epileptic and both had learning issues. My family wasn’t as supportive as they could be, and I was pregnant again. Only there’s a slight change this time – I might not be sure of the father, only because I was no longer compliant for sexual exploitation anymore. So he would take the instant gratification and go.

I literally dreamed of her and knew all about her. Even before they could tell what sex! But what if she was his? Would I reject her? Would I love her? What if she’s not his? What if she’s my boyfriends? I picked a family who made all kinds of promises, but they cut me out . She was my boyfriend’s baby but I couldn’t tell everyone. I couldn’t find my voice. I couldn’t fight for myself as usual.

Continue reading “Stories: Getting Better Is My Main Focus”

Sweeping It Under the Rug

For most of my life I have been an open book. I like swapping “war stories” with friends/strangers and hearing other people’s life mistakes and successes, and how they have grown and learned from each experience. I’m proud of where I am and who I have become, so I like telling stories about my past experiences and reflecting on where I have been, where I could have ended up, and how far I have come. I guess it’s not a surprise that I’ve come to share this experience, but it is not something I thought I would ever do. This was one experience in my life that I didn’t know how to talk about. Continue reading “Sweeping It Under the Rug”

Stories: A Buried Memory

I had buried the memory of the incident. It only came rushing back into my mind when someone sent a Facebook suggestion that I be his friend. My immediate visceral response was an unequivocal NO.

I reached out to a trusted friend – someone who I had gone through life coach training with and who I knew it was safe to be vulnerable with. I told her my story of when I was about 7 and said, “He molested me, or, well, he touched me inappropriately.” She kindly and firmly told me, “That is molestation.”

Continue reading “Stories: A Buried Memory”

Stories: Books Were My Escape

Warning: May contain triggers for survivors of childhood sexual abuse

It’s a fog, but I believe it started at 3yrs. I remember 3 distinct occasions where I was raped by the man who my mother had a relationship with. However, I believe that it happened regularly.

I didn’t understand at the time what was going on, but as I grew older I read and I understood what it was. Books were always my escape. At around 8, was when I knew what he was doing to me. I lived in constant fear, of men being alone with them. I was always anticipating the moment. Continue reading “Stories: Books Were My Escape”