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.


Indicated that their childhood sexual abuse has significantly impacted their trust or confidence in others.


Have felt the impact of their childhood sexual abuse on their sexual relationships – 26% some impact and 63% a significant impact.

Whereas more than 90%

Have felt the impact of their childhood sexual abuse on their emotional relationships with a partner or spouse – 23% some impact and 71% a significant impact.


Of survivors surveyed were currently in a romantic relationship – 56% of these individuals married and 26% in a committed long-term relationship.


Of those currently in a romantic relationship indicated that all things considered, they were at least happy with their current relationship.


Of all surveyed indicated that their relationships with children have been significantly impacted by their childhood sexual abuse, and 1/3 indicated it had been impacted some.


Of survivors currently have children in their care. 59% of these individuals indicated that their abuse affects the way their parent their children a lot, and 29% say it does a little.

It’s important to remember that CSA survivors are not destined to have only negative relationships

In fact, ½ of survivors* indicate that their past experience with abuse has helped them to realize what is important in life.

Relationships can be difficult for anyone, and the ups and downs associated with developing, maintaining, and losing a relationship is a normal part of life. It is, however, important to be aware of any unhealthy behaviors demonstrated by you or others so you can seek help if needed. There are many ways survivors choose to seek support to help manage long-term effects of CSA including counseling and therapy.

*Top 2 box on a 5-point agreement scale

Gravity Network conducted the Childhood Abuse and Sexual Trauma (CAST) survey with the goal of better understanding the impact of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) so we can more effectively support survivors and prevent future abuse. 771 survivors completed the survey, which was fielded online in 2018. Additional results of the survey will be published on gravity-network.org over time.

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