Long Term Consequences

The impact of child sexual abuse does not end when the abuse stops. The long term effects are far reaching and can interfere with day to day functioning. Each individual’s experiences and reactions are unique which suggests child sexual abuse is a risk factor for a wide range of subsequent problems.

Some of the long term common responses to child sexual abuse are low self-esteem; guilt, shame and blame; depression; revictimization; lack of trust, dissociation/loss of connection; and problems with sexuality and intimacy.

Child sexual abuse violates the trust at the core of a child’s relationship with the world (Walker,1994). When the primary relationship is one of betrayal, a negative set of beliefs develop often affecting the survivor’s capacity to establish and sustain significant attachments throughout life. Survivors often experience conflictual relationships, chaotic lifestyles, difficulty forming adult intimate relationships, and display behaviors that disrupt close relationships (Henderson, 2006).

Numerous studies have explored the relationship between childhood trauma and health concerns later in life. Research has found that childhood abuse contributes to the likelihood of depression, anxiety disorders, addictions, personality disorders (Spila, Makara, Kozak & Urbanska, 2008) eating disorders, sexual disorders and suicidal behavior (Draper et al., 2007).

Recovery and Moving Forward

Maximizing God’s Woman understands the relationship between a survivor’s prior abuse and current behavior is the first step towards recovery. We conduct workshops for survivors because we know it is possible for survivors to experience wholeness, live a full and productive life, and have satisfaction in healthy relationships.