waterford rape and sexual abuse centre

WATERFORD

RAPE & SEXUAL ABUSE CENTRE



Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult uses his or her power and authority to force or persuade a child to take part in sexual activities.  A child is never in a position to make a valid choice about appropriate sexual acts.  Sexual abuse may range from fondling or petting to full vaginal or anal intercourse.

Incest refers to sexual abuse by a family member.

Both boys and girls are sexually abused.  Children are sexually abused within every stratum of society and in both rural and urban areas.

 

Effects of Sexual Abuse

The damage caused by sexual abuse varies from person to person and depends on the nature and extent of the abuse, and the relationship of the abuser to the child. However, general themes emerge.

As children/adolescents:

  • Loss of trust
  • Poor self-esteem
  • Emotional deadness/numbness
  • Self-blame, guild and shame
  • Difficulty in forming close, loving relationships
  • Self-harm, e.g., cutting themselves


As adults:

  • Sexual difficulties – ranging from being unable to have a sexual relationship through to promiscuity
  • Alcohol, substance abuse
  • Eating disorders
  • Anxiety or panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Repeated victimization in adulthood


Even if the abuse occurred years ago, you can still choose to make a statement to the Gardaí – this can be done in our Centre if that is your wish.  

Our services are available to you whether or not you wish to report.


© Martin Quigley

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