Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse - Recap
Mental health certainly carries a lot of stigma, but think about this -- how many adults have you ever heard discuss surviving child sexual abuse? Outside of my job, the answer would be "none." No one talks about it. They mention sexual predators or child molesters, but not what life is like after being sexually abused as a child.
On Tuesday night's HealthyPlace TV Show, the discussion centered around the impact child sexual abuse has later in life. Dr. Harry Croft, Medical Director of HealthyPlace, helped us understand how sexual abuse impacts victims in their adult lives. Many child abuse survivors suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, personality disorders and many self-harm. It's frightening, but some go on to become abusers themselves.
Our guest, Diane Champe led us through her difficult struggle with child sexual abuse. Tragically in her case, she was abused by her parents. Her military upbringing and constant traveling and starting over in new cities left her with no friends and no one to talk to. Her victimization, at the hands of both her parents, went on until she was 21 years old.
While determined to make a better life for herself, she shut off her emotions and became a very successful business woman. Unfortunately, life handed her another set of problems: her brother began sexually abusing her niece, her husband divorced her after her many attempts at suicide, and she was released from her job after she was very close to retirement.
Unable to cope with her “new” problems and not healing from her “old” problems, Diane sought treatment and soon realized she had developed dissociative identity disorder (23 personalities to cope with her traumatic experiences) in response to her years of repeated sexual, physical and emotional abuse.
Today, with much of her painful past behind her, she occasionally suffers from PTSD and has a damaged nervous system. She is also an ardent supporter of adult survivors of child sexual abuse.
Dr. Croft recognized many of Diane’s symptoms. He explained that a child may not know that the abuse they are going through is wrong. "How can a child know that the only mother and father they have would do something to hurt them?" It’s often not until the child interacts with others, says Dr. Croft, that they find out the behavior is anything but normal.
Diane’s story, along with the clips of victims who have also endured sexual abuse, provide insight into this traumatic and challenging problem. Dr. Croft also had an important take away message from Tuesday’s show: "Child abuse affects people for the rest of their lives."
Protecting Children From Child Abuse
If you missed it, you can watch the HealthyPlace TV Show on Surviving Childhood Sexual Abuse. Maybe you'll even share what you’ve heard. You may be helping someone take the first step in getting their life back.
admin (2009, June 19). Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse - Recap, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/tvshowblog/2009/06/adult-survivors-of-child-sexual-abuse-recap
I found the HealthyPlace TV Show on Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse very informative. The show and the main HealthyPlace mental health website is professionally written and I feel like the guest on that show unfortunately knows the subject very well. You do a great job HealthyPlace.com. Keep it that way. Thank you.