An adult survivor of child sexual abuse is an individual who was sexually abused as a child. Child sexual abuse is when a child is used for the sexual gratification of an older adolescent or adult.
Ritual sexual abuse of children is more common than previously thought. Ritual abuse is the repetitive and systematic severe sexual, physical, psychological, and spiritual abuse of children.
Sexual abuse of children occurs across all communities regardless of race,
religion, cultural heritage, social, or economic status. While most victims
are female, boys and male adolescents are also sexually abused. Many survivors
do not remember the abuse until years after it has occurred when something
in adulthood triggers the memory. The term "survivor" is used
instead of "victim" in recognition of the strengths of the individual
who has survived childhood sexual abuse.
Some common long-term effects are:
Extremely low self-esteem, self-hatred and extreme depression
- Frequent sleep disturbances and nightmares since children are often sexually abused in their own rooms and beds
- Severe lack of trust since they were betrayed by the people who cared for them and insisted they loved them while abusing them
- Revictimization where the survivor finds themselves in abusive, dangerous situations or relationships as adults
- Flashbacks where the survivor re-experiences the sexual abuse
- Dissociation; which is the ability to escape stressful or harmful situations by creating another place for the mind to go
- Multiple personalities where dissociation causes altered personalities to develop to help the person survive the abuse