Incest and sexual abuse

Statistics on incest and child sex abuse are quite worrying as they have reached epidemic levels. According to various studies, 1 in every four girls as well as every 1 in every 4 boys gets sexually abused by the time they get to the age of 18. The worst thing is that over two-third of these cases are perpetrated by their family members.

Understanding incest

Sexual abuse can be marked by various verbal, physical and emotional acts. These include:

- Wrongful fondling and touching
- Rape as well as attempted rape
- Coercing kids to touch perpetrators wrongly
- Filming and photographing kids in sexual positions
- Spying on kids as they bath and undress
- Showing photographic videos and photos to children
- Wrong conversations on sexual topics

Sexual abuse doesn’t have to involve the use of physical force as older adults can always threaten, pressure, trick or coerce kids to engage in these activities. This is because kids are usually trusting, vulnerable and dependent. Since they have been taught to do as adults tell them, the perpetrators take advantage of this. Sexual abuse will start gradually before increasing over a period of time. As the child grows older, they can be threatened with getting harmed physically in order to withhold this awful act.

Emotional impact of the abuse

Teens and adolescents who have suffered from sexual abuse and incest usually have themselves to handle the emotional effect both during abuse and even after it ends. These include:

- Fear of the person abusing them as well as the fear that someone else will discover the secret and this can cause trouble in families
- Guilt and confusion as they didn’t stop the abuse and may still be caring towards the person who abused them
- Anger directed at the perpetrator or any other adults who failed to protect them
- Sadness as they feel lone and cant share with anyone as they feel guilty because their innocence was defiled

Aftermath of abuse in the childhood

The effects of sexual abuse and incest do not stop with the stopping of the abuse. These can stay with the kid from their adolescence into adulthood and in most cases will cause other problems in the kid’s life where they are left untreated. Teens who have suffered from child abuse usually show:

- Low self esteem
- Problems in schools
- Nightmares
- Relationship issues with friends and family
- Depression
- Self cutting
- Eating disorders
- Drugs & alcohol abuse
- Becoming sexually active early
- Aggressive and hostile behaviors
- Promiscuity
- Isolation and withdrawal
- Suicidal thoughts

What you can do?

In most cases, adolescents and children do not share their sexual abuse experiences when this occurs as a result of confusion, fear embarrassment or guilt. It is unfortunate that this is the silence that makes the abuse to continue on themselves as well as other kids. Therefore, it is quite important for victims of sexual abuse or incest to seek assistance if they want to heal from the abuse and continue with their lives without the above negative consequences.