Mimicking childhood behaviors, association of certain characteristics in people/places with danger, oversensitivity, no care for your wellbeing—All of which are signs of sexual abuse.
Sexual Abuse is characterized by any unwanted sexual activity with use of force, threats and/or a lack of consent.
Major signs of Sexual Abuse:
Reverting back to child-like behaviors
Sudden, unexplained fear of certain places or people
Extreme emotional outbursts
Reckless behavior, of which may lead to bodily harm
[bf_image id="s99rc4ttw6hvv58gnkvv"] Tactics used by the abuser include, but are not limited to:
Image management: The way in which an abuser maintains their reputation in order to make any abuse accusations appear doubtful.
Examples include: Reflecting desired behavior from those around them, performs acts of service so they are well known for positive acts, comes off charming and gains the support of those who otherwise may be able to help the one being abused.
Smear campaign: A plan to discredit someone over time, to discredit any future accusations.
Examples include: Subtly mentioning concerns for one’s mental stability to loved ones, provoking the person who is being abused to further back up the abuser’s slander, and maintaining the same accounts of instability.
Long-term effects of Sexual Abuse:
Homelessness: In 2003, a study showed that 38% of all domestic violence victims become homeless at some point in their lives.
Age regression: Sigmund Freud believed age regression was an unconscious defense mechanism. It was a way the ego could protect itself from trauma, stress, or anger. It occurs when someone reverts to a younger state of mind, anywhere from a few years younger than the person’s physical age to early childhood or even infancy.
High-risk sexual behavior: Previous studies have concluded that those who suffer from childhood sexual abuse perform more risky sexual behaviors and are more likely to experience further episodes of victimization. These behaviors allow the survivor to have complete control over their sexual experiences and are made in an attempt to rewrite their feelings about sex.
Eating disorders, particularly Bulimia Nervosa: One study found that about 30% of eating disordered patients had been sexually abused. Eating, bingeing and purging can be used as coping strategies to numb painful emotions. In this way these behaviors are reinforced and become self-perpetuating.