Sexual and Physical Abuse Therapy

The sexual abuse of children spans all races, ethnic groups and economic backgrounds. Sexual abuse is any kind of unwanted or inappropriate sexual behavior with a child, whether or not there is actual physical contact. Tragically, this kind of abuse is not rare; studies estimate that one in four girls and one in seven boys is sexually abused as a child.

Abusers can be family members, friends of the family, authority figures or strangers. It is impossible to tell if someone is an abuser by simply looking – an abuser may be someone who is highly respected in the community and who has a good reputation. Most child victims knew and trusted the people who abused them.

Children are absolutely dependent on adults for their physical and emotional survival, and abusers have many ways of wielding this power over children. Abusers may use threats to coerce children, such as the threat of harm to them or their loved ones, and the withholding of love and affection. They may tell a child that he or she is special, that the abuse is a way to show love for the child, or that the child is responsible for the abuse.

Common Reactions to Victimization

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse may experience a range of emotions and effects that impact many aspects of their adult lives:

Adult survivors may also experience other difficulties, such as not having anyone available to corroborate memories of the abuse. If the abuser was a family member or someone close, the possibility of repeated contact with the abuser can make family relationships stressful, and a history of child abuse in a family can hurt other relationships as well.

There are many ways to heal from childhood abuse. A licensed mental health professional on our staff can help you create a healing plan that meets your individual needs.