From the beginning of a child’s life, he/she holds the key to their own destiny. However, this is no longer the case when child sexual abuse is brought in as a factor. In surveys conducted, it was indicated that six percent to sixty-two percent of women and two percent to fifteen percent of men have been victims of sexual abuse as a child (Finkelhor 79). That was not their choice. Abuse is the result of force - not from a person’s willingness to fulfill an act. Victims also have to cope with the aftereffects brought onto them by their attackers. These decisions they had no choice over, but they ultimately set the basis for the rest of their lives. This is because adult survivors of sexual abuse generally have consequences created by violence, misinterpretations of sex, and are more likely to continue the cycle of sexual abuse themselves.
While sexual abuse is often hidden between victim and victimizer, the consequences are clearly seen from an outside perspective. These consequences include both internal and external problems that can be linked back to a past sexual abuse experience. External problems include any self-destructive behaviors an abused child would involve him or herself in. It has been reported that there is an association between the use of illegal substances and forced sexual activity as a child (Diloria et. al). In a study men, who had experienced unwanted sexual activity before their adult years were 1.23 times more likely to report behavioral problems with alcohol and 1.64 times more likely to use interveinal drugs than men that were not involved in unwanted sexual activity (Diloria et. al). This just shows that victimized children turn to drugs to cope with the sexual abuse and to block out the painful memories that resulted from their assault.
The internal problems an abused child faces become much more complicated. Sexual abuse becomes part of a victim’s life and influences every other factor in it. No child is psychologically prepared to handle prolonged sexual abuse, and they usually develop low self-esteem, become withdrawn, and even contemplate suicide because of it (Love Our Children). When children withdraw from the people surrounding them, they do it to avoid any threat of interpersonal relationships (Connelly 42). This eventually leads those to become seriously depressed resulting in many other consequences of violence (Connelly 42).
Adding to the list of drugs, depression, and withdrawal is trauma. Both genders, male and female, suffer from this, but trauma is seen more dominantly in the female population. Studies have shown that women sexually abused as children have rates of mental health impairment almost twice as high as women not abused (Finkelhor 79). These health impairments include post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, mood disorders, antisocial personality disorder, and anxiety disorder (Connelly 35). As a result, sexual abuse may begin as a physical act,...