22 July 2009

The circle of abuse

Sexual abuse devastates many lives, and in some cases can sow the seeds of future abusive behaviour.


From the moment you bring home that little bundle, any parent can confirm that hyper-vigilance becomes part of your life.

Whether it’s making sure that little Lila doesn’t stand too close to the heater, or watching that little Christopher learns to skateboard without breaking any bones, something in the human parent is switched on, and it exists to keep our children safe. But how do you protect your child from people that try to prey on them in secret?

The abused
On the Sexual Abuse forum, survivors support one another as they work to make sense of violation. And it’s a long road to recovery, because while the physical signs of sexual abuse may heal quickly, the emotional devastation runs deep.

The abusers
Many survivors battle emotions like confusion and guilt which mar their relationships, affecting interactions with the people in their lives. But who are the abusers? Some, like this penitent abuser, were themselves molested as children, and having lost their own boundaries, went on to do the same. And while this might leave a parent feeling justifiably enraged, it’s important to note that this is only one of the possible long-term effects of sexual abuse.

Help can be found
Because sexual abuse is secretive and targets the most vulnerable, survivors find it difficult to speak about what has happened to them. But opening up to a professional counsellor is the first step to recovery. For help contact LifeLine at 0861 322 322, or at 08 000 55555.

Read more:
Protecting your child from sexual abuse
Is my child being sexually abused?

(Joanne Hart, Health24, July 2009)




Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Mental health & your work »

How open are you about mental illness in the workplace?

Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help

If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips.

Sleep & You »

Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia

6 things that are sabotaging your sleep

Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.