I think we all know that sexual abuse is a serious problem, but am not sure that we’ve understood just how far its effects actually penetrate into every aspect of a person’s life.
I found an article on goodtherapy.org which is quite profound in its description of the consequences of abuse during childhood.
So let’s start by defining exactly what we’re talking about — sexual assault, or sexual abuse, is any act of force, no matter how mild (and that would include intimidation or coercion, enticement or seduction), that makes one person who is not able or willing to consciously choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity, take part in a sexual act.
Because, make no mistake about it, sexual coercion of any kind is a violent act that disrupts not only the physical and emotional body, but the spiritual mindset and spiritual development of the individual was well.
In fact, the consequence of sexual abuse is almost unfathomable because it’s so profound and deep.
What makes this even worse is that people who have their view of the world distorted in this way cannot understand what it has done to their perception of normality – it becomes something quite different, distorted…..
The term “wounded attachment” has been used to describe the consequence of sexual abuse: it is the unconscious way in which a survivor of sexual abuse becomes attached or attracted to another person or situation.
The attachment actually serves to remind them of the original act of abuse or the trauma associated with it. So what this means in practice is that survivors of sexual abuse subconsciously — which is to say, unconsciously — will try to find relationships that somehow reinforce the wounded aspect of themselves.
This is all about a familiar pattern of finding situations which mirror anything that damage this in childhood: the object of the unconscious appears to be to achieve resolution — to complete the Gestalt, but in fact what tends to happen is that the process for this completion or healing is never completed, and as a consequence the emotional wound is reinforced.
We’ve all seen people who engage in a kind of romantic relationship that reinforces the wounded parts of themselves.
Now think of a child whose in this situation, but being coerced into a sexual relationship. Of being sexually assaulted. Of being violently assaulted. Of having his or her very boundaries disrupted by an act of aggression from a more powerful individual.
The problem here is that it’s entirely possible — depending on the age and developmental stage at which these events occurred — that the victim seeks to please the assaulter and gain affection, attention, nurturing, trust or even love.
So there is something happening here inside the victim’s mind: they come to believe that perhaps this is the right way to receive love and attention, that actually pleasing an assaulter is either natural, or will produce a reward (such as affection) for them.
The consequence in adults is devastating: they will seek out situations that belittle them or make them feel worthless, or where they feel they have no sense of self, or where they have to make everyone else happy, no matter what the expense to them.
All of these things will reinforce an individual’s wounded sense of self.
Fortunately, of course, intervention in therapy or counseling can bring enlightenment about the behaviour pattern that is at play here, and after doing this, there can be a discussion and resolution of the process towards healing.
A very good definition of sexual abuse has been provided by Malz: he says that sexual abuse occurs when “any sexual act, whether overt or covert, between a child and an adult, or an older child, takes place.” He goes on to add that irrespective of how it is defined, it generally has very significant negative, and quite pervasive psychological impact on its victims.
But we don’t need a definition – we all know what it is, really.
It is true, of course, that the nature and severity of the sexual act may have a greater or lesser impact on the victim, but there’s no easy way of predicting the consequence of sexual abuse.
In the face of this experience, it’s vital to know how to establish good relationships in adulthood. If counselling and therapy isn’t an option for this, then self-education and information from the Internet might be helpful or informative.
In particular, where relationships are difficult to sustain, and an individual needs assistance in learning the art of communication and emotional interaction that can be effective in keeping relationship together there are certain programs that can be of great assistance,
One of them is called Text Your Ex Back; although, as the name implies, this is about re-establishing a relationship where there has been a breakup, it certainly possible for texting to be useful for people who want to learn the art of good communication in relationships everyday life.
I’m not suggesting that all communication between people in a relationship should take place by text message — such a suggestion is absurd! But what text messaging can do is to enable people to communicate without emotional overlays and overtones that might get in the way of communicating their feelings.
In other words, it can help you to avoid blame, self-justification, defence, criticism and so on. To this degree, if you’re interested in trying to establish better communication with your partner, then you might want to have an look at the system and see if it may be of help to you.