Women who experienced sexual abuse as a child, may encounter a range of short- and long-term effects that many survivors face. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse may have some of the following concerns that are specific to their experience:
Guilt, shame, and blame. Women may feel guilty about the inability to stop the abuse, or even blame themselves if they have experienced physical pleasure. It is important for them to understand that it was the person that hurt them that should be held accountable—not the victim.
Intimacy and relationships. It’s possible that the first experiences with sex came as a result of sexual abuse. As a result adults may struggle with intimacy with their partners at times. Some survivors may experience flashbacks or painful memories while engaging in sexual activity, even when it is consensual. They may also struggle with the ability to establish boundaries that help them to feel safe in relationships.
Self-esteem. Some survivors may struggle with low self-esteem. This can be a result of the negative messages they received from their abuser(s), and having their personal safety violated and/or ignored. Low self-esteem can affect many areas of their life such as, relationships, careers, and even health.