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Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse is a developmental catastrophe for a child. It is a heinous, criminal act. Its impacts are devastating. And the most surprising thing of all is that it is not rare.

Understanding Child Sexual Abuse

The general consensus is that one in four girls are abused in childhood, along with one in six boys. The abusers are men, women, and even children. The vast majority of abusers are known to their victims – it is this betrayal of trust that is so impacting.

Child sexual abuse is never the child’s fault, but the process of grooming means that very often there is a transfer of responsibility from abuser to victim: the victim feels the shame that the abuser does not. We grow up believing very often that we are ‘bad’, that we caused it, that we deserved it, that it was our fault.

We survived the moment of trauma with the evolutionarily instinctive response of ‘freeze’ but this is misinterpreted as consent or cowardice. So much of the harm of child sexual abuse therefore is in the twisting of truth and reality, especially when we have needed to dissociate simply to survive – traumatic amnesia is a very common consequence. Child sexual abuse is deeply traumatic, profoundly impacting our neurobiology and sense of self.

But child sexual abuse is not a life sentence, and it is not a death sentence. Significant healing and recovery are possible – with the right knowledge and support. Explore my resources below, and especially my ‘Child Sexual Abuse: Hope for Healing‘ online training.

Resources

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Child Sexual Abuse: Hope for Healing

Child Sexual Abuse: Hope for Healing

Child sexual abuse represents the ultimate betrayal of trust. Working with survivors involves rebuilding that shattered trust and dismantling shame. One of the primary things that survivors need to know is that professionals ‘get it’ and that they can handle their trauma. This course provides multiple ‘get it’ moments – profound insights into the experience and impacts of abuse which will help to build trust, rapport and empathy and will also equip you to hear with compassion the stories that survivors need to, but fear to, tell.

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Podcast: #2 – Recovery is possible

Podcast: #2 – Recovery is possible

Is recovery possible? I'd say it is … based not just on my own personal experience, but on the fact that it’s how our bodies and brains are designed by default. Often when people don’t recover, it’s a problem with the therapy or the ‘treatment’, rather than a problem with a person. In this thought-provoking podcast, I bring hope for healing.

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Podcast: #7 – Can we heal?

Podcast: #7 – Can we heal?

Is recovery from trauma and abuse - resulting in dissociation and even a dissociative disorder - possible? That's the subject of this podcast where I talk about the vulnerability of hoping for good things, the difference between correlation and causation, and the difference between hoping for and planning for.

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Podcast: #15 – Trauma is not just a distressing event

Podcast: #15 – Trauma is not just a distressing event

Trauma isn’t something we’re supposed to get over easily. It’s supposed to impact us. It’s supposed to change us. That’s part of why it’s so hard to shift. The problem isn’t with us. In this podcast, I talk about the impacts of trauma and how it isn’t something that we can get over easily.

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Why is shame such a central experience of child sexual abuse?

Why is shame such a central experience of child sexual abuse?

Child sexual abuse and shame are inextricably intertwined. As victims, we feel the shame that the perpetrator doesn't. But why is it so hard to shift this shame? This article looks at six reasons why the deck is stacked against us.

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Ten things I have learned about child sexual abuse

Ten things I have learned about child sexual abuse

Understanding the dynamics around child sexual abuse, who the perpetrators are, how they achieve their ends, the impacts of abuse on us – all of this knowledge, this ‘psychoeducation’ has aided my recovery. And so these are ten of the many things that I have learned about child sexual abuse, some of the insights that have begun to heal my shame.

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My recovery from child sexual abuse

My recovery from child sexual abuse

It feels a long time ago now, the time when my abuse sat silent within me. It’s been over ten years. Back then, I didn’t understand any of the dynamics of abuse. The things that had happened, the things that had been done to me, the things I had been made to do – they sat silently within me as heavy weights on my soul, fetid non-reminders of my badness, this toxic mush that I thought was me.

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An introduction to grooming

An introduction to grooming

‘Child grooming’ refers to a series of actions deliberately undertaken in order to develop an emotional bond with a child in order to sexually abuse them. Grooming increases the availability of the victim for abuse whilst decreasing the likelihood of detection for the abuser.

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