What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual Abuse unfortunately is an issue that is more common than most think. Here at Imagine Hope we help people heal through the pain to get to a place of freedom from this horrible victimization. This week we will educate our readers on the stages of the healing process so that you or a loved one knows what to expect when embarking on this journey. Please make sure you get help for yourself or a loved one if you have been a victim. Getting professional help to guide you is important even if it has been 20 years since the abuse occurred. We see clients often who experience healing at all points in life. You deserve to heal from this pain- it wasn't your fault.

What is Sexual Abuse?

Many people believe that sexual abuse always involves intercourse, but it can be many different things too. Sexual abuse is defined as : "The forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another." The definition does not say "intercourse"; it says "behavior".

Some of those behaviors could be one of the following:

  • Touching or fondling of genitalia or touching in a sexual way on non-genitalia
  • Forcing someone to take clothes off in front of you
  • Taking clothes off in front of a child when not age- appropriate
  • Watching pornography or looking at pornography when children are present or forcing the child to look at it too
  • Tickling or wrestling inappropriately
  • Being forced to touch another adult or child's genitalia
  • Oral sex performed on a child or forcing the child to perform it
  • Making sexual comments to a child
  • A child being exposed to adults having sex (not accidentally walking in, but actually hearing and/ or seeing it purposefully)
  • Intercourse
  • Date Rape or being black mailed to be sexual with someone

Remember that many times sexual abuse is not just from an adult to a child, but also from a child to another child. When this happens, the abuse still has similar affects on a child feeling victimized.

For more information about signs when a child is abused, please read my blog at: http://www.imaginehopecounseling.com/tcblog/?p=464

Keep reading this week to learn more about the next stage in the healing process. Once you recognize how your sexual abuse affects your life, you must make a decision to heal. Deep healing happens only when you choose it and are willing to change yourself.

Written by guest blogger Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC

Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Renewed Horizon Counseling. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.