BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER

Borderline Personality Disorder, known as BPD, is one of many possible long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse. Research by the Psychiatric Clinics of North America indicates that 40-71% of BPD victims reported having been sexually abused when younger. i Adults with BPD are also considerably more likely to be the victim of violence, including rape […]

FLASHBACKS

A flashback is when memories of past traumas feel as if they are taking place in the current moment. Many survivors of sexual violence experience these emotional returns to the trauma, believing themselves to be back at the scene of the attack or abuse. Flashbacks are also a symptom of PTSD. According to the National […]

DEPRESSION

There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape and sexual assault can experience. One of the most common of these is depression. The term “depression” can be confusing since many of the symptoms are experienced by people as normal reactions to events in their life. At some point or another during one’s […]

SELF-HARM / SELF-INJURY

Deliberate self-harm, or self-injury, is when a person inflicts physical harm on himself or herself, usually in secret. Some victims of sexual assault may use self-harm to cope with the difficult or painful feelings, but it is only a temporary relief, not a healthy way to deal with the trauma of sexual assault. Self-harm can […]

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

Described as a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser, Stockholm Syndrome was given its name following a hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden when, following the end of a bank robbery, the hostages identified with and supported their captor. Dr. Joseph Carver, a clinical psychologist, describes emotionally bonding with an abuser as a survival strategy for victims of […]

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards. In particular, survivors of sexual violence may experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While it is natural to have some of […]

SLEEP DISORDERS

Many survivors of sexual assault suffer from depression and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a result, they may also experience sleep disturbances and disorders. Inability to sleep can result of trauma victims being unable to feel secure and unthreatened. Nightmares can result when an assault is replayed mentally and when there is a fear that it will reoccur. Nightmares typically […]

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Victims of rape or sexual assault may turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to relieve their emotional suffering. In the U.S., victims of sexual assault report higher levels of psychological distress and the consumption of alcohol than non-victims, in part, to self-medicate. Some victims use substances to cope with the reality of what happened […]

EXPERIENCES OF SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Understanding the Impact  Survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings. These may include feelings of fear, guilt, and shame. Abusers have been known to tell children that it is their fault that they are abused, shifting the blame away from themselves, where it belongs, and placing it on the […]

ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT

Caveat: The following descriptions are meant to serve as a general guideline for how a victim of sexual assault might react in a time of pain or crisis. It is important to recognize, however, that each victim of sexual assault will have his or her own life experiences and personality that will influence how he […]

SEX TRAFFICKING IS A REAL THREAT

Runaways and at-risk youth are targeted by pimps and traffickers for exploitation in the commercial sex industry or different labor or services industries. Pimps and sex traffickers are skilled at manipulating child victims and maintaining control through a combination of deception, lies, feigned affection, threats, and violence. The average age of entry into prostitution for […]

ENTERING THE WORKFORCE

Whether it’s babysitting, scooping ice cream, or doing some office work for a business owner (even if the employer is family or a family friend), it is important to talk with your children and the business owner/manager about child safety. A teen may automatically assume that the people they are working with are respectable and that […]

SEXUAL RESPONSE AND RESPONSIBILITY

“It is important that your child know that as thinking, conscious human beings we have the opportunity to think about how to deal with our own arousal before we do anything with it.” -Dr Janet Rosenzweig, The Sex-Wise Parent Children need to understand that sexual arousal, even if intentional and certainly if not, does not […]

PORNOGRAPHY – YES, WE HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT

From The Sex-Wise Parent author, Janet Rosenzweig: “A major study found that almost all boys and two-thirds of girls over age 13 have been exposed to online porn. Most exposure happens between the ages of 14 and 17, but thousands of children 13 and younger are exposed to sexually explicit images daily. Boys are more likely to report […]

THE INTERNET

Computers belong in common areas, not bedrooms. Educate yourself on setting appropriate filters for explicit images/language for your computer. Explain the dangers of sharing personal information – full name, email, phone, and address. “Checking in” at specific locations on social media, tells people exactly where they are at that moment. You may want to consider […]

UNDERSTANDING THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE BRAIN

Research has shown that the human brain does not complete developing until our 20s and 30s. The frontal lobe, the part of the brain that manages impulse control, judgment, insight, and emotional control, is still working to make the connections that help us understand consequences of our actions for others and ourselves. Teenagers are not fully capable of […]

A MORAL OBLIGATION TO HELP OTHERS

Being a good person isn’t just about not hurting others; it’s about helping others. Your child may witness or suspect abuse of another child, or may even have a friend that discloses their abuse to him/her. Especially when abuse is perpetrated by a peer or in a group setting (e.g. hazing, house parties, shuls, or at a […]

EMPATHY, RESPECT, COMPASSION – FOR ALL PEOPLE

We must raise children to respect all life. We cannot pick and choose which people/things deserve better treatment than others, it must be understood and children must be involved in learning and living that all life is a gift, we are all connected and equally deserving to be treated with compassion. We cannot end child […]

CONFIDENT KIDS ARE LESS SUSCEPTIBLE TO GROOMING

All children crave love, affection, and attention. They need to know that they are special and appreciated. Abusers know this, and use it to their advantage by targeting children based on the support from their family, or lack thereof. Children that feel loved by the people that care for them, that love themselves, and know that […]

SEXUAL ABUSE IS A CRIME

Don’t assume your children know right from wrong – make sure of it. Let your child know that sexual abuse is a crime. This might seem obvious, but it is important that we do our part to make sure our children understand that sexual abuse is against our morals and the law. Since up to […]

SEXUAL RESPONSE AND RESPONSIBILITY (10 YEARS+)

“It is important that your child know that as thinking, conscious human beings we have the opportunity to think about how to deal with our own arousal before we do anything with it.” -Dr Janet Rosenzweig, “The Sex-Wise Parent” Children need to understand that sexual arousal, even if intentional and certainly if not, does not […]

SIBLINGS

Sibling abuse is suggested to be one of the most under-reported forms of child sexual abuse. Although there is limited data on the prevalence of it, the most common form of reported sibling sexual abuse involves an older brother victimizing a younger sister. Understanding sexuality and experiencing puberty can be very confusing for children, and […]

THE BULLYING CONNECTION

The characteristics of bullying and sexual abuse perpetrated by minors is often similar: A positive attitude toward violence A need to dominate others, be popular & in control Impulsive, aggressive behavior Lack of empathy toward bullied or less popular children Bullied children and sexually abused children also share similar characteristics: Low self esteem, depression, eating […]

IT’S NOT JUST A SEX TALK

Most professionals agree that we need to explain puberty and sexual intercourse to our children. It may be to your advantage to explain it sooner rather than later before your children get the information from older siblings or siblings of friends. The more they learn before you have the opportunity to share information in an open […]

TEACH THEM HOW TO TALK TO STRANGERS

The idea that kids should never talk to strangers, can actually put them at greater risk if they should find themselves in a situation where they are isolated and need assistance. When you feel your child is ready to understand, teach them to engage in simple conversation with others when you are out together. Communication […]