Different survivors react to their experiences differently. This does not necessarily depend on what happened physically. A survivor who has been raped will not necessarily be more damaged than a survivor who has been touched. The degree of damage depends on the degree of traumatic sexualization, stigmatization, betrayal, and powerlessness that the child has experienced.
The amount a victim may suffer often depends on a number of factors, such as:
Strive to be an expert on the children in your life.
Many adults make the assumption that a child would tell them if they are being abused. This is incorrect!
We can do as much as we can to educate our children on what is right and wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, but we cannot guarantee that an abuser will not coerce, confuse, or scare them into keeping their abuse a secret. It is sometimes impossible for us to ensure that our child will not feel guilt, shame, embarrassment, or fear that this happened to them. This is especially true if the abuser is a family member, friend, or someone of authority/respect.
“Never forget that young children are developmentally incapable of protecting themselves from a skilled pedophile. Even the best classroom-based prevention programs in the world are useless unless adults in the community recognize the dynamics of sexual abuse of children in general and pedophiles in particular.”
– Dr. Janet Rosenzweig, “The Sex-Wise Parent”
Sections on this page have been adapted from TheMamaBearEffect.