Sadly, it is a fact of life that adults can sexually abuse children, older children can sexually abuse younger children, and adults can sexually abuse other adults.
We understand the words “sexual abuse” to mean involving someone in unwanted sexual behaviour, sexual behaviour they have not consented to, or sexual behaviour they are not able to give valid consent to (as, for example, in the case of a child).
The impact of sexual abuse can be immediate, or delayed, and the impact can be experienced in a wide variety of ways.
If you have experienced sexual abuse you will be more vulnerable to illnesses like depression and anxiety, and to addictions. You may have the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, and you may find yourself entering states of mind where you detach yourself from reality. You may find it hard to like yourself, and you may have persisting feelings of shame and guilt about things which other people did to you. You may even hurt yourself, or make choices which are harmful to you. You may find expressing your own sexuality very difficult, and you may have worrying thoughts of sexually abusing others. Threats or other manipulative behaviours by the person who abused you may still seem to have power over you.
How we can help
At Ashburn Clinic you will meet other people who are working with these consequences of abuse. In group settings and in individual psychotherapy you will be supported to explore the impact of the abuse on your relationships, including your relationship with yourself, and to change how you think and feel about yourself and others.