Sexual abuse

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:48 pm
Unfortunately, incest, rape, and other forms of sexual abuse are fairly common. The abuser may be a family member, a friend, an acquaintance, or less often, a stranger. People, who are sexually abused, often experience intense feelings of shame, embarrassment, depression, or even guilt. Some blame themselves for the abuse, even though they feel powerless to control it. However it's important for sexually abused individuals to recognize they aren't the ones at fault, and that no one deserves this sort of treatment. Sexual abuse can destroy self-respect and self-esteem, which can make it difficult to seek help. However, if you or someone you know is being abused, you should report it immediately. If necessary, talk with a teacher, minister, or counselor, and get their advice and recommendations. The problem isn't likely to go away by itself, and even if the physical abuse stops, the emotional scars can remain for a lifetime. Treatment for this form of abuse is highly successful. If you need immediate assistance, contact a child abuse hotline, rape crisis center, or professional counselor in your area. For more information about sexual abuse, consult a local health care professional.

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