Child Abuse – Molestation

by Leylina
(Denver, Colorado, USA)

When a child is sexually molested it interferes with their growth and development. Our brains are structured in three ways when we are growing up. The cortex is the outer surface, where higher thinking skills arise including the frontal cortex, the most recently evolved portion of the brain. The limbic system is the center of the brain where emotions evolves. The brain stem is the reptilian brain that controls basic survival functions. These observations indicate that trauma from sexual molestation can damage the frontal cortex, the limbic system (where emotion is) and one's brain stem where the survival instinct is located. This can lead to a person having social and learning problems. According to Trauma-Resources Center, "brain scans of people with relationship or developmental problems, learning problems and social problems related to emotional intelligence reveal similar structure and functional irregularities as is the case resulting from PTSD". One of the most interesting things about someone who is traumatized is the way they handle an upsetting situation. They can often overreact to something small and stress the issue more. One other way of knowing is how long it takes them to get over the dilemma. Another way is how tough the person took the situation and how much it affected them personally.

Molestation is one of the issues that takes major psychological tribulations on individuals. It leads to long-term problems and affects. Children need attention and love from their caretaker. However, when a child is molested they need care and attention from the other parent but that's not always the case. Some parents may deny the fact that their child is getting molested by their partner. It's a hard thing for them to accept, but what they don't realize is how much it is affecting that child psychologically and emotionally. It traumatizes them for life and as they become adults they would start to do bodily harm to themselves so that they are able to suppress their emotions. Research has proven that someone who is sexually molested and is traumatized is vulnerable to experiencing future traumatic responses. An adult who has been molested might have panic attacks towards their loved ones. They might become over protective that sometimes could lead to compulsive and obsessive behavior. Small things might bother someone with emotional problems because they are vulnerable and can't deal with criticism.

Interesting research that was conducted was an experiment on how the age of a child reflects on the child psychologically. It shows:

AGE:                              PERCENTAGE OF ALL CSA:
0-3 YEARS:               APPR. 10%
4-7 YEARS:               APPR. 28%
8-11 YEARS:             APPR. 26%
12 AND OLDER:          APPR. 36%

This research clearly indicates that as a child the older a child is the harder it is for them to deal with sexual molestation. When children are young they typically have a strong fear of being separated from their parents. "They might show behaviors of earlier development stages (regressive behavior) like thumb-sucking, bed-wetting, or they cannot sleep alone in their beds anymore (fear of darkness).

The emotional and psychological aspects have effects that are traumatizing and devastating to the extent that it interferes with the individual's ability to function in daily life.

Molestation is a serious matter and should be looked into more. The reason it gets overlooked is because the majority of the victims don't report the situation. In my opinion molestation is rape. It doesn't matter how old someone is, when someone gets sexually mistreated then it is considered rape. This scars a child emotionally and psychologically. No child deserves to go through that. The child develops low self-esteem and has social issues. They are not able to socialize with other kids and most of them become loners. They start having trust tribulations around others. They are afraid that some classmates might find out and make fun of them for it. It is embedded in their heads that it is their fault that it had happened and they believe that they should be punished for it when clearly it is not their fault. When the child becomes an adult their past never dies down so they intend on abusing alcohol and start harming their bodies because they are depressed.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coachNote from Darlene: If I have not left a comment on your story, please understand that it is not personal; it's just that my hectic schedule no longer permits me to do so.

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Comments for Child Abuse – Molestation

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May 09, 2010
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Very good article! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and expertise on this matter with my visitors and me. There are three areas where I would add my own thoughts: One relates to the research on how children who are molested cope, based on age; another relates to the chart that reflects percentage of child sexual abuse by age, and the third relates to why child molestation is overlooked. When a child is being molested from a very early age (as opposed to molestation that starts when the child is older), that child does not question what is happening because it has become "normalized" in the child's life. They've "grown up" with it. I believe this also contributes to the very young child's ability to cope with what's happening, in part because they don't have a sense that they are being singled out with harm; it becomes the "norm" for that child, and that child learns coping skills early on. As for my second point, the chart shown above indicates that teens are at greatest risk for sexual abuse; that, or we are aware of those cases because teens are in a better position to remember and actually report or confide that sexual abuse took place. As for child molestation being overlooked, while I agree that lack of reporting contributes to this, the very young child cannot articulate what is happening; s/he must rely on adults and caregivers to see the signs and then act on them. And all too often when young children tell, they are either misunderstood because of their lack of articulation skills, or they are labeled as liars and fibbers. And families contribute significantly when they fail to see the signs, and/or fail to believe the child who does report. The situation is made much worse when family sides with the molester, thereby teaching the child that s/he cannot rely on the adults and caregivers to do what they should, which puts that child at risk for further victimization at the hands of the same molester, as well as others as the child gets older.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

May 09, 2010
I was afraid all my friends would find out, even though it was done right in front of them as they all watched.
by: Scott 1

Yes, interesting article. I agree, what a mess it has made on us.

May 10, 2010
empowering and powerful explanations, most valueable
by: maurice

It was good for me to read both understandings: Knowledge is always helpful of what and how molestation and abuse are related and made known to the people that matter who can do something for the victim: Not enough people out there who can be the voice for the voiceless: The victims of abuse and molestation: We need to educate families, schools, institutions on the seriousness of molestation: Yes there is a greater awareness in our society world wide as the Media highlight the whole issue for open debate: Thankfully the greater percent of family life is normal, natural, wholesome and good where children are loved and cherished equally in todays world: That is a blessing: In my journeying with with god families I am still learning how difficult it is still for parents to lovingly and naturally teach their children about their bodies and sexuality. Many out of fear that it might be regarded as abuse: But NOW as always children and teenagers learn fast and understand why their parent's have that difficulty: I believe that we talk about abuse in general terms as if everyone we are taliking to understands fully what abuse really is: Many of my own age generation who were abused can name their abuse but many don't want to name exactly what abuse really is and thus confine it to physical or sexual: Not taking into account all the other forms: Your explanations will be a great help to all your visitors Darlene: We need to go outside the box to pass on this valueable account of abuse to our friends and the wider community we live in: Than You.

May 10, 2010
more thoughts
by: Anonymous

I'm not disagreeing re: percentages and ages - am I right here, that if molestation occurs at later date, it is more traumatizing? (assuming that it occurred ONLY during this particular time slot, and child experienced 'normal' childhood during other times?

From the 'child abuse' class I took in order to be credentialed as a teacher, there was a real 'disconnect' between those who said 'sexual abuse is worse' (social workers?) and 'physical abuse is worse' (medical personnel?). I remember reading that there was a battle over research money - and questions regarding the actual incidence rate of one vs. another. In the end, ultimately, I think the researchers identified that "emotional abuse" linked not only these two types of abuse, but all the others (verbal, psychological, neglect). And (Bessel Van der Kolk?) and others said that it is the prolonged nature of abuse, that if it starts early and continues for a long period of time - the DURATION of abuse occurring over time is exceptionally destructive for "complex PTSD".

My abuse did NOT include molestation, but it was absolutely every bit as destructive to me. It started very early (emotional coldness, psychological and verbal abuse) and has essentially lasted a lifetime. My mother was truly narcissistic. It's linked to having a disability - and quite literally being blamed for whatever troubles, worries, etc., my parents experienced. She was exceptionally verbally abusive to me when I spent 2 weeks with her, alone, a few years ago (my FIRST time since I left home at 22 - 38 years ago!).

Because the memories, feelings, etc., haven't gone away even though I've done therapy "forever" I asked the therapist why? Was I ruminating and couldn't "get over"? How did I screw up my coping skills so I am still "here"?

He said it is because the abuse was profound. (His word, not mine.) He said because it went for so long. He said others who have experienced profound abuse have become psychotic, schizophrenic, substance abusers, committing suicide early, etc. I asked him when I might 'be over it'. He said it would be my whole life, most likely. THAT ... was hard, because that essentially is my own worst fear - that my entire existence on this earth has been either experiencing s**t or experiencing all the effects of it.

I guess what I am saying here is that we can't rank order the types of child abuse. I think that "child abuse experts" have missed the mark by intimating that only mentally retarded or physically handicapped kids (the two groups in 'children with disabilities' that are identified).

May 10, 2010
To Anonymous re your comment titled "more thoughts"
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

The page Sexual Abuse Effects on my site here might be helpful, in particular, the section titled Factors That Influence Sexual Abuse Effects. Although the information is directed toward child sexual abuse, one can also apply the information to other forms of abuse.

From Victim to Victory, a memoir
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
From Victim to Victory, a memoir

May 12, 2010
Control: Control: Abuse of the dignity and integrity of the individual
by: maurice

Anonymous (more thoughts) No human being in their right minds could justify Abuse on another human being at any age: Child Abuse is as we know control of the innocent mind of a child: A cruel and depraved self gratification of the adult on the vunerability of the child: When abuse occurs in the older child==teenager/teenager/young adult then tragically that in my understanding is more dangerous and scary: Sex traficking we know is total abuse of that age bracket of males/females: These surely are held against their wills and are cruelly beaten if they don't perform for the ir abusers to make money for them: This abuse is mor degrading and longer lasting because these beautiful gentle are brain washed against their wills: Now equally Fathers/Parents who abuse their older children is longer lasting too because they are confined and vunerable to their family house (not home) because of their circumstances of isolation or un-employed and theirefore are under the thumb of their abuser: You'll observe my rules while you are under my roof: Far too often we hear of toung adult females being beaten with their fathers belt at his every whim: supported by his wife their mother who is equally under his control: The you adult males fight back but sadly get greater beatings and hittings from their stronger abuser: Thus creating an unreal household in the name of being family: This abuse happens right accross the boards@ status or circumstances of familes has nothing to make it greater or lesser in a paticular levels of poverty or wealth: Thank you for keeping dialouge going on this very serious side of our society today: Stay safe: Be safe and keep being a voice for the voiceless

Nov 03, 2011
very good
by: BMW Princess

That was a very good article.
I hope all child abusers have to someday face up to how many lives they've destroyed.
Maybe not in this life maybe in the next

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