Incest and Child Sexual Abuse: Definitions, Perpetrators, Victims, and Effects

Written by Kali Munro, M.Ed., Psychotherapist

Continued from page 1

Denial is recognizable by a survivor saying, "it didn't happen; I must be making it up; after all how can I be sure anything actually happened; and what if Iím wrong; it probably didn't happen; it couldnít have happened."

In my experience, some denial even as an adult can be helpful. Denial can help slowrepparttar process down. We know denial helps a child to survive. We cannot expect someone to simply abandon their hard earned coping strategies even if they are safe now. Safety is not only an external reality it is an internal one as well. Many survivors do not feel safe and may need some denial to cope with how they feel.

Too much denial leads to all sorts of problems asrepparttar 132616 abuse is not addressed. This kind of denial is harmful and is fuelled in part byrepparttar 132617 denial ofrepparttar 132618 "False Memory Syndrome" Foundation and other parts of society who would rather deny than facerepparttar 132619 reality of child sexual abuse.

Dissociation, DID, MPD, and Multiplicity

We all dissociate to some extent or another. Babies do it quite regularly. It is a natural physiological response to being overwhelmed. Children who are sexually abused are extraordinarily overwhelmed. Dissociation allowsrepparttar 132620 child to literally take a break fromrepparttar 132621 abuse, to distance her/himself from what is going on, and ultimately to survive.

Some survivors describe dissociation as feeling as though they were not really there duringrepparttar 132622 abuse, but were far away perhaps watching from a distance. Some survivors describe it as they split off fromrepparttar 132623 abuse, and floated up torepparttar 132624 ceiling or into a crack inrepparttar 132625 wall. Some survivors go really far away, deep inside themselves, and create different personalities to deal withrepparttar 132626 abuse. Multiple personalities are usually formed inrepparttar 132627 context of more extreme, frequent, or sadistic abuse.

Dissociation occurs on a continuum fromrepparttar 132628 far left where someone is not present inrepparttar 132629 moment and is off somewhere else, they may or may not feel spacey--everyone does this at one time or another. Further alongrepparttar 132630 continuum people feel split, or like they are not one person inside, usually there is an adult and a really vulnerable or hurt kid. Further along, survivors have a few dissociated personalities. Even further towardrepparttar 132631 right ofrepparttar 132632 continuum, people have many different personalities, identities, parts, fragments, and/or different groups of parts inside. These personalities may or may not have names. Survivors nearrepparttar 132633 right end may not have fully formed personalities, but lots of highly fragmented parts. Atrepparttar 132634 far right end, survivors lose time which they may or may not be aware of. They may find themselves places, and not remember how they got there and haverepparttar 132635 experience of living different "lives".

In addition to a continuum of dissociation and multiplicity, there is a continuum of co-consciousness--the degree to which parts inside are aware of each other, and communicate and cooperate with one another. Achieving co-consciousness is an important step inrepparttar 132636 healing process. For help responding to different parts inside and developing internal cooperation see my article DID, MPD, or Multiplicity: Responding to Parts Inside With a Focus on Kids

Problems with Boundaries

Because a survivor's boundaries were not respected--they were utterly violated--s/he may have a lot of difficulty knowing where her/his boundaries are, how to maintain them, and how to protect her/himself from those who do not respect or try to violate her/his boundaries. This leaves many survivors vulnerable to further abuse.

Trusting Others

It can be very difficult for a survivor to trust anyone. It can be even harder when that person is close to them, and cares for them. Oftenrepparttar 132637 abuser was that--someone who had a close and trusting relationship with them. Adult relationships, particularly sexual ones, can be quite challenging and triggering for survivors. Atrepparttar 132638 same time, they can be a source of great love, safety, and healing too.

Relationship With One's Body

Sincerepparttar 132639 abuse took place on and inrepparttar 132640 body,repparttar 132641 body can becomerepparttar 132642 enemy. After all many survivors' carry a great deal of pain and memories in their bodies. Desperately needing ways to cope with this pain can lead to a variety of coping strategies including eating disorders, self-injurious behaviors, numbing, inability to enjoy sex, having lots of sex, poor body image, a generalized separation from and disregard for one's body, dissociation, and gender-identity issues.

Coping Behaviors

There are a whole range of behaviors that survivors may engage in that come from having been sexually abused. They include: addictions, prostitution, isolation, frequent sexual activity, avoidance of sex, over-working, inability to work, high-functioning, low-functioning, argumentativeness, avoiding conflict, perfectionist, and wanting to please others.

All of these behaviors were learned in response to abuse and served an important purpose--staying sane and alive. It is important to not judge your or anyone else's ways of coping--you're here because of them.

Other effects

These may include nightmares, insomnia, panic attacks, flashbacks, anxiety attacks, terror, inability to go outside, afraid being alone, afraid being with other people, numerous trigger-responses, headaches, and physical problems (yeast infections, bladder infections, anal bleeding, etc.)

A Final Thought

While it may be tempting to focus on how awful it is to be abused, it's important to not lose sight ofrepparttar 132643 reality that survivors are full human beings with many gifts and talents to offerrepparttar 132644 world. Some ofrepparttar 132645 most sensitive, intuitive, deep, profound, creative, and hopeful people I've known are incest/child sexual abuse survivors. They were able to be that way by not losing touch with their humanity--their soulfulness--inrepparttar 132646 face of others' inhumanity. We can all learn a great deal from survivors.

© Kali Munro, 2000.

Kali Munro, M.Ed., is a psychotherapist in private practice with twenty years experience. She offers free healing resources at her site,

What is to Blame?

Written by Adam Braden

Continued from page 1

The most imporant factor behind teen violence is a child's background. If children grow up in a household where they are left to fend for themselves, they oftentimes begin using drugs, failing out of school, and becoming violent. Therefore, music doesn't have any influence onrepparttar child growing up; it is lack of parental guidance that leads to violence. Nevertheless, if a child is raised in a family whererepparttar 132614 right morals and values are taugh, listening to some type of "vulgar" music won't necessarily corrupt them. Children need to have a person to talk to about their problems and misgivings in life, whether it's their parents, teachers, or even their friends. Someone without these outlets tends to let their rage build up inside them until it bursts without warning. For example,repparttar 132615 Columbine killers were practically ignored by their parents. They built pipe bombs in their rooms and basements, were convicted of robberies and other crimes, and bought weapons with ease, often shooting them around their homes. If their parents would have paid more attention to them and punished them for these actions, those thirteen people may still be alive today. However, their ignorance was overlooked initially and once again music was to blame.

To hold music itself accountable forrepparttar 132616 crimes committed in today's society is almost as appalling asrepparttar 132617 crime itself. The criminal and their background are far more important than what kind of music they enjoyed. Maybe they were abused by their parents, ridiculed by their classmates, or scorned by their superiors. It seems that everything rational is thrown outrepparttar 132618 window in favor of takingrepparttar 132619 easy road for a motive. Remember, music doesn't pullrepparttar 132620 trigger,repparttar 132621 suspect does.

I am a freshman at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. This is a paper from my Freshman comp class on Music and Violence that I am choosing to publish to get some extra credit in the class. Thanks

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