Victim/survivors of child sexual abuse have gone through an ordeal that affects each person differently. For some, it destroys their ability to trust other people. For some, it leads to substance abuse issues and other addictions. For some, it might lead to STD’s/STI’s. For some, there is minimal effect on any major aspect of their life, and they may not call themselves victims or survivors, or think of what happened as abuse, even if the law would define their experience as abuse and would seem abusive to most people.
While some have the idea that many victim/survivors go on to abuse children themselves, this idea does not stand up to research. The idea that sexual abuse is a familial cycle is not an idea that holds up because of that research.
Some will heal, some do not need healing, and some will never heal. Some will report the abuse, but most currently do not: If they do report the abuse, it can take months or years from the initial abuse to disclose the abuse to anyone. Professionals usually call a formal report of abuse, or allegation of abuse “disclosure”, and when different sites talk about handling a disclosure of abuse, they mean how you should react to someone telling you that they were abused. Many avoid disclosing for a wide variety of reasons.
If you recall from the child sexual abuse facts page, the average child abuse victim will cost the economy $210,012. Around 8% of boys are sexually abused, and 19% of girls are sexually abused. Chances are, you know someone who has been sexually abused, even if you do not know who they are. The average false reporting rate is 4-8%, which means that at least 92% of children who say they were sexually abused are telling the truth. Child sexual abuse is an issue that affects everyone, not just the victims, and it is everyone’s responsibility to help end this epidemic.