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Sexual Abuse

July 13, 2017
When people think of sexual abuse, their mind may go to someone being sexually exploited in a violent situation by a person unknown. That is not the usual case.

Sexual abuse is more often perpetrated by a person known by the person being abused. That person would likely be in a position of trust either by virtue of the relationship or older age.

The process of abuse would start far before any overt sexual behavior. The process more often starts by the perpetrator forming a special and trusting relationship with the child they are seeking to exploit. Over time, the person would isolate the child from others and then gradually and insidiously increase their sexually inappropriate behavior.

Because of this gradual grooming process, the child does not recognize how they got into the situation they find themselves in and can therefore be caused to believe they are somehow at fault or at least complicit.

This is the great harm of sexual abuse.

It messes with the child’s mind.

Sexual abuse creates confusion as to what can be a trusting or exploitive relationship. It creates confusion where the child come adult feels they can no longer even trust their own judgment. Because of the seemingly positive attention paid in the process, the child may be confused about their role in and even possible enjoyment of the attention. That confusion can follow the child into adulthood.

Children and adult survivors of sexual abuse often need help and support to understand the dynamics of the situation they were caught up in; how their feelings at the time were normal in view of the whole situation; and how they are not at fault for what transpired.

No child consents to be exploited beyond their awareness for someone elses sexual gratification and to have their mind messed with to think they were somehow or other complicit.

If you, your partner or a child you know has been sexually abused, appreciate that they have been exposed to situations beyond their control and awareness. Adjustment takes time and often professional help.

I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue. I am available in person and by Skype.

Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

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Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Dundas and Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America.

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