Sexual Abuse (& Sexual Violence)What is Sexual Abuse?
Abuse is an umbrella term that makes reference to an individual or groups action(s) which intentionally injure or cause harm to another person. Within this there are various types of abuse, however, I offer psychotherapy and counselling to clients aged 18 and above who've been victims/survivors of childhood sexual abuse, as well as domestic abuse and sexual assualt at any time in their lives.
Childhood sexual abuse can be defined as any sexual activity that is unwanted, and where the child is forced and coerced by the perpetrator(s). The child is unable to give consent and generally does not understand what is happening. Sexual activity can be physical e.g. sexual touching, or non-physical e.g.sexual exposure, etc. Childhood sexual abuse is unfortunately very common across all cultures and walks of life, but may not appear to be so as it is still often shrouded in secrecy.
According to the London Metropolitan Police Service, a person is considered to have committed rape if they 'intentionally penetrate the vagina, anus or mouth of another person without consent'. Additionally, a person is considered to have committed sexual assault if they 'intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent'. Sexual abuse and sexual violence can be very difficult to manage in the day-to-day and specific situations for the victim/survivor, and the impact is often complex, varied, and can be deeply traumatising. It can have a detrimental impact emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually and can be disruptive to the victim's relationships with others. (Please click here to see support for non-abusing partners and loved ones of victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence). Victims/survivors can be left with long term struggles in making sense of and trying to live with the abuse experienced and so, counselling and psychotherapy can offer victims/survivors the opportunity to make sense of what's happened in a safe, sensitive and confidential environment.
Some common trauma symptoms are: