Counseling For Teen Sexual Abuse

What is Sexual Abuse?

Many youth who experience sexual behavior problems have been victims of sexual abuse.  Sexual abuse can be physical, verbal and/or emotional. It is an abuse of power and often of trust by someone who uses another person for his or her own sexual pleasure. Sexual assault refers to any unwanted actions that are of a sexual nature that make the victim feel frightened or hurt them in some way.

  • having parts of one’s body touched in a sexual way.
  • being kissed inappropriately, in a way that makes one feel uncomfortable.
  • being told to touch parts of one’s own body.
  • being made to touch parts of another person’s body.
  • being made to watch someone masturbate or touch their own body in a sexual way.
  • being made, by coercion or physical force, to act or model for pornographic purposes, or to watch pornographic material.
  • being watched while showering or changing.
  • putting objects (including penis and fingers) in the anus or mouth, and for young women, the vagina.
  • making one have sex, or do sexual things with other people (rape).
  • making sexual comments and suggestions to another person.
  • sending sexual comments or suggestions via SMS or email.

 STAR Guides Wilderness - Counseling For Teen Sex Abuse

What are the effects of sexual abuse?

The effects of sexual abuse can vary a great deal. A victim could be reminded of the abuse in many different ways and at different times. Because of this, getting help and participating in counseling is an important part of recovery from sexual abuse. Listed are effects of sexual abuse:

Relationships

The abuse may have been perpetrated by someone known by the victim which creates problems for developing relationships and being afraid of trusting anyone again.

Poor self-perception

A victim’s self-esteem or view of self may change, and this can lead the victim to lose self-confidence.

Nightmares or flashbacks

It is common to experience nightmares, and for memories of what happened to come at unpredictable times. Things such as places, smells, rooms, or clothes can remind or trigger memories of the abuse.

Sexual abuse also puts people at risk of sexually transmitted infections, and for girls, an unwanted pregnancy.

Does this mean I'm gay?

A common misconception is that if a young man is sexually abused by a man, it means that the male victim may become sexually attracted to men.  Being attracted to other men is not generally related to whether or not the victim was sexually abused by a man.   Being raped or abused does not need to impact on whether the victim is attracted to men or women.

Will I become an abuser too?

A common misconception is that teens who are sexually abused go on to become abusers themselves. This is not true and the link between the two is in no way proven. The victim has a choice about whether this is true for them. There is no reason to believe that being abused leads to becoming a perpetrator of abuse in the future. Every individual has control over their own life and can make choices based on what is right for them.

What am I feeling?

As there can be so many effects from sexual abuse, the victim may have a difficult time emotionally dealing with so much at once. Some may believe that the abuse has not affected them, but then may feel emotions that they can’t explain, or have sudden mood swings.

Fear

The victim may have felt a very strong sense of fear at the time of the abuse because of the abuser.

The victim may not have spoken out in order to protect themselves, fearing that they would be at more risk if the abuser found out that they reported it or told someone.

Anger

The victim may feel angry toward the abuser who has done this to them.

The victim may feel angry toward themself, thinking that they should have been able to stop it from happening.

Isolation

Although many people experience sexual abuse, it is common to feel alone and isolated since most people do not talk about it.

Knowing that there are other people that can relate to may help the victim to not feel so isolated.

Sadness

The victim may feel sad about the invasion into their privacy, and for the loss of their rights.

Guilt

Guilt is a terrible emotion to feel during or after a sexually abusive situation, and must be reversed.

The abuser should feel guilty, not the victim. Abuse of any form is about power, not about sex.

If the victim feels guilty, then the abuse will still be living strongly and it is important to change this. A counselor may be able to help, and a good friend can be helpful too.

Confused

With all those emotions, it might be fair to feel confused. If the abuser was someone the victim was once close to, they may even still feel love for them, or not know what to think.

What if I felt like I enjoyed it?

Some teens worry because their bodies may appear to become sexually aroused by what is happening to them, even though it frightens them. This is a physical reaction and it is your body’s way of coping with the situation. This does not mean that you wanted or enjoyed the abuse.

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