Sexual Abuse

Therapy for Sexual and other forms of abuse, and other Sexual related Trauma

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, or below the legal age of consent (16)

Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is the forcing of undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.

Sexual assault can range from inappropriate touching, to a life-threatening attack, rape or any form of penetration. It’s a myth that victims of sexual assault always look battered and bruised. A sexual assault may leave no outward signs, but it’s still a crime and leave emotional bruises.

Abuse is the improper usage or treatment of an entity, often to unfairly or improperly gain benefit. Abuse can come in many forms, such as: physical or verbal maltreatment, injury, sexual assault, violation, rape, unjust practices; wrongful practice or custom; offence; crime, or otherwise verbal aggression
Emotional abuse (also known as psychological abuse) is any act including confinement, isolation, verbal assault, humiliation, intimidation, infantilization, or any other treatment which may diminish the sense of identity, dignity, and self-worth.
Physical abuse is an intentional act of another party involving contact intended to cause feelings of physical pain, injury, or other physical suffering or bodily harm.

Domestic violence, also known as domestic abuse, spousal abuse, battering, family violence, dating abuse, and intimate partner violence (IPV), is a pattern of behaviour which involves the abuse by one partner against another in an intimate relationship such as marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family. Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical aggression or assault (hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, restraining, slapping, throwing objects, battery), or threats thereof; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; controlling or domineering; intimidation; stalking; passive/covert abuse (e.g., neglect); and economic deprivation.

Date rape is forcible sexual intercourse during a voluntary social engagement in which the “victim” did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts (either by verbal refusal, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical resistance).

“I was struck by Deon Wiggetts #my onlystory admission that he was sexually assaulted by a school teacher at Grey College, a prestigious school in Bloemfontein as a teenage more than 20 years ago. He said he stayed silent because he was afraid he would not be believed. He went on to explain that, at the time, and for years to follow, he thought the abuse was his fault”
“I was sexually abused by two different men when I was a young teenager. I lived in a vessel of shame and fear for over 40 years. I found himself in a relationship who recreated this abuse by acting toward me in demeaning and belittling ways. I felt like what happened was my fault.”

The story of ***** “When **** was thirteen she was a typical teenage girl—concerned about her body and consumed by boys. Shortly after her fourteenth birthday, it didn’t take long for her to find a boy she liked. She had just started attending a new youth group in a local church when she first locked eyes with —–. That night he offered to drive her home and she accepted. When they got to her house, he asked her out to the movies and she accepted. But then she remembered that she was barely fourteen, and —– was almost seventeen. Her parents had a rule about dating—not until you’re sixteen. But **** was so thrilled to have the attention of a boy she liked that she decided to lie to her parents. She told them the whole youth group was going to the drive-in, and they believed her since she had never given them a reason not to trust her.

It was a balmy August night when they first went out, and from that moment they were hooked. They started seeing each other nearly every day, and **** parents were thrilled that she was spending so much time with the “youth group.” Weeks went by and****t began to \

One September night **** and —- went to a friend’s house to hang out in the hot tub, since the friend’s parents were out of town. They splashed and laughed, and —- gently kissed **** and told her how much he loved being near her. Then he started to touch her breasts and she began to cry. She had never been in a physical relationship before and she was not comfortable doing that. But —-‘s response put her at ease. “I’m sorry, I love you. Let’s pray.” She believed him, especially since he told her that he loved her. So far in life, ****’s experiences had taught her that people who love you don’t intentionally hurt you. But the next night they went back to the hot tub and he started again. Except this time he tried to go even further. Again, **** cried, and —- was quick to respond, “I’m sorry, I love you. Let’s pray.” **** believed him again. In her mind he was her first love, and she believed that he loved her and he loved God.

The next time —- touched her, he proved that he did not really love her and was not worthy of her trust. On a warm evening in October they were together at his grandparents’ house, alone in the backyard. They looked up at the full moon as —- began touching her with tender kisses and gentle strokes of her hair, saying over and over, “I love you…I love you.” But in an instant the tender gentleness turned into a forceful, methodical touch. His sweet voice changed to a harsh tone. He forced her onto the ground, as she cried, “No…No.” She struggled, confused by what was happening. But she could not stop him. Within seconds, he lifted her skirt and forced himself inside of her. And within seconds it was over. It all happened so quickly, but **** recalls every vivid detail. Her boyfriend had sex with her against her will.

She lay on the ground as —- quickly got up, adjusted himself, and looked at her tear-stained face. “What the hell is the matter with you?” he asked harshly. “I love you. Get up.” Disillusioned, she thought to herself, “He’s right. What is the matter with me?” So she picked herself up, dusted herself off, and acted like it never happened.

She walked away from that experience a different girl. In a matter of seconds her world was turned upside-down and nothing would ever be the same— not her family, her friends, her school, God, and especially the way she viewed herself. She thought it was her fault, and in the days, months and years that followed, she felt like a thick, dark fog surrounded her, as she felt the beating of a constant pain inside her”

Most of my clients come to see me when they get to the point where their abuse is ruining many parts of their lives. It is not uncommon for me to meet someone a few years after their trauma occurred.
Sexual trauma and abuse take away the victim’s voice and convince them that being a victim is their identity, and that this is somehow their fault. It takes years for survivors to work through all aspects of their assault or abuse. The layers of pain and shame that follow are like an onion that needs to be peeled to its core. Everyone heals at her or his own pace.

Therapy can help to manage symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims cannot just “get over it.” Therapy help clients to learn how to manage the triggers and flashbacks and help to make meaning of the long term effect of this abuse and the feelings that have control over them in an unfulfilled life.