Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Adulthood

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Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse in Adulthood Child abuse is a serious issue in today's society. Many people have been victims of child abuse. There are three forms of child abuse: physical, emotional, and sexual. Many researchers believe that sexual abuse is the most detremental of the three. A middle-aged adult who is feeling depressed will probably not relate it back to his childhood, but maybe he should. The short-term effects of childhood sexual abuse have been proven valid, but now the question is, do the long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse affect middle-aged adults? Many contradicting views arise from the subject of childhood sexual abuse. Researchers and psychologists argue on this issue. Childhood sexual abuse has the potential to damage a child physically, emotionally, and behaviorally for the rest of his or her childhood, and the effects have been connected to lasting into middle-aged adulthood. Research has been conducted on what type of children are the most at risk of being sexually abused. Childhood abuse has a greater chance of happening to children of certain backgrounds. One researcher states that "Child sexual abuse occurs more frequently in children from socially deprived and disorganized family backgrounds. Marital dysfunction, as evidenced by parental separation and domestic violence, is associated with higher risks of child sexual abuse" (Mullen 4). Mullen goes on to state that "The possibility has been raised that characteristics such as physical attractiveness, temperament, or physical maturity might increase the risks of children being sexually abused" (4). Many researchers link behavioral problems in adulthood to childhood abuse. One researcher says that "An adult who was sexually abused as a child has a greater chance of becoming violent, suicidal, and abusive to their children than an adult who was not abused sexually as a child" (Kliest 155). These characteristics could hinder a victim from living a normal lifestyle and having a family. Kliest also states, "Adults who were abused sexually as children will have a greater chance than those who were not of experiencing sexual dysfunction, such as flashbacks, difficulty in arousal, and phobic reactions to sexual intimacy" (156). Many researchers agree that childhood sexual abuse has a negative effect on an adult's personal relationships. Another researcher states, "A history of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) appears to have an adverse impact on the quality of adult intimate relationships, and they report avoiding the development of close adult relationships because of their fear of rejection" (Whiffen 1103).

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