Thinking. Sexual abuse has an ongoing effect.
1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have been sexually abused in some way during their childhood, according to the figures stated on this website by the Royal Womens Hospital in Victoria.
Why am I writing this? Because I have been amazed at the prevalence of abuse amongst people who have come to me for informal counselling over the last few years.
I'm not a therapist and I've never studied counselling, but I'm getting so I can almost pick the people who have suffered in this way. If it's appropriate, I'll ask the question, and so far my hunches have been accurate.
Is it a big deal? Yes. It's a massive deal. It affects the lives of the victims for years. I've seen people who have acted out or repressed themselves or dissociated from their body or gotten chronically sick or not been able to hold down a job or a study course or have suffered from major depressions. And for the large part, their difficulties can be traced back to being abused by someone bigger, stronger and more powerful than they.
As Alice Miller says, "The body doesn't forget."
Abuse and its associated emotions, feelings and meanings are stored in the bodies of the victims. Until and unless they deal with the hurt and the horrors they were subjected to, they can't be free of the damaging effects.