Sexual Abuse and Trauma


Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings. While each individual’s experiences and reactions are unique, there are some responses to child sexual abuse that are common to many survivors:


  • Low self-esteem or self-hatred

  • Depression

  • Guilt, shame and blame

    • Survivors may feel guilt or shame because they made no direct attempt to stop the abuse or because they experienced physical pleasure

  • Sleep disturbances / disorders

  • Lack of trust for anyone

  • Revictimization

  • Flashbacks

  • Dissociation

  • Sexuality / Intimacy


Adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse often adopt coping mechanisms (or survival strategies). Here are some common ones:

  • Grieving / Mourning

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Disordered Eating / Eating Disorders

  • Self-injury