BLOG 8: WHY DO ADULTS WAIT SO LONG TO DISCLOSE SEXUAL ABUSE?

The answer can be complex but information from several narratives exist to tell the story. When adults delay disclosure of sexual abuse, this impacts their overall health and wellbeing. Some factors that contribute to a decision to postpone disclosure depend on whether the adults felt safe (as a child or adolescent) to confide in another person. If a child perceives adults as unsafe or uncaring, they are less likely to reveal sexual abuse (Bannon, Salwen, Read more…

Conversational Tips to Listen to a Teenage Friend Who Discloses Sexual Abuse

Teenagers are more likely to disclose sexual abuse to their friends before they tell their parents or authority personnel (Powers, Ressler, Bradley, 2009). Often, the teen hearing the sexual abuse disclosure may not know how to respond to this devastating information about their friend.  A healthy supportive friendship will allow the teen to feel safe and comfortable to reveal the sexual abuse. If a teen tells a friend who is not in a healthy state Read more…

The Reasons Why Sexual Abuse Disclosure Is Challenging for Teenagers

Why is sexual abuse disclosure so hard for teenagers? Imagine you are a teenager who was sexually abused as a child or as a teenager. The idea of a safe person will instantly change after sexual abuse. This is especially true for teenagers who were sexually abused by a close family member. It is also alarming to share about sexual abuse that happened with someone outside of the family. The thought of sexual abuse disclosure Read more…

Empowering Children and Youth Survivors of Sexual Abuse with Life-Giving Words

The words that we speak to ourselves and others matter. It is especially important to speak life–giving words to children and youth survivors of sexual abuse. How often do we hear words that spark us back to life? Do we believe that we are valuable, worthy, and loved even when we make mistakes? Do we believe that we are a mistake? Throughout the day, our brain has thousands of thoughts that either influence in a Read more…

Emotional Support Strategies for Children and Youth Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Why is emotional support a necessary part of the healing process for children and youth who are survivors of sexual abuse?  Emotional support means showing empathy, compassion, and genuine concern for others; this leads to greater emotional well-being. An important aspect of the process is helping children and youth regulate their emotions. Emotional regulation is the process of building and establishing healthy friendships (Hebert, Langevin, & Oussaid, 2018). Having emotional support systems will help them Read more…

Photo of two teens talking on swings

Ways to Build Healthy Friendships for Children and Youth Survivors of Sexual Abuse

What are Some Roadblocks to Building Healthy Friendships? #1 Safety Children and youth survivors of sexual abuse (CSA) may have trouble feeling emotionally and physically safe enough to trust another person after experiencing abuse (Rosenthal, Feiring, & Taska, 2003). What constitutes safety may be perceived differently for every child based on culture and family background. Here are some components of a sense of safety that are common to most people: Emotionally: Feeling comfortable with your Read more…

Picture of kids jumping

Understanding Different Types of Responses from Children and Youth who are Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Why is it important to understand the impact of sexual abuse on children and youth? The World Health Organization (WHO) defines childhood sexual abuse as the involvement of a child in sexual activity that he or she does not fully understand.” (WHO, 1999). Childhood sexual abuse may also include indirect harm to a child who either witnessed sexual abuse, or was subjected to comments or gestures with sexual connotations. In any case, childhood sexual abuse Read more…