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Survivors of Female Sexual Abuse

Posted on: October 14, 2009

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Survivors of Female Sexual Abuse

Child Abuse by Mothers Leaves a Deep Scar

Female Sexual Abusers

While there has been media coverage over the last 20 years on domestic violence female sexual abusers, notably Myra Hindley, Rosemary West and Vanessa George. However, there are still no reliable statistics on domestic violence and female sex offenders. The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children’s research from 2005 suggested that 5% of the sexual abuse of children in Britain was committed by women.

Effects of Female Sexual Abuse

Survivors describe their sense of isolation and feeling different, particularly because of society’s reluctance to accept that women sexually abuse children and commit more domestic violence then men. They may spend their lives in hiding, or silently carrying around this deep dark secret.

Some survivors withdraw from others, becoming socially isolated. Unable to maintain relationships because of their fear of being found out, they carry their secret and pain, believing that if anyone who cared about them found out, it would ensure certain rejection. “Toxic shame masks our deepest secrets about ourselves; it embodies our belief that we are essentially defective.” (Bradshaw, Healing the Shame that Binds You, 1988). No wonder many survivors withdraw into their own worlds.

Why the Resistance to Acknowledging Sexual Abuse by Women?

Resistance is partly due to the status bestowed upon mothers and women in our society, and is reinforced by the emphasis on the special bond between mother and child. For example, a mother who abandons her children is maligned and demonized, whereas the reality is that many more men abandon their children, but society sees this as acceptable, even predictable.

To be sexually abused by anyone you trust is devastating, but to be sexually abused by a woman, especially your mother, is seen and experienced by some as the ultimate betrayal.

It can be distressing for survivors to hear people minimising the effects of women sexually abusing children, with comments such as “it can’t be as bad as being abused by a man.” Abuse is abuse whoever the perpetrator.

Isolation and feeling different is something many survivors of childhood sexual abuse feel. However, survivors of female sexual abuse face their own inner turmoil, and the isolation and separateness caused by the lack of awareness of this issue compounds their distress.

Self Help Suggestions for Survivors of Abuse

  • Accept it was not your fault. Abuse of a child whether sexual, physical or emotional is never the child’s fault. You may have been told it was your fault by your abuser; it was not true then and is not true now.
  • Be aware of triggers that can send you into a spiral of negativity, for example depression. When you are aware of your triggers you can take decisive action to do things that will help you out of that negative state (i.e go for a brisk walk, dance, phone a friend.)
  • Stay in the present focusing on your future. Doing this is not ignoring what happened. Looking back reinforces the pain of yesterday. The past can’t be changed.
  • Reach out. Sometimes reaching out to others can be fulfilling for you and for them.
  • Expand your horizons. Have you ever wanted to write a book, learn a language, go to salsa classes? Now is as a good a time to do something for you to stretch yourself and help you feel good about yourself.
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By Cianne Longdon October 9th, 2009 – 03:21 am PT

While survivors of male sexual abuse are acknowledged and supported, resources, information and support specifically for adult survivors of female sexual abuse are scant.

Female Sexual Abusers

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