My sexual abuse finally stopped once I started my menstrual cycle. The enduring effects caused by physical, mental, sexual abuse and neglect would be with me for the rest of my life. It was like looking at the world through shattered glass.
Abuse and neglect affect brain development in a negative way. It can cause chemical changes in the brain; as well as structural changes; which can be drastic.
Malnutrition also affects the way the brain develops and interactions in the brain. It is mind-boggling to see a healthy 3-year-old’s brain next to one that has experienced extreme neglect.
“It is now clear that what a child experiences in the first few years of life largely determines how his brain will develop and how he will interact with the world throughout his life.” Ounce of Prevention Fund, 1996
We can never reach our full potential because of the abuse and neglect. A very difficult fact to come to terms with.
(The following excerpt has been reproduced with permission from www.childwelfare.gov)
Sexual abuse causes Dissociative Identity Disorder, where the child becomes motionless (freezing) and compliant and eventually dissociating; this is often called the “surrender” response (Perry, Pollard, Blakely, Baker & Vigilante, 1995). People describe children in a dissociative state as numb, non-reactive, or “acting like they aren’t there.” DID with no integration will remain with you for life.
These children are communicating non-verbally with us, and we need to learn the language and educate others who work with children who have been maltreated about this language (Perry, 1999). Children do not just “get over it.” As they attempt to cope, as their brains adapt to the negative environments, their true emotional, behavioral, cognitive, and social potential may be diminished (Perry, Pollard, Blakely, Baker &
Abuse victims go through the grieving process (for the person they could have been); have feelings of shame, humiliation, grief, low self-esteem; and feel helpless and hopeless. We go through failed relationships and marriages and our physical bodies are not as healthy as they could have been. Later in life, abuse victims have increased chances of irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, insomnia and our immune system is not what it should be.
I personally suffer from fibromyalgia, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, cardiovascular disease and a compromised immune system; with the possibility of lupus. My irritable bowel syndrome started when I was in the first grade. For the entire school year, every time I saw the bus coming I would vomit and I still have the irritable bowel syndrome. The irritable bowel made school even worse than it already was. As a child, I was plagued with kidney infections and urinary tract infections and that came from the molestation. I was afraid at school and always wanted to go home. That pretty much lasted through grade school.
There is nothing in the life of survivors that has not been touched by the abuse. It’s a long, hard battle to try and fit all the pieces back together.
If prosecuted, pedophiles normally are sentenced to eleven years in prison.