The effects of child sexual abuse: an exploration of variables contributing to long term negative effects of child sexual abuse
Sagle, Betty Sherwood
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In a survey of parents, professionals, and college students in Northern Virginia, 123 adults indicated they had experienced child sexual abuse. Their responses were examined in an effort to identify characteristics of child sexual abuse which might be related to long term negative effects. The variables examined include (a) incestuous verses non-family abuse, (b) victim's reported feelings of responsibility about the sexual abuse, (c) victim's reported feelings of guilt about the sexual abuse, (d) the duration of the sexual abuse, (e) the age of the victim at time of the sexual abuse, and (f) whether or not the sexual abuse was kept secret. Only one of the six variables was found to be significantly related to long term negative effects. The research found evidence that keeping the child sexual abuse experience/s secret may be positively related to long term negative effects of child sexual abuse. Of the 83 participants who reported that the sexual abuse had remained a secret, 58 also reported long term negative effects. The importance of creating a safe and secure atmosphere in which children are able to disclose incidents of child sexual abuse is emphasized by the findings of this research.
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