Helping Parents Deal With The Guilt Of Child Sexual Abuse

The guilt associated with the fact that one’s child has been sexually abused is enormous. Usually, in cases of sexual abuse, the perpetrator is someone within the family. The “family member” may not be a blood relative, but could be someone who is considered a trustworthy part of the family, such as a very close friend or a cousin. The discovery that someone you love and trust has sexually abused your child is extremely stressful and can lead to intense feelings of shock, rage, confusion, denial, disbelief and guilt. Dealing with these reactions and helping your child recover from the abuse requires time, strength, and support from your family and professionals. Facing the reality of sexual abuse can be painful. But by ending the secrecy surrounding sexual abuse, you can help your family heal, protect and nurture your child so that he or she can grow into a healthy and successful adult.

When children are abused by adults who are supposed to protect them from harm, their ability to trust and rely on adults is severely affected. Knowing that the abuser is liked by other family members makes it all the more difficult for children to tell others about the abuse. Children who have been abused by a family member are more likely to blame themselves for the abuse than those who are abused by someone outside the family unit. This is true of the parents as well, who may decide against outing the abuser due to the fear of severing filial ties. 


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