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California Legal Blog For Victims Of Abuse

Why sex therapy is important for abuse survivors

In our prior post, we highlighted some of the reasons why sex abuse victims develop or maintain destructive habits, basically masking the shame or pain they hold from the attack. Because of this, therapy is key in their recovery. Sometimes it may be for alcoholism or anger issues, but invariably sex therapy is needed sex abuse survivors.

Healing in this regard can be empowering. This post will identify a few of the benefits.

Why sex abuse victims have destructive habits

For those who have not experienced the psychological trauma that a rape can bring, it may be difficult to understand how pervasive the pain can be and how long it can persist. There are countless stories of people who go to great lengths to numb or block out the pain they feel because of their attack, as well as those who develop destructive habits because of the shame they feel because they were treated so badly.

To put it in perspective, rape can be psychologically devastating to the victim. It is as if the victim is irreparably poisoned and disconnected from their soul. In order to survive, they essentially become convinced that they must live their lives as a different person. To achieve this, victims are apt to turn to destructive vices such as alcohol and drugs. 

Why a lawyer and counselor is important in sex abuse cases

The story of an 8-year-old girl who was locked in a confined space for years is a horrific story, but one of many that go untold. Not only was the young girl emaciated when authorities discovered her, the other children in the house were instructed to lie about her existence. Prosecutors believe that she was imprisoned in a filthy, urine and feces contaminated closet. The girl’s mother and her stepfather face felony charges for their actions.

It is an unfortunate reality that many children like this may suffer in silence at the hands of abusers. Even more troubling, these abusers are trusted family members, teachers or clergy. Because of this, children may repress memories of these experiences as a coping mechanism, only to have them return later in life when they address other destructive behaviors such as alcoholism or eating disorders. But rediscovering these memories does not make them less valid.

Signs of child sexual abuse and what to do if you see them

Child sexual abuse is a serious problem that affects many children in California. Victims of abuse, however, don’t always come forward. Feelings of shame, guilt and fear can make it difficult for children to tell others about what has happened to them.

For parents, teachers, coaches and others who have children in their lives, this highlights the importance of being able to recognize signs of sexual abuse. Knowing what to look for can help put an end to sexual abuse and ensure the child gets the help they need.

What is required by California's mandatory reporting law?

California lawmakers passed the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act (CANRA) in 1980.  Pursuant to CANRA and its subsequent amendments, certain professionals are required to report known or suspected cases of child abuse.

For example, in schools and classrooms across California, teachers and administrators have a duty to report abuse and neglect. These individuals, or mandatory reporters, are expected to acquire the training and tools needed to recognize signs of suspected abuse. Fortunately, the California Department of Social Services, Office of Child Abuse Prevention, offers online training for mandatory reporters.

Advocating for victims of child sexual abuse

It's not something that anyone likes to talk about, but it is an unfortunate problem we have in society: children being sexually abused. The victims of this horrible crime are left with mental and emotional scars that may never heal. In fact, many victims of sexual abuse bury their memories and forget them, only for that traumatic incident to well up at unexpected moments later in their lives.

Between the incident itself and the person the victim becomes later in life, a lot of time will pass and many different emotions, characteristics, and behaviors will develop in the victim. They may become hardened, and unable to process certain feelings and interact in normal healthy ways -- all because a devious person committed a terrible act when they were younger.

Lawsuit against former priest, Diocese of Orange alleges abuse

An ongoing lawsuit against the Diocese of Orange, a former priest and the All-American Boys Chorus highlights a situation that many children have sadly been forced into. While it shows that coming forward with your story is a difficult and emotional process, it also demonstrates how seeking justice can be very rewarding.