People don’t like to talk about child abuse. Victims often blame themselves and feel ashamed. Society doesn’t help either because adults surviving child abuse are expected to ‘get over it’. In many cases it’s not that simple.
· More than 2 million adult Australians have experienced child abuse
· One in 3 girls and one in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18
· Abuse can be sexual, physical or emotional or neglect of a child’s basic needs
· Abuse can affect people right into old age
· How can child abuse affect you?
Child abuse can harm your mental and/or physical health, the way you feel about yourself and even the way you relate to others.
Some people manage relatively well whereas others struggle from day to day. The good news is that with the right help adult survivors of child abuse can feel and function better.
What should you do?
If you feel you were abused as a child, talk to your GP. Speaking about abuse is not easy but your doctor is there to listen and help. Being heard is often the first step to better health and wellbeing.
Remember that it was not your fault. No child is ever to blame for being abused.
Your doctor may suggest you see a counsellor or refer you to an organisation called ASCA (Adults Surviving Child Abuse). ASCA runs workshops for survivors around Australia.
Go to www.asca.org.au for more information or ring 1300 657 380.