Sexual abuse is any sexual activity imposed on you that you don't want. It is committed when someone in a position of power or authority takes advantage of your vulnerability, respect and trust, and forces you into any kind of sexual activity you have not consented to.
What Are the Effects of Sexual Abuse?
Immediately after a sexual abuse event it's common to feel shock, numbness, guilt and disbelief. These instant reactions can be followed by a range of effects including:
a sense of loss of control or powerlessness
shame, guilt and self-blame
flashbacks and nightmares
a sense of being detached from reality or separate from your own body,
What is Meant by the Term 'Rape Culture'?
It's a term we are hearing a lot about in New Zealand at the moment. Rape culture refers to cultural attitudes and environments that either trivialise or even normalise sexual abuse.
Examples of rape culture include:
blaming the victim (“She asked for it!”)
trivialising sexual assault (“Boys will be boys!”)
sexually explicit jokes
tolerance of sexual harassment
publicly scrutinising a sexually abused person's dress, mental state, motives, and history
defining 'manhood' as dominant and sexually aggressive
defining 'womanhood' as submissive and sexually passive
pressure on men to 'score'
pressure on women to not appear 'cold'
assuming only promiscuous women get raped
assuming a woman is 'up for it' by the way she dresses
assuming that men don’t get raped or that only 'weak' men get raped
refusing to take rape accusations seriously
teaching women to avoid getting raped instead of teaching men not to rape
What Should I Do if I've Been Sexually Abused?
Sometimes it will feel like the abuse was somehow your fault; that maybe you were partly to blame. Sexual abuse is never the fault - in any way - of the person who was abused. However, your feelings of guilt can prevent you from getting the help you need. Even if you feel you have recovered from the crisis of the abuse, it can still have significant and long-term effects on your well-being.
It's important to get help for yourself as soon as possible, so that you can address any serious psychological and emotional difficulties that can occur.
At HELP, we are here for you. if you've experienced sexual abuse, we encourage you to get in touch with us. We are just a phone call or email away. We believe in you and we believe in your recovery.
What if I Want to Go to the Police?
We can help you with that too. We have some excellent videos from New Zealand Police in our Media section that outline the whole process of reporting sexual abuse to the Police for you.
Here at HELP we can assist you with any information and support you need for reporting rape or sexual abuse to the Police. Just get in touch.