Series on Domestic Violence Part 3: Sexual Abuse

Diana WinklerDomestic Violence, Physical Violence, sexual abuse

Report sexual abuse

You can read Part 1 Physical Violence here.

You can read Part 2 Verbal and Emotional Abuse here

It’s One of the Most Difficult Topics to Talk About.

Sexual abuse has been around for a very long time, but no one wants to talk about it. Although the #MeTooMovement has brought some things out into the limelight, there is still a lot of misinformation, ignorance, and insensitivity around the topic of sexual abuse.

Let’s define what sexual abuse encompasses.

Rape and Sexual Assault

Everyone is familiar with the words rape or sexual assault, yet still the definition of what rape is seems to be a topic of great confusion and controversy. A simple definition is any sexual activity performed on you without your consent or you are unable to give consent.

Penile penetration, vaginal or anal

Forced Oral sex, received or given

Sexual penetration with objects or hands


This is with or without a violent encounter. Just because someone has been drinking doesn’t mean it is ok to take advantage. Just because you give permission once, doesn’t mean consent is given again. You can be raped even if you are married. Even if you are in the middle of a sexual act, you can ask to stop at any time. Rape can be done by strangers or by someone you know.  Someone having sex with you while you are sleeping or incapacitated in any way is rape. What someone wears does not justify raping someone. Standing in front of someone naked doesn’t justify raping someone.

I was raped my a babysitter and his friends. I was screaming for help, but no one was coming to rescue me. I was bleeding profusely from all the boys who took turns on me. I never told anyone for a very long time. I felt so ashamed.

Fondling, Groping and Other Forms of Sexual Contact

Touching of breasts, genitals

Rubbing genitals against victim’s genitals through clothing

Exposure to pornography or an abuser’s genitals

Asking someone to undress or masturbate

Talking about sexual acts

Sexual jokes

Taking advantage of a power differential (a child or mentally incapacitated person)

It is no less disturbing or damaging to have someone touching body parts that no one has any business touching. These acts separate from intercourse can be confusing to someone who is being violated. There usually isn’t any bruises or physical trauma associated with it. No proof to prove to anyone that it happened. But it did happen.  Most victims fell terrible shame and grief when experiencing this kind of abuse. The abusers tell the victims that it is their fault. They are threatened not to tell anyone or there will be consequences.  It is especially traumatizing for a child who trusts the abuser.

I was fondled by a guidance counselor at my school. I was alone in his office with the door closed. He tried to touch my crotch and I pushed his hand away. He tried again. I stood up quickly and said I had to leave. I trusted him, which was upsetting to me the most. I knew he was touching other girls in the school, but I couldn’t prove it.

Sex Trafficking

Otherwise known as prostitution, it can include both sexes, 36% of which are boys. Most people see human trafficking as a problem overseas , but unfortunately, it is a problem right here in the United States, and in your town. It is commonly viewed as a girl being kidnapped from her home and forced into a life of prostitution. More commonly though, sex trafficking is done by people the victims know and trust, such as a boyfriend, a cousin, a girlfriend, and even a mother. There is a process called grooming  that abusers use to get the victim to trust them and accept the sexual activity. It involves gifts, showering affection, little touches here and there, favors.

A lot of girls get trafficked by their supposed boyfriend who was only interested in making money off them. Girls are meeting someone on the internet who is a predator. It takes abusers about a year of “dating” to get the trust built with the girl before introducing “friends” to come over and have sex with her. Sometimes there are drugs to get the victim to comply. She is already emotionally co dependent on this boyfriend, so she doesn’t fight back.

Runaways are another casualty of human trafficking. A gal has a bad home life, maybe abuse at home already, or just not getting along with the parents, like all teenagers. With no family or job or resources, they use sex to survive. They do all these horrible things and feel so ashamed about it that they don’t feel they can ever go back home, even if they wanted to. A lot of times they are addicted to drugs and need to sell their bodies to get the drugs. It is a vicious cycle. No one willingly goes into prostitution or stays in that life because they like it.

I met this guy online. He said he would take care of me. He sent me gifts and flowers and told me he loved me. I confided in him about my issues with my parents and he was so understanding. One night I had a fight with my parents. I had my boyfriend pick me up after bedtime and snuck out the window. He proceeded to take me to a motel where there were other men there. I refused to do what they wanted and cried. The men raped me while my boyfriend said he owned me. That I had no choice.


Incest has been around a very long time but it doesn’t make the idea of it any easier to swallow. What kind of parent sexually molests their child? Another question is why some parents who know incest is happening don’t do anything to stop it. Incest can be done by any member of a family. Sometimes it is violent and sudden, but many times the victim is groomed over a long period of time to gain compliance and secrecy. The victim doesn’t know anything else. The victim has always been violated by this person, and thinks every family acts this way. It is not only in poor areas like the south, or the Asian countries far away. It happens more often that people realize to people you know. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor or what race you are. It’s there. And it is disgusting and vile as it sounds. It is unacceptable for children to be violated by people who are supposed to protect them.

A male relative tried to rape me at my house. I was crying for help as he was taking my clothes off. There were two women who knew it was taking place and did nothing but laugh and walk away. Why didn’t they protect me?

No One Believes Them

Those who have suffered from sexual abuse haven’t told anyone because they don’t think anyone will believe their story. We hear all the time of victims who finally come forward with abuse years later. The questions are always: Why didn’t they say anything? Can we believe her story?

A common experience with nearly all victims is deadness and powerlessness. They neither have the power physically nor mentally to fight for themselves. The mind games played by the abuser to instill fear and shame into their victims are very effective in creating symptoms similar to PTSD. We believe a soldier returning to war has experienced trauma. So why don’t we believe rape and sexual abuse victims?

I was molested by a close relative my whole life. When I became an adult and got married, I thought that it was all over. I saw her one day and she started fondling me just as she did when I was a kid. I just froze-powerless to do anything to defend myself- even now. I could never tell my spouse and kids about it because they wouldn’t believe me. They thought she was this great person. I don’t think I’ll ever be free…

Healing Is Possible

Sexual trauma is devastating to anyone who has experienced it and its aftermath can be catastrophic to the rest of her life. But there is hope and healing to those who need it. Tell someone you trust about your sexual abuse. Get counseling. Contact MendingThe to join a confidential healing group in your area.

Please share this series with someone who needs it.

You can read Part 4 regarding Narcissism here.