Masking the Effects of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse affects children in many different, though evident, ways. These effects may be physical, emotional, or behavioral and if not addressed properly, can affect the victim’s self image and acceptance in a very negative way. Young girls, according to statistics, are more often abused than their male counterparts, although the latter also occurs at an alarming rate. Young children are very vulnerable to sexual abuse because they are defenseless, innocent and susceptible to physical force. While they are still naïve and innocent, they may be fearful and lack understanding of what is happening to them, but the emotional effects run deep. These young girls grow up to be emotionally scarred women.

One of the biggest ways that sexually abused women cope with their pain is by wearing a “mask”. They put on a façade that they are doing alright, do not feel any emotional pain, and are happy. As little girls, they do not fully understand all there is to know about sexual abuse and how to cope with such a traumatic incident. As children, it is typical for them to think that such sexual behavior is normal. They might think that it happens to everyone their age. As they grow older, they realize the gravity of the situation; how wrong it actually is. Most of them end up feeling dirty and ashamed of being a victim of sexual abuse. They tend to feel afraid of people finding out the truth about them so they mask who they are, hiding away the victim and all the emotions that go along with being one. They envelope themselves in denial and secrecy and find it difficult to put trust in others. This makes it difficult for sexual abuse victims to establish quality relationships with other people in their life, and other new people they meet.

Beneath the facade, all the effects of sexual abuse continue on their cycle. The effects of molestation are far and wide. They can manifest in the victim in the form of eating disorders, obsessive compulsiveness, post traumatic stress disorder, and even self injury. These women are so afraid and full of shame that they believe they are absolutely worthless and devoid of value. This shame is also exactly what gives power and confidence to the offender. The spectacle of a torn and fearful victim is what entices them to continue committing their toxic cycle of abuse.

The way out of this is to help these victims understand that even with their past, they still have value as a person, more than they can imagine. Confronting the painful memories of the past couple with facing and coming to terms with their true emotional hurt are all part of the process of healing. Given the proper support from a strong group of family and friends, there is no reason that sexually abused women cannot recover from their past traumas.

Who I’ve Become is NOT who I AM, is Sonya Visor’s first non-fiction book. Her passion is to minister to the people who hide behind masks. Sonya’s calling is to break and destroy the yokes of bondage, releasing the power of God into the lives of others by the preached Word and prayers of deliverance. When you can find the strength, to step into who you truly are; you can find the strength to BE THE (TRU U). TRU U is the women’s ministry that God has charged her with to help other’s become free. For more information visit

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