How Do The Effects
Of Child Abuse
Especially Sex Abuse
Impair Adult Life?

As you know…the effects of child abuse...especially sexual abuse...are serious and often life-altering…whether or not a child or teenager has been emotionally traumatized.

It is a clinical given that the effects of child sex abuse are often (but not always) emotionally traumatic.

But if you have read the story of Father Mike and adolescent sexual abuse you are beginning to deepen your understanding that...the effects of child abuse are not just traumatic emotional symptoms...when they can include a 'ministry' to the awakening of teenage sexuality.

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What are the real effects of adolescent sexual abuse?

The real effects of child abuse...in ongoing adolescent sexual abuse...are that...


It removes the teenager from the social

influences of his peer group…which are necessary

to develop adequate emotional and sexual

adjustment as an adult.




You may remember from your own adolescence that your peer group taught you things about relationships that you didn’t learn at home or in classrooms.

For example…if you developed normally in the peer group you learned...

What you learned in the peer group

  • how to signal your romantic interest in someone
  • how to manage romantic relationships with other close friendships
  • that romantic relationships are very public and partly private
  • fidelity…that you could not be romantically involved with someone else at the same time
  • how to terminate a committed romantic relationship
  • how to get support and process your feelings after a romantic relationship ended
  • how to move on to new relationships

Without even realizing it…you absorbed many things from the guidance of your adolescent peer group...

Like all the subtle rules and rituals about how to be a sexual person living in a social group.

...And how important it is that your relationships are appropriately public. Because abusive relationships are always a dark secret and never see the light of day unless they are dragged into it.

When a teenager learns about romance from some adult…like a minister…he or she is removed from the many important emotional and social influences of the peer group…which is a training ground for adulthood.

What you don't learn outside the peer group

Because an abusive relationship is strictly private as it must be...
  • There's no feedback to guide and train the adolescent in acceptable expressions of romantic and sexual interest.
  • There's no one to talk to about how the relationship is going.
  • There's no one for a child to talk to when a pedophile abruptly abandons the child at the onset of puberty.


A young couple and their friends' feedback

In the photo below are two attractive teenagers getting to know one another during a pleasant moment.

This getting-to-know-you fun time would not be taking place if either of them was missing from their peer group...and involved secretly with an adult.

And you might smile when you realize that their best friends would give them immediate feedback about their behavior such as…


His friend...
  • "Hey dude…I think she likes you."
  • "I didn’t come on too strong?"
  • "No man…you were cool."
Her Friend...
  • "Do you think he likes me?"
  • "Yeah he likes you…he said you have a nice smile."
  • "But he didn’t ask me out."
  • "Well…next time try looking at him more…then he’ll know you’re serious."


And so the social training for adult sexuality by the peer group goes on in exquisite detail day after day.

You may understand now the serious effects of child abuse and why so many sexually abused people grow up confused and untrained in how to begin and take part in happy…healthy relationships.

They were deprived of the training in the social skills necessary for intimate adult relationships...training that can only be gotten in the adolescent peer group.

The adult abuser prevents the peer group from having such good and necessary influence on the adolescent.

Those are the ongoing effects of child abuse

It is not uncommon to hear people in therapy say they have no trouble attracting people…they just can’t seem to keep a relationship going because...


One of the major effects of child abuse is that in adulthood victims don't know how to relate to people who neither exploit them nor abandon them...the way sex abusers do.

Now you have deepened your understanding and know…it is the teenager’s isolation from his or her peers…during a period of intense social development and peer training…that is the real effect of child abuse in adolescent sexual abuse.

This isolation from good peer influence also occurs when the adolescent him- or herself is their own abuser...which is the case in pornography addiction.

You can return from this effects of child abuse page to the Christian youth ministry page .

Or from here you can...



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