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Child Abuse

Lasting Effects of Child Abuse

12/03/1999

Question:

I`m not sure if my question fits this topic. It`s about the lasting affects of child abuse on adults. My husband was sexually abused by an aunt when he was 7, over a period of several months. Without getting too graphic, I`ll tell you that if I try to repeat some of the things that she did to him, it makes him uncomfortable. What I`m wondering is whether I should just avoid those things (he`s fine with intercourse, that was never part of the abuse), or if he needs to get over his "hang-ups" and if he should be seeing a therapist. Thanks.

Answer:

I would strongly recommend that your husband become involved in treatment with an experienced therapist. We frequently talk with adult survivors and recommend treatment no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. It is not at all unusual for victims to become uncomfortable in normal intimate relations and the issue can be addressed and in most cases resolved. We also often suggest that victims after they have completed a course of therapy continue a relationship with the therapist as they may need a "booster shot" during stressful times. A good question and one which we are often asked.

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Response by:

Patricia A Myers, LISW
Formerly, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati