|Gonzales Regional Children's Advocacy Center
Gonzales and Lavaca
|1604 St. Paul St., Gonzales, Tx 78629 Phone 830-672-1278
|A 501 (C) (3) Tax exempt organization
To restore the dignity, hope
and security to children of
Gonzales, Lavaca and
surrounding counties by uniting
public officials and our
|Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse
If you’re an adult who experienced sexual abuse as a child, know that you are not alone. Every eight minutes, a
child is sexually assaulted in the U.S.(*1), and 93 percent know the perpetrator(*2). Many perpetrators of sexual
abuse are in a position of trust or responsible for the child’s care, such as a family member, teacher, clergy
member, or coach.
No matter what, the abuse was not your fault. It’s never too late to start healing from this experience.
What are the effects of child sexual abuse for adults?
If you experienced sexual abuse as a child, you may encounter a range of short- and long-term effects that many
survivors face. Adult survivors of child sexual abuse may have some of the following concerns that are specific to
Guilt, shame, and blame. You might feel guilty about not having been able to stop the abuse, or even blame
yourself if you experienced physical pleasure. It is important for you to understand that it was the person that hurt
you that should be held accountable—not you.
Intimacy and relationships. It’s possible that your first experiences with sex came as a result of sexual abuse.
As an adult, intimacy might be a struggle at times. Some survivors experience flashbacks or painful memories
while engaging in sexual activity, even though it is consensual and on their own terms. Survivors may also struggle
to set boundaries that help them feel safe in relationships.
Self-esteem. You may struggle with low self-esteem, which can be a result of the negative messages you
received from your abuser(s), and from having your personal safety violated or ignored. Low self-esteem can
affect many different areas of your life such as your relationships, your career, and even your health.
Why do I still feel this way?
As an adult survivor, you have been living with these memories for a long time. Some survivors keep the abuse a
secret for many years. They may have tried to tell an adult and met with resistance or felt there was no one they
could trust. For these reasons and many others, the effects of sexual abuse can occur many years after the
abuse has ended. Remember that there is no set timeline for dealing with and recovering from this experience.
How should I react when someone tells me they were sexually abused?
It can be difficult to hear that someone you care about suffered sexual abuse as a child. Your reaction can have a
big impact on the survivor, but it isn’t always easy to know what to say. Contact Norma's House for more
1. United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families,
Administration on Children, Youth and Families, Children’s Bureau. Child Maltreatment Survey, 2012 (2013).
2. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement. 2000.