Building a culture of consent and not force.

Susan Uko
Posted May 24, 2016 from Nigeria
#TakeThatStandAndSpeakout!!!!!

When someone has been sexually abused at an early age, how they view sex becomes altered. Instead of the loving bond between a man and a woman that we have been designed for, that physical union becomes marred with painful memories. How an individual reacts and copes to being exposed to a sexual relationship before they were mature enough to understand and handle it will vary from person to person. Having been violated, often repeatedly against their will, teaches a child that sex is not about love; it is about being used and often treated as an object.

It then becomes easy to see how victims often fall into promiscuity, searching for love in all of the wrong places. Sex no longer holds the value it should; it simply becomes the means to an end. Often the mentality is that the victim is so used to being used, that it doesn’t matter anymore. And they, in turn, will use others, hoping to feel different, but always coming away feeling empty. Some victims say that they just don’t care anymore, having lost something that was once priceless to them.

Promiscuity can mean a string of empty relationships or it may lead to prostitution, working in strip clubs or being hired out as an “escort.” Most women working in strip clubs will attest to being sexually abused as children. With each meaningless sexual act, the victim dies a little more inside, but they are usually too numb to notice. They may become involved in the multi-billion dollar pornography industry and often turn to alcohol and/or drugs to get through each day. Pimps will often prey on runaways, befriending them as they leave bus terminals and train stations, thinking they are getting away from the horrors of their former life, only to be plunged deeper into an unending cycle of being abused and feeling more and more worthless.

Other victims go in the opposite direction; avoiding sex entirely. Painful memories, sometimes tinged with misplaced guilt, prevent the victim from seeking healthy relationships. Those choosing abstinence will often do so to avoid opening themselves up physically or emotionally to another person. If they don’t give another person permission or control over their bodies, then they remain in control alone – unlike when they were abused against their will as children. Some avoid sexual relationships as not to invite the possibility of rejection. When suffering from low self-esteem issues, it is believed to be best to strike the first blow and remain in control – by avoiding the relationship in the first place, so you won’t be rejected later on because of your “worthlessness or shame” (what the victim believes about themselves).

For those who go on to marry, the sexual act can prove troublesome. Certain smells, positions, behaviors or words can trigger repressed or unhealed memories. An older adolescent whose body responded physically during the act of abuse may have trouble achieving or sustaining an orgasm, due to guilty feelings over how his or her body responded previously. Sexual abuse survivors may also not fully enjoy the sexual act during marriage because their minds have become so conditioned to disengaging during sex as a means of being able to mentally survive what was happening to them as children.

Comments 9

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Stelz
May 24, 2016
May 24, 2016

Hello Susan,

This article is deeply moving and very sensitive as a lot of young girls might have possibly gone through this ordeal . Thank you for sharing.

I would say low self-esteem, shyness, stigmatisation to name but a few are just  some of the things that prevent a lot of women to come out and speak against some of these kind of personal tragedies such as being violated.  How sad on what societal pressures can do to us.  But women must stand firm knowing that a problem shared is half solved.

When we come out and speak against these kind of abuses we relief ourselves from the burden that we carry inside us, it also give us the ability to move on making us live a normal life again. We inspire other victims of the same situation by using our adversities to preach hope for other girls and women. We must not let this put us down but use our voices to speak out in oder to create awareness and move on.

Cheers

Susan Uko
May 27, 2016
May 27, 2016

Hi stelz, you are very welcome, thank you for your comment. The truth is that speaking out is the healing process we need to make things work. Another thing is that victims have to be convinced that they would never be judged but something would be done about it to bring their perpetrators to book.

Warm Regards

Susan

Julie Collura
May 24, 2016
May 24, 2016

Thank you, Susan, for this post, and thank you, Stelz, for your thoughtful comments. Yes, speaking up and speaking out creates awareness and can help enable survivors of sexual assault heal. It is important to give women and girls safe spaces to tell their stories. World Pulse is one such space.

In peace,

Julie

Susan Uko
May 27, 2016
May 27, 2016

Julie dear,thank you so much for your comment like you've said all the victims need is the space to be themselves and tell their stories without being blamed.I see a free society where every voice count!

Shalom,

Susan

helen.ng
May 24, 2016
May 24, 2016

Hello Susan,

Love this beautifully written post! I completely agree that it is so easy to possibly fall into cycles of promiscuity or pathways of hurt, seeking love, when sexual violations have been made at a young age. We should constantly be encouraging safe spaces for sexual abuse survivors to come forward and voice their stories to the rest of the community, not only to be supported in their journey, but also to give other survivors and/or victims that there is hope! Thanks for sharing!

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng

Susan Uko
May 27, 2016
May 27, 2016

Hello, Helen I appreciate your comments, everything you wrote is truly the healing process we need. You are welcome dear.

With warm regards,

Susan

JOY Eze
May 25, 2016
May 25, 2016

Women and girls should be encouraged to speak out about challenges they face in our society. I have a friend that was sexually abused when she was young, she vow never to marry, but I was able to encourage her to forget about what happen and get married. We should be there for these victims, let’s talk to each other instead of talking about each other,  because that is the problem of these victims. half problems in the world today will be solved when we talk to each other.

Susan Uko
May 27, 2016
May 27, 2016

Hi Joy, Thank God for your friend and the fact that you were able to help her out. As we women we shouldn't compete against each other rather we should be there for each other which would really make thins easier.

Shalom, 

Susan

RUHEBUZA VUMILIA JEANNETTE
Jun 02, 2016
Jun 02, 2016

Ma chère Susan,

Merci pour cet article, cependant plusieurs facteurs sont à la base de ce comportement qu'affiche la fille en ce qui concerne le sexe. Cela depend d'un pays, de sa culture, de sa tribu, de la famille et de la personne à une autre. La plupart de fois, c'est l'ingnorance car le sexe est sujet tabou pour certains. La mère senséé éduquer sa fille n'est pas aussi suffisament informée or la fille a confiance à  sa mère.  Pour la fille, ce qu'elle n'a pas reçu de celle  ci semble nulle et inutile. Elle a peur d'entendre sur ce sujet. Elle garde une autre image du sexe. Dès l'enfance, elle grandit avec cette conviction. Elle ne doit pas accepter et ne sait comment s'y prendre. ni disposer à accepter d'où user la force. Et d'autres savent qu'il ne faut pas dire oui sinon elle sera qualfiée de pute. Elle n'a pas le droit de solliciter la relation sexuelle auprès d'un homme d'où la résigation et l'homme doit user la force pour la contraindre. Commencons par éduquer nos enfants car les garçons aussi grandissent dans cette culture. Autre chose, la guerre, la quête de travail, la recherche des points à l'ecole, de l'honneur .....la liste n'est pas  exhaustive conduisent à la force et non le consentement qui privent la femme de jouir de l'acte sexuel. MERCI