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An assault on body and soul

By Zenoyise Madikwa | Nov 15, 2011 | COMMENTS [ 20 ]

HEALING from childhood sexual abuse is one of the most difficult things any human being can experience.

Sexual abuse is not only an unwanted assault on the body, but on the soul as well.

Vusi Shabalala, a clinical psychologist, says victims of abuse frequently make bad choices in relationships.

He says this cycle must be recognised in order to move to a healthy one. He says many victims are fearful of disclosing abuse because of to perceptions, stereotypes and labels.

"Sexual abuse is not only abuse, it is also sexual. Your abusers becomes your sexual mentors. They teach you to perform, to lie, to devalue or degrade yourself and to connect abnormal sexual experiences with the normal longings for intimacy and touch," he says.

Why do people sexually abuse children?

He says it is not clear why people molest children, but recent research has found that an overwhelming majority of child molesters were molested themselves.

Shabalala says some abuse might be an attempt to relive one's own abuse, with the power roles reversed. Another reason might be that these people have learnt that abuse is a way of feeling in control.

He says fundamentally, in all cases of abuse, it certainly is about power and control.

"Some paedophiles don't relate well to people of their own age group, but much better to children and as a result they choose children to abuse," says Shabalala. "They often project attributes or qualities onto the children they abuse. These attributes are false and are just in the abuser's mind.

"A perpetrator might create false beliefs about a child's wishes, desires and likes or try to bring the child up to their peer level (imagining a sexual attraction or relationship with them)."

According to the SA National Council for Child Welfare the most commonly reported perpetrators are fathers and stepfathers. Brothers, sisters, mothers, baby-sitters and uncles are also among the most common abusers.

Shabalala says some of the things that might trigger memories of child abuse are stuff such as childbirth, pap smears or the way your partner touches you sexually and colours, types of furniture or vehicles and sounds or smells that bring back memories associated with the abuse.

He says the abused often immerse themselves in work as a coping mechanism.

"Being a workaholic or staying compulsively busy is viewed as productive and is applauded by society, so some people turn to this coping tool to avoid emotional pain," he says.

"Usually a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy is the cause of workaholism. The workaholic often feels afraid of failure or feels the need to 'prove' him-herself, despite the fact that that person is usually extremely capable and intelligent."

Shabalala says usually the victims of paedophiles obtain almost all their emotional and psychological gratification from work.

"They usually think about work every minute of the day, even when they are ill. Being restless or bored when not working is also a problem and so is believing they are the only one's competent to do the job.

Dr Zintle Mbuqe, a general practitioner, says being a workaholic is detrimental to health.

"Workaholics are often prone to dehydration, gastric problems and mouth ulcers because they rarely stop work to eat or drink. They might also suffer from frequent headaches and various stress-related conditions," Mbuqe says.


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Very good article Mr Tshabalala but you are not telling us how do we identify abused people.An assumption that workaholics are abused people is wrong..some people have hyperactive disorders..does it mean these people were sexualy abused.
I know it always difficult but at least you should tell us to look for something that will arouse suspicions that the uncle or perpetrator is abusing a child.
Children are often afraid to report abuse,,but we need to encourage them to talk.

Nov 15, 2011 7:4 | 0 replies

We are more clever than dogs bt same man are so cruel , can not control thier dicks
Human intelligence is overrated I think, cause nowadays humans need services (intelligence of animals) to solve most serious cases/issues, eg guide dogs, police dogs who have huge responsibility and without intelligence of these animals some police work wld not have been solved.

Anyway humans are the most barbaric and destructive of the animal kingdom, it must be embarassing for animals to have to try cope with humans destructive nature, I still have to read/hear about animals raping/sexually abusing the weak in their species.

Nov 15, 2011 11:1 | 0 replies

what does being a workerholic have to do with sexual abuse of children...

Nov 15, 2011 11:6 | 0 replies

@Tkay, please don't ask complicated questions dear this article was written by zenoyise madikwa that alone should explain what you are asking.

Nov 15, 2011 11:13 | 0 replies

They drink Chinese SEX tea, so they are always erected and if they can't get a girl, baby, they will rape dogs in Soweto and in Limpopo they do Dipudi, can you emagine Pudi! Mme, Mme, Mmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Sis this boys

Nov 15, 2011 1:6 | 0 replies

what about porn?

Nov 15, 2011 1:29 | 0 replies

@dre10 what about it.
there are some people who are commited to their jobs does that mean they were "sexualy abused"?nxa

Nov 15, 2011 2:6 | 0 replies


Nov 15, 2011 2:11 | 0 replies

Morning all /Mellow/MommaC

@McLoving -yoou have a goodpoint there we all know that abuses were abused.Some just do it for the fun of it .But clearly how dowe identify this problem inorder to iradicate it.Good point broer.

@Mellow that too hey depression can lead to people doing abnormal stuff for instance man raping a 5yr old in the back room nuts i tell you

@MommaC-Typical example Look at abusers Taylor Perry & Oprah.they were abused and look what they have achieved

Nov 16, 2011 7:34 | 0 replies

We should bring back death penalty, that will drastically reduce the need to be a sex offender. we should also have special courts to deal specifically with sex crime, cuase its wrong that some of these trial last up to more than a year, maximum trial period shld be no m ore than 2 months, we shld have specially trained police to investigate sex offenders, these police shld work hand in glove with med experts (forensic) so that the victim is put through minimum stress in the process of application of justice.

Nov 15, 2011 10:57 | 0 replies

Now i know why my supervisor is always at work....even when he seems at death's door.

Nov 15, 2011 9:41 | 0 replies