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Influence of child sexual abuse on adolescent suicide

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We are at a time when more and more are coming to light. cases of childhood sexual abuseIt might even seem that there is a boom in this type of abuse, although what is really happening is that they are becoming more and more visible.

According to the studies, around 7.4% of men and 19.2% of women have been victims of this type of abuse, although these figures cannot be taken as determinants due to the high number of cases that are not reported.

Sexual abuse in childhood: a silenced reality

Against what is believed, the most frequent sexual abuse of minors is committed within the family nucleus and by a person with whom the child has an affectionate and trusting relationship.

Studies also reveal that in a high percentage of cases the abuses are carried out within a context of play, in which the adult uses so that the minors participate without being aware of the implications of said behaviors and that is why in many cases these behaviors go unnoticed by the rest of the family members, who are unaware of the facts.

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The effects of having suffered sexual abuse in childhood

But what implication can sexual abuse have in childhood?

Studies carried out for this purpose inform us that pSymptoms may appear both in the short and long term and that these symptoms they can affect all facets of the child's life.

Although it is considered that around 30% of victims of sexual abuse do not present associated symptoms, the The rest of the victims usually present a series of problems both in the short and long term, among which are find anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, stigmatization, attention and concentration problems, relationship problems, sleep disorders, uninhibited sexual behavior, suicidal ideas and suicide attempts, among other symptoms, which in the over time and if they persist they can worsen until the appearance of depressive disorders and bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorders and self-destructive and self-injurious behaviors (Pereda, 2009).

Suicides: facts and figures

One of the most serious consequences, given the intention to end one's life, is suicide. About 50% of men who are sexually abused and 67% of women have or have had suicidal ideation and a considerable percentage of them have tried to end their lives (11% of women and 4% of men).

More on this topic: "Suicides: Facts, Statistics, and Associated Mental Disorders"

But is there data to support this claim? The answer is yes. Studies regarding adolescent suicide are scarce due to the social impact they have and because, as in the case of sexual abuse, are problems that remain underlying and do not come to light easily, but as early as 1991 Cirillo and Blasco argued that victims of sexual abuse who had not felt heard or protected had tendencies to present self-aggressive behaviors that could reach the suicide.

Another study reveals that bad treatments, without distinction of category, in childhood they are associated with suicide in adults at a rate of 5.53% and that the severity of the abuse could even influence the initiation and frequency of these attempts, there seems to be a correlation between suicide attempts and attempts and the time elapsed since they occurred abuses, since these behaviors appeared around 2 years after having suffered them (González-Forteza, Ramos Lira, Vignau Brambila and Ramírez Villarreal, 2001).

Various conclusions

Seeing these figures It seems clear that there is an important correlation between having suffered sexual abuse in childhood and making suicide attempts in adolescence.

Although it is not the only cause that motivates them, since studies that are based only on suicide attempts adolescents present as risk factors for this type of behavior, in addition to abuse in childhood, existence of family dysfunction, anxiety-depressive symptoms and behavioral problems. Even so, the data are alarming and reveal the enormous consequences both at a psychological and physical level that abused people can suffer during childhood.

Bibliographic references:

  • González-Forteza, C., Ramos Lira, L., Vignau Brambila, L. B. and Ramírez Villareal, C. (2001). Sexual abuse and suicide attempt associated with depressive distress and suicidal ideation in adolescents. Mental Health México, 24, N.6, Dec.
  • Larraguibel, M.; González, P.; Martínez, V.; Valenzuela, R. (2000). Risk factors for suicidal behavior in children and adolescents. Chilean Journal of Pediatrics, 71, 3.May.
  • Páramo Castillo, D., Chávez Hernández, A. M. (2007) Child abuse and suicide in the State of Guanajuato. Mental Health, 30, nº3, May-June. P. 59-67.
  • Pereda, N., (2009). Initial psychological consequences of child sexual abuse. Papers of the psychologist, 30 (2), pp135-144.
  • Pereda, N., (2010). Long-term psychological consequences of child sexual abuse. Papers of the psychologist, 31 (2), pp. 191-201.

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