Research has shown that sexual abuse and violence among women in the United States have risen in the past decades. Despite the economic and social-cultural conditions of the women, they are greatly exposed to sexual abuse. Sexual abuse in adulthood is mainly associated with the experiences in childhood, therefore, it is impossible to discuss the experience of sexual abuse in adulthood while putting the childhood experience aside.To give a full and comprehensive answer of the nature of sexual abuse in middle adulthood, this paper sets to compare and contrast three empirical research articles:Adult Female Victims of Child Sexual Abuse (Jonzon & Lindblad, 2005),Self-Defining as Sexually Abused and Adult Sexual Risk Behavior(Senn, Carey & Coury-Doniger, 2011) and The Impact of Sexual Abuse on Female Development(Trickett, Noll & Putnam, 2011).
Sexually abused individuals experience deep challenges ranging from physical to emotional for a long time in their lives. Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) argue that majority of women in the United States are exposed to sexual abuse regardless their socioeconomic conditions. However, as Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) explain, the majority of the cases of sexually abused persons in the middle adulthood can be traced back to past experience in the childhood. Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) further agree with Jonzon & Lindblad (2005) statement that person subjected to sexual abuse experiences a lot of difficulties moving on with their lives. According to Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) sexually abused women are exposed to more emotionally-related health risks that might affect their adulthood and may lead to their death. Suicide cases related to domestic and sexual violence have recently increased in the United States; the majority of people affected are females in middle and early adulthood. According to Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) cultural environmental factors have contributed significantly to the increase of sexual abuse cases. Older women who have been exposed to sexual abuse have difficulty adjusting to the society; as Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) say it is impossible to forget the experiences of sexual abuse at the older age than when a person is still a child. The social-cultural factors have played a significant factor in promoting sexual abuse. In Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) research, the minority racial groups such as African-Americans are subjected to sexual abuse as compared to their Caucasian counterparts. The socially disadvantaged groups are also exposed to more sexual abuse than their counterparts with higher social rank. As Senn, Carey and Coury-Doniger (2011) also speculate in their article that the society has played a great role in promoting sexual abuse incidences.Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) state that it is impossible to separate sexual abuse experiences and effects in adulthood without talking into consideration the childhood experiences of the victims and perpetrators.
Sexual abuse behavior can be transferred biologically from a parent to a child. In a research conducted on about 103 women who have experienced sexual abuse since their childhood, Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) found that approximately 90% of the participants had encountered sexual abuse from close relatives including parents.
Consequently, the three articles commonly agree on the traumatic experience effects of sexual abuse cases. According to Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) sexual abuse victims are exposed to much traumatic stress that might lead to other tragic incidences such as death.
According to Senn, Carey and Coury-Doniger (2011) the majority of sexually abused persons in adulthood do not trust their partners due to traumatic depression that they still hold. As Senn, Carey and Coury-Doniger (2011) put it, most of the victims feel guilt, shame, and powerlessness that may affect their life permanently. Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) also agree with the authors of the other two articles arguing that depression and traumatic challenges are some of the common and key effects of sexual abuse, especially in adulthood.
Despite the common background or similarities of argument expressed by the three articles, there are some differences expressed as well. While Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) examine the therapeutic responses to sexual abuse, the other articles mainly examine the effects associated with the sexual abuse in adulthood. Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) argue that sexual abuse victims should be subjected to the common treatment for trauma in adult sexual victims such as psychodynamic and group therapies. Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011), on the other hand, emphasizes on the suicidal effects of sexual abuse on victims. According to the authors, the majority of victims cut their lives short through suicide out of guilt and shame they experience after the incident. While Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) report on the effectiveness of the trauma treatments on sexual abuse victims, Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) reject the reliability of the diagnosis methods administered to sexual abuse victims. Senn, Carey and Coury-Doniger (2011) also disagree with the other two articles arguing that although the trauma treatments are in existence but it is impossible to control the problem when the victim is old, therefore, control measures can be placed at the childhood stage. According to Senn, Carey and Coury-Doniger (2011) the majority of the risk behavior developed by sexually abused victims in adulthood can be related to childhood experiences therefore it is better to deal with the problem at the early stages.
While all articles conquer on the hazardous health effects sexual abuse; they also differ in some aspects especially on the level of danger that the victims might face. According to Senn, Carey & Coury-Doniger (2011) victims are exposed to STDs and STIs especially when they are exposed to sexual abuse during the childhood. However, the other authors argue that trauma obtained from the experience might result in some other dangerous outcomes such as death. Most of the victims can live with the problem for many years and it is eating away at them for all those years, however, when they reach a point that they can no longer hold, they break and that it is when someone might attempt to commit a suicide resulting in death. On the other hand, Jonzon and Lindblad (2005) discuss the art therapy diagnosis method that can help victims overcome their challenges, however, it is not considered an effective way. Trickett, Noll and Putnam (2011) say that because of the powerlessness, shame and guilt that sexually abused victims bear they cannot come in public to seek the help, therefore, therapy might be an efficient control method or strategy but not an effective to many victims. The victims are afraid of how people may perceive or see them.
In conclusion, this paper has examined three articles that discuss the concept of sexual abuse in adulthood. The common concept in all articles is that majority of sexually abused victims are exposed to more challenges that might extend to their adulthood life. However, the articles also provide different control measures on the issue. Despite the differences and similarities in the articles that have been discussed in the paper, we must understand that sexual abuse is becoming a great social threat that everyone should be aware about. Therefore, there is need to enhance the awareness among different groups in the society to be able to eradicate this problem.
Jonzon, E., & Lindblad, F. (2005). Adult Female Victims of Child Sexual Abuse. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 20(6), 651-666. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260504272427
Senn, T., Carey, M., & Coury-Doniger, P. (2011). Self-defining as sexually abused and adult sexual risk behavior: Results from a cross-sectional survey of women attending an STD clinic. Child Abuse & Neglect, 35(5), 353-362. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chiabu.2011.01.013
Trickett, P., Noll, J., & Putnam, F. (2011). The impact of sexual abuse on female development: Lessons from a multigenerational, longitudinal research study. Development And Psychopathology, 23(02), 453-476. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/s0954579411000174
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