09. Isolation

Within families there is evidence to suggest that where abuse has been discovered accidentally the recovery rate of the abused person is much higher than if the abused child actually got the courage up to tell somebody.  [1]The overwhelming majority of children speak up about such things, and indeed adults who report cases of historic abuse, are disbelieved.  Not just by one or two members of the family, but also often by their mothers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles… friends, work colleagues, you name it.


For many people the decision to report of abuse results in the loss of entire family.  Furthermore the depression in isolation caused by the trauma affects friendships negatively.  Some friends may feel overwhelmed, or they may not believe the victim, or the victims depression and behaviour may inadvertently push friends away.  In terms of work prospects, again, the depression and isolation of PTSD excludes the victims from work opportunities and careers that they could have flourished in, had society and psychiatry, just been a little bit kinder about the abuse.


And there’s the financial aspect also.  Many have to rely on benefits.  In addition have no support from the psychiatric system due to the stigma of a “flawed personality” and sometimes misdiagnosis or just lack of NHS funds, no family, isolated from friends, and can turn to self harming behaviour to escape the pain. 






[1] There is the clinical assumption that children who feel compelled to keep sexual abuse a secret suffer greater psychic distress than victims who disclose the secret and receive assistance and support.
Source: Finkelhor & Browne, 1986.


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