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Childhood Sexual Abuse

‘Joanne’ was a 31 year old married woman with two boys aged three and five.  Her eldest son had just started school  She became very depressed and this was out of all proportion to her son starting school.

She had a history of childhood sex abuse and thought that this might be affecting the way she coped with things. She thought that now might be a good time to seek help for her emotional problems.

Joanne was abused by a family member from the age of 4 until the age of 10.  As a child this was not a particularly distressing event. It was only as she got married and had a loving sexual relationship with her husband, that she started to feel guilty and ashamed about what had happened.

Protecting her children

When her children were born she promised that she would look after them. No one was going to have the opportunity to abuse them. She was very protective and wouldn’t let anyone other than her husband look after them.

When her children were born she became very protective and didn’t let them out of her sight. But it was when her son started school she wondered how she was going to be able to protect him.

This brought back thoughts and feelings of her own abuse, which then increased her anxiety over how well her son was being protected.

Joanne’s way forward was to seek a therapist that was qualified in rape and sexual abuse trauma counselling. This way she would be able to understand why she felt the way she did.

The Therapist’s Observations

My client was very distressed when she first came into counselling. Joanne was experiencing feelings and emotions that had begun to invade her family relationships.

She was showing paranoid behaviour, due to the childhood sexual abuse she had suffered. Joanne was fearful that the abuse would happen to her children if she was not with them 24/7 to provide protection. Her mother had not protected her from the sexual abuse she had suffered.

Working with Joanne

We looked at how realistic it was, that if a mother was not with her children 24/7, something bad would happen to them.

I challenged her on how realistic it was to the children, that if left alone with a carer, they would be panicked & they would be harmed.

We worked through all the issues of Joanne’s. Joanne had taken all her fears and projected them onto her own children.

Projection of trauma

People often do this when they have experienced abuse. When they project this onto others it helps them work with their own inner pain of abuse.

A person will take care of the person they project onto, as if it was that person the abuse had happened to. This way they can deny the real issue that is unfortunately so common and so painful to face.

Joanne worked on her issues around her own abuse. This enabled Joanne to move on. She began to understand how unrealistic it was that her children would suffer abuse just because she was not with them 24/7.

Joanne’s counselling outcome

Joanne completed her counselling sessions after one year. Since her time with Crisis Point she has achieved a qualification in Business Administration.


If ‘Joanne’ has helped you to gain confidence to talk to someone that’s great. Remember you can always contact us too.

You can also talk to others about your rape or sexual abuse, you can contact The Survivors Trust or Rape Crisis


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