In the context of childhood abuse, it is often abuse plus betrayal. We know that most sexual abuse cases involve either someone in the family or someone close. Usually, someone is in a trusted position, such as a coach, mentor, or family friend. Therefore when it comes to sexual abuse, we should just assume that all of this is likely true.
“High betrayal traumas are linked with more severe psychological and physical health symptoms than other traumas. For example, high betrayal traumas have been associated with more severe posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms than other traumas. But that’s not all. High betrayal traumas have also been linked with psychological distress that ranges from dissociation and alexithymia to depression and anxiety.
Beyond psychological distress, high betrayal traumas predict memory disruptions for the trauma as well as attention difficulties. High betrayal traumas have also been linked with poorer health and more physical health problems relative to other forms of trauma.
High betrayal traumas can also have relational consequences, affecting how people view relationships and trust, for example.”
In addition to the original betrayal, many survivors are then betrayed a second time when they are not believed or the abuse is minimized. When the people who should be protecting them refuse to see what is happening or refuse to believe that person that they trust would do such a thing, the child is betrayed by a second person, or a third, fourth, etc. Add in the fact that while these extra betrayals are happening it is also unlikely that the child is getting any assistance that could help alleviate PTSD with early interventions.
In short, the more betrayal, the more suffering. We all have a responsibility to, at the very least, not add to the betrayal.
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