Information For Teenagers
A large number of our clients at CASA are aged between twelve and eighteen years. This group experience some unique problems associated with surviving their experiences of sexual assault. In particular, being in an unsettled stage of life both socially and physically proves an additional barrier for younger survivors. These problems can manifest themselves in a range of ways which I will list later. As counsellors we find that the sooner a survivor receives counselling the speedier the recovery is. This is particularly evident with our work with teenagers.
The damage caused by sexual assault as a young person can be extensive and complex as are the often diverse ways in which young people cope.
For example symptoms of sexual assault can show themselves in some of the following ways:
- difficulty concentrating in the class room or work
- opting out of school to avoid stressful situations
- tensions with parents
- withdrawn behaviours
- feeling depressed and sad
- feeling guilty and grubby
- avoiding physical contact with others
- unable to develop meaningful friendships
- feeling like hiding the real person for fear of rejection or discovery
- covering or lessening memories with alcohol and drug usage
- difficulties with relationships with the opposite sex
- feeling rebellious and angry and not knowing where to direct this
- test disclosures and retractions
- sexual obsession or promiscuity
While most of these signs can indicate other issues in young people, if you have a ‘hand’ or other information about a young person, additional to the indicators in this list, then its a good idea to check it out with the young person in question or consult with one of the workers at CASA.