Most of the time (60
The child often regards being molested as an odd, strange, or weird event because they don’t understand what happened. Nevertheless, all sorts of weird things happen to you when you are a child so weird events are not necessarily registered as important by a child.
In fact, often molestation is regarded as so uneventful by the child that they literally forget about it. Hence the buried memories.
It’s hard to make a case that the child was “abused” and even harder to say they were “raped” when they regard the molestation as so unimportant that they forget about it. That’s why I don’t like the terms “child sexual abuse” and “child rape” to describe the crime of child molestation.
It’s even harder to make the case when the child liked getting molested, which happens a lot more than you think, at least 17
Children certainly can experience trauma from getting molested, and this occurs in 22
Other forms of harm are typically guilt and shame. These emotions can be combated by telling the person that there was nothing wrong with them in allowing themselves to get molested or even enjoying it. There’s nothing to feel guilty about. Shame is similar. I suppose to combat shame we could tell the person that what happened to them was “normal” and it’s nothing they should worry about. I’d advocate saying this even if it wasn’t normal.
Telling the person that they were abused, raped, harmed, destroyed, damaged, ruined, had their innocence stolen (what innocence?), or that something horrible was done to them by some evil boy or man is unhelpful, but this is typically how we react. In addition, telling the person that they experienced “child sexual abuse” or “child rape,” as the laws now do is likely to be very unhelpful. The person will internalize the view that they were abused or raped and no doubt harm will ensue.
Predictably, it tends to make the person a lot worse. Probably the best way to characterize the molester is to tell the child or adult that he was “weird” and what he was doing was “wrong but it’s no big deal.”
If we are talking to a child, tell them, “That was a weird man who did something weird to you. What he did was wrong but it’s no big deal and you shouldn’t worry about it. In the future, please don’t let any more strange men do weird things to you like that. It’s not ok.”
By college age, half of women who were molested (and even remember it) are completely over it.
I’ve gotten involved with a few women who were molested. Two were long-term girlfriends. They all told me that they got over it long ago or perhaps that they were never harmed in the first place.
Of those adults who are still harmed, the typical reasons, as noted above, are shame and guilt, which can be easily combated.
Trauma is another matter.
As noted, 22
You ask, Why is it that we always hear about adults who got molested suffering long-term damage? The reason is because we only hear about the 22