Children have a right to feel safe and secure in places of worship. Sometimes, though, religious mentors abuse their power and take advantage of the most vulnerable members of society. When clergy members sexually abuse kids, though, New Jersey law offers a ready way to hold those members accountable. 

Unfortunately, the trauma of childhood sexual abuse often does not stop when the abuse ends. On the contrary, if you were the victim of sexual abuse during childhood, you may have several long-term psychological consequences. Here are three of them: 

1. Guilt

Even though you likely could have done nothing to stop your abuser, you may feel a sense of blame. You may also experience guilt, shame and embarrassment from childhood sexual abuse. To move past these emotions, you may need professional help. Nonetheless, you must recognize that you did not cause the abuse you suffered.

2. Self-esteem

Victims of criminal activity often experience a drop in self-esteem. If someone sexually abused you when you were a child, though, you may be increasingly susceptible to self-image problems. That is, your abuser may have diminished your self-worth to take advantage of you. Sadly, low self-esteem can negatively affect all aspects of your life. While there is typically no magic way to increase self-esteem, collaborating with a therapist may be the right approach.

3. Physical intimacy

After a single incident or years of ongoing sexual abuse, you may have difficulty forming meaningful relationships. You may also struggle with physical intimacy. Because having deep friendships and romantic relationships is important, you may need to work diligently to overcome the relationship consequences of childhood sexual abuse. 

Not only is childhood sexual abuse heartbreaking, but it also leaves its victims with lifelong psychological consequences. While seeking reasonable compensation for your physical, emotional and psychological injuries may not make them go away, doing so may give you the financial resources you need to better cope. 

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