There is enormous ambiguity in the terminology surrounding child sexual abuse (CSA). Understandably, you could argue, given the sensitive nature of the subject.
It would be an understatement to say this really bothers me. It really, really bothers me. It makes me so furious I want to rant wildly from a rooftop with an old keystone cops loudhailer until people understand just how woefully inadequate it is. Probably not a good look
Before the PTSD, only my first therapist and eldest sister had ever heard more details from me than the umbrella term ‘sexual abuse’. Somehow, I assumed that was explicit enough a description for the rest of my family for them to understand the depth of my emotional wounds without actually having to have that horrible, in detail, conversation. I was wrong.
I now understand there is huge ambiguity in the terminology used to describe childhood, or any, sexual abuse.
There are shades, or a scale if you like, and this umbrella term means different things to different people.
I’ve learnt that most people like to reduce or sanitize it somehow as a coping mechanism for something they can’t, or don’t, want to comprehend.
Anyhow, I can now say it clearly, the correct terminology for my ex-step-father includes: paedophile, rapist, bully and child abuser. My experiences were not at the groping / inappropriate touching end of the umbrella spectrum.
Alas, such terminology is also a super delicate subject to address. I know whatever I say around it will elicit disagreement, probably by people who know far better than me. Therefore, caveats upfront, and as I’ve said previously: I am not an expert. I will simply share some thoughts, based on my own experience as to why, or when, some CSA terminology jars. More soon…
I expect terminology will be a recurring theme, which is why I will link all further posts on the subject under the tab: Terminology.