02 April 2015
For young people who have recently been affected by Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE), the future doesn’t always feel that bright. The emotional and physical wounds they’ve suffered are still incredibly painful and getting their lives back on track can seem like a big challenge.
However, life does go on and with the right support young people can rebuild their lives and go on to have happy, fulfilling and exciting futures.
Though everyone copes with CSE and its after effects differently, there are some common feelings and concerns that many people affected by the issue share. If you’ve been a victim of CSE or know someone who has, understanding these feelings is the first step in overcoming the effects of CSE and starting life anew.
How do young people feel after CSE?
As everyone is different, it’s impossible to say for certain how a young person will feel after sexual exploitation. However it’s common for those affected to experience very strong feelings about themselves and their abusers for months and even years after the exploitation has taken place.
Even though the young person was the victim of abuse and hasn’t done anything wrong, the way that exploiters work means that many young people who have suffered CSE often experience overwhelming and intense feelings of fear, guilt and shame.
While a young person is being groomed and while the CSE is taking place, abusers often tell the them it’s their fault or convince them that they will never be believed if they try to tell anyone. These thoughts can take a long time to go away, leaving victims of CSE feeling depressed, low in self-esteem and even full of self-hatred.
Young people who have suffered CSE can also find it very difficult to trust older people and to build new relationships.
Can people affected by CSE go on to live normal lives?
With the right help and support, young people affected by CSE can go on to live happy, normal and fulfilling lives.
Recent years have seen a big improvement in the publics’ understanding of child sexual exploitation and an increase in the amount that it’s talked about in the newspapers and online.
As a result, more and more adults are coming forward with their own stories, showing young people that there is a lot of hope for the future, no matter what.
One person who has spoken out a lot about child sexual exploitation is Samantha Morton. The award-winning actress spent a lot of her childhood living in care homes and institutions where she experienced sexual abuse and exploitation.
What support is available?
Though CSE can make you feel very alone, there are a lot of people and organisations out there just waiting to help.
If you’re in the Norfolk area, the Rose Project offers young people affected by CSE support and advice, helping them to get their lives back on track and build happier, brighter futures. For more information check out the rest of our website or for someone to talk to about your own situation call 0808 800 1037. You can even chat to us online using our live chat function you’ll find in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.