Since the modern "rediscovery" of childhood sexual abuse in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, female survivors have played an important and active role in campaigning against childhood sexual abuse.
Female survivors have borne witness to their experiences and volunteered at agencies and self-help groups supporting other survivors, and raising awareness of survivor issues.
At one time 90% of sexual abuse victims were thought to be female
Although growing awareness of male abuse has reduced such high estimates. Research literature, studies and support services continue to focus more on female survivors, especially on the physical and mental health effects of childhood sexual abuse.
While many issues are the same for both male and female survivors, some are of special concern to women. These include:
- How abuse trauma effects the experience of pregnancy
- Fertility, childbirth and post-childbirth
- Links with domestic abuse, other "intimate partner violence", rape and prostitution
- Very low self-esteem or self-hatred
- Wider impacts on women’s sexual health
- Issues connected with mothering
- How female survivors are perceived and treated in physical and mental health services
- Receiving a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder
- Meeting their needs in prisons and special hospitals
Many female survivors report that stereotyped prejudices against women persist today.
Traumatised women may still be viewed as manipulative, dependent or hysterical.