Ending Silence
with Tarra Bates-Duford, Ph.D., MFT


A House of Smoke and Mirrors: A Story of Family Secrets and Lies

Recently I had the opportunity to read a book authored by one of my mentees, a graduate student working on her doctoral degree in psychology. I was initially apprehensive about reading the book, I wasn’t sure if I would like it or that I wanted to delve into her narrative of prolonged sexual abuse and physical trauma. After much deliberation I decided to give the book a read, to say that it was relatable, and inspiring is...


Early Sexual Victimization of Children & Adolescents: 19 Signs

Early sexual victimization can create both immediate and long-term challenges for survivors. Prolonged and intrusive sexual abuse on the developmentally immature psyche of a child frequently contributes to the dilemmas of identity formation and development. Child sexual abuse impairs self-esteem, identity development, abilities to trust, and challenges with problem solving. As a result, the adolescent is extremely vulnerable to stress, and may develop a number of psychological disorders, such as, depression, suicidal thoughts, eating disorders, alienation...


A Letter To My Childhood Self: Letting Go of Shame & Guilt

Dear Younger Self,

I wanted to write you this letter because I never truly valued you as a person and as a fighter. For many years, I blamed you for the abuse you suffered in silence, quietly judging you, ashamed of you, condemning you. I attributed your silence for weakness, ignorantly assuming you were powerless instead of powerful. I didn’t realize you struggled with understanding what was happening to you or why it was happening to you....


Ending Silence: 8 Benefits to Speaking Out

While we are learning more and more about the latent challenges faced by adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse, it is still difficult to understand and give reasons why it occurs. Unfortunately, because we cannot explain with certainty why child sexual abuse occurs, we can describe various erroneous beliefs that are held about child sexual abuse, , the children targeted, racial/socioeconomic backgrounds, cultures, etc.

Over the years, both our perceptions and understanding of child sexual abuse has...


Romantic Relationships Following Childhood Sexual Abuse

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse (CSA) often struggle with the immediate damage resulting from the abuse (in childhood) as well as the latent consequence of the abuse (in adulthood). Survivors of childhood sexual abuse are faced with many emotional and psychological challenges as they transition from childhood to adulthood. Research suggests that the worldviews of adult survivors are often shaped by the sexual trauma enduring during childhood. The trauma of sexual abuse is multifaceted as it...


Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: 21 Challenges

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is defined as any sexual encounter that occurs between a child and an older person (as children cannot legally consent to sexual acts). Sexual abuse types can vary including but not limited to, touching, penetration, exposure to pornographic images, and sexually inappropriate language. It also includes non-contact cases, like "flashing", allowing a child to view nudity for the purpose of self-gratification or child pornography.

When abuse occurs at a very early age it can...