ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences = Negative Experiences in Childhood) by Vincent Felitti and his team, has been a large-scale study that takes an extended period. It analyzed not only sexual abuse but all youth traumas and their cohesion.
Instead of just looking at a single trauma event, they have done quantitative research too. How many traumas does a child sustain? Moreover, what is the effect of stack traumas?
What have they done for the ACE Study?
They have followed more than 17,000 participants over decades and given the occurrence of ACE: Adverse Childhood Experiences.
They analyzed students with sexual abuse, violence in the family, being bullied at school, a missing parent, a disabled brother or sister, the death of a family member or a severe accident. They included the ten most common ACEs in the study.
The outcome is shocking and enlightening
When you have one traumatic childhood experience, you usually get through well. This has little effect on your susceptibility to severe, life-threatening illnesses, cancer, heart attack, diabetes, and more.
According to Vincent, If you have experienced two or more, then you already have a slightly higher risk of all these diseases. If you have sustained 3 or more traumas, the chance of these serious diseases increases exponentially! A shocking outcome.
A 30% higher chance of cancer?
What does that mean if you have three traumas in your youth, you have a 30% higher chance of cancer, chronic bronchitis and emphysema or heart problems (or at $% even 45% larger)? Yes, that’s what it means.
Moreover, I am not talking about psychological issues, chronic headache complaints, autoimmune diseases and many other diseases that are not directly life-threatening, but that have a positive influence on the quality of life.
Sexual abuse rarely comes alone
Vincent has been working for some time with people who have been sexually abused, and it strikes him that sexual harassment is almost always one of several traumatic childhood experiences. In a family where sexual abuse takes place, there is often more wrong than just the violence.
Violence is typical — for example, a missing mother or a divorce. If sexual abuse comes true, there is sometimes a home placement, which is also a traumatic experience. In short: sexual abuse is often part of a variety of traumas. Moreover, that increases the risk of various life-threatening diseases exponentially.
The good news
The good news in this mountain of misery, it is now clear and known that traumatic experiences in childhood make a significant contribution to later physical distress.
The organization where Vincent Felitti works, Kaiser Permanente, is one of the largest health insurance companies in America. This means that they have a tremendous financial interest in reducing traumatic experiences in childhood.
Reducing youth trauma high on the agenda
It is with good reason that we see high-ranking people, up to the president, suddenly speaking out in America against sexual abuse and domestic violence. From a human, compassionate aspect that is a meaningful action and from a financial point of view, a sensible one.
Insurers, therefore, have a great interest in reducing sexual abuse. With this, we have found a (capital) powerful fellow in the prevention of sexual abuse. Have you ever noticed yourself a social injustice that is followed by another violence? Let me know in the comment below!
Trauma informed trainer and motivational speaker Derek Clark survived horrific child abuse before being abandoned into the foster care system for thirteen years. His ACE score is very high. He is a popular keynote speaker for childhood trauma and childhood development conferences throughout the world. to find out more, visit www.IWillNeverGiveUp.com