Phobias such as agraphobia or the fear of sexual abuse can arise from a variety of situations including traumatic events, stress, hereditary factors or external events. Most of the time, the causes of a phobia are attributed to a combination of external events such as a traumatic experience and internal predispositions such as genetics. Understanding the causes of agraphobia and how this condition originated for the individual can help in determining an appropriate course of treatment.
Often times, agraphobia is the result of severe emotional trauma that is psychologically linked by the individual to sexual abuse. Most of the time, the individual who suffers from agraphobia has never actually been sexually abused but the phobia may be the result of him or her having witnessed an act of sexual abuse on television or in person or having heard about a serious case of sexual abuse on the news or similar media. These situations sometimes trigger agraphobia in an individual who otherwise had little or no previous fear of sexual abuse.
When the agraphobia sensation or psychological element is triggered, the individual will develop an intense fear of sexual abuse believing that the situations that they have witnessed or conjured up in some manner will happen to them if they do not take explicit action to ensure their own safety. While the exact causes of agraphobia can differ from one individual to the next, most of the time the cause is the result of:
- having witnessed sexual abuse on television
- having witness sexual abuse in person
- having been the victim of sexual abuse
- having a loved one or child who has been a victim of sexual abuse
- being misinformed of sexual abuse
In the past, many cases of sexual abuse were known to “cause” agraphobia. For instance, the parents of children who attended a day care in which a sexual abuse did in fact occur were so stressed about the risk of their own children being victimized that they actually became hysterical. This is considered misinformation-driven agraphobia. In cases where an individual actually is sexually abused or in which there is real trauma, the condition is called PTSD-drive agraphobia.
In some cases, malicious intent can be known to cause agraphobia. For instance, a parent may cause hysteria-drive agraphobia in a child by manipulating him or her to be so afraid of sexual contact that he or she falsely accuses the other parent of abuse. This is an increasingly common occurrence in divorce cases in which child-custody is an issue and the abusive parent has malicious intent to get the other parent in trouble. Cases of agraphobia such as these are considered child abuse and are being investigated even more thoroughly these days.