If you have been sexually abused and want to take the next step to talk with someone who will listen and help you rediscover hope, read on.
For many people who have suffered some form of sexual abuse there are long lasting effects in the survivor’s life. Our clients tell us stories of how they have struggled to cope with fear in their everyday life. They mention that they can feel anxious in all kinds of social situations and have difficulty in their intimate relationships. Sometimes people tell us that they can’t feel close to anyone, can’t trust others and feel uncertainty about the world around them.
Some sexual abuse survivors struggle with depression, have difficulties with sleeping at night and can find themselves very emotionally reactive to many different situations that other people seem to deal with relatively easily. Sometimes the survivor can spend lots of time trying to avoid situations that remind them of the abuse they suffered. Despite this, the world can be full of reminders as TV, books, radio and everyday chance meetings with strangers can set off that inner danger signal that makes the abuse seem like it only happened yesterday. Unfortunately, sometimes the person who has been sexually abused blames themselves, feels like something is wrong with them, or that they must have done something to attract the abuse. The impact of sexual abuse can be enormous.
Sexual abuse generally tends to affect the person who has been abused in an ongoing way. This is often compounded when the perpetrator is a trusted family member or friend, or the person was abused as a child and did not have the loving support available at the time they desperately needed. Whatever the context, no one who has been sexually abused “deserved it” and it is never OK for one person to take advantage of another by means of violence, threats, or other misuse of power.
The good news however, is that recovery from the effects of sexual abuse is possible. Many people who have been abused tell stories of how, in later years, they have experienced what is now known as “post traumatic growth”. This describes the many different ways that bad experiences we should never have had to endure can be woven by other life experiences, together with counselling/therapy, into new strengths and emotional resources. These strengths/resources can help make the sexual abuse survivors’ experience of life better than they would have been, if they had simply tried to cope with living with the impact of the abuse. It is not really possible to wipe the memory of what happened, but it is possible to change the emotional pain that the abuse leaves in our heart and mind. It is possible to learn new ways of relating, to learn how to regain resiliency and, most important of all, to learn how to process what has happened to us that we can rediscover contentment and regain the “sparkle” in life.
The counsellors, psychotherapists, social workers and psychologists working in our network across the country have been trained in a variety of approaches that have proven to be helpful to those who are struggling with the effects of sexual abuse. If you have been sexually abused and would like to get help, contact us on (06) 353 8722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.