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Healing is necessary, not only for people who have endured abuse, but also for people around them who have borne the brunt of behavioural changes, relationship problems etc. that have resulted from the victim’s reaction to trauma.
The reason as to why it is imperative that people address and heal from their childhood experiences of abuse is because even a single act can result in a number of emotional barriers, loss of self-esteem and a number of “hidden” disorders that take shape later in life.
The battle against CSA is often a lonely one, owing to societal walls, ignorance, apathy and the usual bunch of adult idiots who think that not talking about it or blocking it through marriage and education (haha how ironic) will “solve” the problem. However,there are means and ways by which victims of abuse can begin strengthening themselves from within.
- Reading up on the issue – This is an important step towards acknowledging what happened and also realizing that YOU are not to be blamed for it.
- Writing about it – Whether in an online journal or on paper, “getting it out” in words in a sense, lightens the emotional burden. Emailing someone helps too, im currently e-counselling 5 people who write in to me about how they’re progressing each day.
- VENT – Scream, Shout, tear paper, listen to angsty music, go out on a long drive, take the weekend off or invest in a punching bag *non-human*. The anger needs to get out, it’s done enough damage already. Self-harm is NOT healthy venting.
- Joining a support group – There is strength in numbers, and just the knowledge that you will be in an understanding environment with people who have been through similar hell, will help the healing process immensely.
- Speak with a friend – Ok so the family isn’t too keen on being there for you and hearing you out. A friend might be a better choice. Look for someone who is unbiast and a good listener, and not one of those horrible opiniated types who will complicate things. Obviously confidentiality will have to be promised before you start talking. It would help if people put themselves through a “dealing with disclosure” workshop.
Elaan is organising a Dealing with Disclosure workshop in the first week of February. Those who are interested in attending/would like their schools and colleges to attend, email.
Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse: What We Would Like You to Know about Us
1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.
2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which eitherholds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.
3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, ourself-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.
4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse “on the backburner” does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.
5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because:- we are working on separating the past from the present.- pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously.- it is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children.- sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension
.6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.
7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.
8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors — something wrong was DONE to us.
9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not “getting past it”sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to re organize our whole outlook on the world; this won’t happen overnight.
10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We havebeen threatened verbally and/or non verbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.
11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.
12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy.Anybody — from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education– may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.
13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.
14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.
15. Our therapy does not break up relationships – it sometimes causesthem to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to thesurface that were already present.
16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.
From Triumph over Darkness by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A.copyright Wendy Ann Wood 1993
Courtesy the Askios e-group. Thank you !