In light of the Penn State issue and others coming out right now, why is it the issue of child sexual abuse has never been taken seriously or brought to light before now?
Healing takes hard work, determination and time. Every survivor heals in a different way. the healing process is described as a spiral, survivors go through the stage once, many times, in different order.
These stages make up the ‘healing process.’
The decision to heal
The survivor is ready to face the abuse and explore the impact it had on their life. The survivor makes an active commitment to heal, to find help, to find truth, face the unknown, make changes and feel the feels necessary to resolve the pain.
The emergency stage
The survivor now is to integrate the terribole reality that they were sexually abused. They are bombarded with frequent memories, uncontrollable feelings, and deep wrenching pain. they are reliving the terrible painful feelings and sensations they felt at the time of the abuse. This intensity overshadows everything else going on in their lives. They may become self-destructive or act suicidal.
Some survivors always remembered what happened to them, some had the idea they might have been, some begin to remember later in their lives. Flashbacks, putting bits of memories together, body sensations, acknowledging the damage in their own life.
Believing it happened
Many survivors of sexual abuse struggle to believe the abuse happened to them, it is way too painful to think about. They do not want to accuse a family member or deal with the fact that a loved one hurt them, they do not want to rock the boat.
Breaking the silence
Sexual abuse takes place in secrecy and silence, in order to heal it is critical for survivors to talk about their abuse. The survivor can tell one person or a thousand people, but the important thing is to have the secret out and to share the experience with at least one caring, loving responsive listener. Otherwise they continue to live with the horro of the experience alone.
For some survivors breaking silence becomes more of a political statement, they choose to speak out publicly as a way of fighting back against abuse. They speak out at rallies, conferences, marches, information networks, speak-outs, media events, shows. These are all empowering,effective ways of breaking the silence.
Understanding it wasnt their fault
Almost universally children believe they are to blame for the sexual abuse. They think they are some bad seed, shameful, and dirty that caused it to occur. Abusers plant and reinforce these beliefs; children are trusting and believe them.
Children can not afford to see the adults around them as bad, violent or hurtful. They come to believe that they caused it or were at fault some how. One of the main tasks to healing is the belief that the abuse was not their fault.
Getting in touch with the inner child
Most survivors grew up too fast; thei more vulnerable childselves got lost in the need to protect and deaden themselves. Reclaiming the inner child is part of the healing process. Often the child holds information and secrets for the adult, they lose the playfulness and innocence the adult had to bury.
Grieving and morning
Grieving for the stolen innocence, missed opportunities, lost childhoods, lack of family is like grieving over death of a loved one, traumatic and may take years, marked by an outpouring of tears.
Anger is the bacbone of healing, most survivors have been angry for years. They have eaither turned it on themselves or turned it on others. A survivor learns to turn it towards their abuser and to those who did not protect them. The survivor need to find safe ways of expressing it and letting it out.
Confronting the abuser
Confronting is one of the best ways to heal and to be able to move on with your life. Give up any fantasies of reconciliation.
Resolution and moving on
The obsession with sexual abuse diminshes and life comes back into present focus. Things stabilize. The survivor is able to make lasting changes, they know how to make a commitment and stick with it. They have gained confidence in their ability to face terrible trials and the preciousness of life. They have a greater capacity for cariing, and living fully.
You will look back and say, ‘wow, you made it,’ and you will have proven beyond a doubt your stamina, creativity, commitment and love.
To get all the latest updates from Atlanta Holistic Health Examiner delivered straight to your email ‘click’ the subscribe button.