You were sexually abused as a child, and you can’t help but be confused. The torrent of contradictory emotions leaves you without even knowing what to feel. Many sexual abuse survivors have to deal with this indescribable pain for years, even decades. However, getting educated on the topic can help you make more sense of this terrible trauma. Read this article to learn about some important things to know if you were sexually assaulted a long time ago.
You’re Not the Only One
The feeling of isolation can be very damaging. It’s like it separates you from the rest of the world. Even if you were sexually abused years ago, it still makes you feel that you’re not like other people. Furthermore, children are usually too afraid or ashamed to talk about what happened, and those feelings often carry on for a long time. Unfortunately, the taboo around this topic only increases the suffering of the victims. They carry this heavy secret with them as it slowly chips away at their lives over the years. However, sexual abuse in children is more widespread than you might think. Because so many people suffer from it, it is essential to talk about it. Not only does it help to tell your story, but it can also raise awareness to eradicate these happenings.
It’s Not You
Being abused as a child leaves you in a difficult situation. The child usually knows that something happened that they shouldn’t have but doesn’t have the words to express it. What’s more, the abuser often uses manipulation tactics to guilt their victim into remaining silent. For instance, in the case of clergy sexual abuse, an authority figure takes advantage of their position, which creates a great internal divide in the victim.
The victim then starts internalizing the idea that there is something inherently wrong with them. They become stuck in a loop of suffering due to the abuse and emotional distress from thinking they are responsible and did something bad. Over time as the personality develops, the feeling of being violated in their innermost intimacy feels shameful. It can leave them feeling degraded and exposed, with confusing feelings of humiliation.
An important step in taking your power back is understanding that the abuser is the sole person at fault for what happened. Whether or not they forced you physically, they used coercion to win the trust of an innocent child. Children don’t possess the emotional maturity to make any decision in such a situation. Understanding this can help absolve you of feelings of worthlessness and shame.
Help Is Available
Sexual abuse laws are there to protect the victims and give them a voice in the judicial system. But that’s not all, sexual abuse therapy exists, and its purpose is to help victims understand, accept what happened to them, and provide them with ways to manage the difficult emotions that arise. These therapists are professionals who have specific training and experience in assisting survivors through the recovery process. They can point out to you the coping mechanisms you developed at the time that may have led to unhealthy emotional habits and give you the tools to integrate your experiences in sounder ways.
Being Sexually Abused as a Child Doesn’t Define You
Just because you’ve been sexually abused as a child doesn’t mean you have to remain a victim for the rest of your life. Don’t let the terrible acts of a twisted individual define who you are. Take your power back by breaking the taboo and learning to master your emotions. Through legal action, you can also start getting a measure of justice. Browse our Legal Advice section for helpful tips in all areas of the law.