Healing from Sexual Abuse
Ellen Bass and Laura Davis wrote a wonderfully empowering book for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse (see suggested readings in Helpful Information) called The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse. In the book they speak of the following stages of recovery:
- Making the Decision to Heal
- The Emergency Stage:
Beginning to deal with the memories and suppressed feelings and the turmoil this brings with it.
This is the process of getting back and connecting both memory and feelings.
- Believing it Happened:
Survivors often doubt their own perceptions. Coming to believe that the abuse really happened and that it really hurt you is a vital part of the healing process.
- Breaking the Silence:
Most adult survivors kept the abuse a secret in childhood. Telling another person about what happened to you is a powerful healing force that can dispel the shame of being a victim.
- Understanding that it wasn’t your Fault.
- Making Contact with the Child you were.
- Learning to Trust Yourself.
- Grieving and Mourning.
- Touching the Anger.
- Disclosures and Confrontation:
If it is appropriate and desired for the healing process.
Forgiveness as is appropriate for the survivor. The only essential forgiveness is for your self.
This is a uniquely personal experience. You might find it through traditional religion, meditation, nature or a support group.
- Resolution and Moving On:
While you won’t erase your history, you will make deep and lasting changes in your life.