Why it is necessary to get help
Because society is willing to accept the prevalence of sexual abuse, survivors feel they can
admit abuse and seek help more freely. Effects can be corrected and changed and the survivor can proceed to live a happy and
It is necessary for survivors to resolve the issues of anger, blame, guilt and other feelings
engendered by the abuse in therapy, thereby enabling them to become a survivor rather than a victim. Victims are often unaware
of the effect the abuse has on their behaviour. Victims need to know that sexual victimization may at the root of many of
their problems. Resolving abuse issues will help relieve the ensuing problems.
Finding a therapist
A child abuse victim needs to find a therapist who is experienced in dealing with
the dynamics of sexual abuse and who therefore won't be shocked or critical of what they reveal. Often survivors don't obtain
help because they feel guilty or shameful or fear a negative reaction. Therapists who react negatively only reinforce these
feelings. Therefore it is important to find a therapist who is nothing less than supportive and accepting.
The content of therapy
A therapist will focus on improving a clients self-image and working through the
old and persistent feelings of anger and guilt. The therapist will teach the survivor that the abuse was 100% the fault of
the perpretator. The offender is always the guilty party, not the survivor. A child victim has no knowledge of what is sexually
expected of them and is completely unable to consent to the abuse knowledgeably.
Survivors may block sexual abuse completely out of their minds and "forget" it
because the experience was so painful. Sometimes a client will go to psychotherapy for reasons other than sexual abuse and
flash back and slowly start remembering. When memories begin to surface the survivor goes through a period of denial. The
therapist must allow the client to fully recognise the abuse and work on the disclosure in their own time. The survivor
needs to learn that a sexual relationship can be positive and that being sexual is an integral part of a person.
The most important concept is that the survivor must believe and understand that
sexual experiences enhance an individuals life, rather than causing trouble and anguish. A therapist who has a positive outlook
on sexuality can be a powerful role model for the client. It is necessary for the survivor to accept the reality of the sexual
abuse and not deny that it happened.
The client needs to realize and take pride in the fact that they have coped with
and survived a very damaging experience since childhood and has dealt with all of the problems it created. They need to be
told to take pride in their ability to survive.
Survivors need to understand that therapy and dealing with sexual abuse issues
fells good sometimes and at other times feels painful. Healing emotionally takes time and practice and may involve much pain.