When it comes to childhood sexual abuse, recovery is indeed possible. While it may take a number of years and the possibility of therapy, children who have faced sexual abuse can move forward and onto fulfilling and loving relationships in the future.
As is so often the case with child sexual abuse, often the act itself, whether an isolated incident or a repeated occurrence, does not get dealt with until later in life; this is especially true of children who don’t tell anyone at the time of the occurrence.
In the majority of cases where the child grows with the secret into adulthood, this is most often where the healing and recovering from childhood sexual abuse takes place. Through a series of steps, adults can heal the violated child within, improving their ability to have healthy adult sexual and romantic relationships.
Acknowledging the Act of Sexual Abuse
While acknowledging the act can seem like a simple step, for individuals who repress the incident of sexual abuse, this is a powerful and difficult mental process. Acknowledging the abuse includes the individual acknowledging it to themselves, as well as others around them. Telling a trusted friend, partner, or family member can be a liberating and cathartic way to gain control and mastery over the childhood violation.
Seeking Help and Support
Once the sexual abuse has been acknowledged, the next step is admitting and accepting the need for help and support. Whether this involves seeking the help of a professional or the support of like-minded individuals who have shared in the struggle, the recovery process is enhanced by having a dependable support network.
Joining support groups has proven results when it comes to recovering from sexual abuse. Hearing the stories of others whom, like the individual, are blameless, can help remove any self-shame or guilt felt by the victim.
It can be a highly powerful recovery tool to find comfort and empathy in solidarity. As loss of control is a huge aspect of suffering from sexual abuse, acknowledging and sharing the truth of the abuse can be vital for victims in terms of regaining that feeling of control.
Victims also sometimes have the option of seeking damages through a personal injury claim.
Holding the Abuser Accountable
While some victims of childhood sexual abuse find that they have a need to confront the person personally who abused them, this can be too much for others. Those who choose to confront the individual personally often report feeling like they have risen above the act itself, as they are now able to face the very root of all the suffering and trauma.
This can also result in that empowering feeling of gaining control, through facing down the very source that stole the control initially. For those who choose not to face the violator personally, holding them accountable by charging them is also a powerful means to achieve recovery. Holding the abuser legally accountable can give the victim comfort in the manner of justice being served. This can, additionally, feel like a positive outcome to a traumatic situation as it will ensure there will be no subsequent victims.
When it comes to recovering from childhood sexual abuse, victims are in need of acceptance, support, and feelings of control and justice. Acknowledging that the act of abuse took place is a powerful first step, and this can involve both the victim acknowledging it to themselves, as well as to others whom they are in close platonic, familial, or romantic relationships with.
The next step involves seeking outside support: This can be in the form of professional help or in support groups for individuals also attempting to recover from childhood sexual abuse. The crucial final step for many involves holding the abuser accountable for their actions. Whether doing this in person or through contacting a lawyer who specializes in sexual abuse cases, this can be a positive step on the road to mental recovery. The message is that despite the traumatic and lasting effects of childhood sexual abuse, those children can indeed go on to lead fulfilling lives and relationships in adulthood.