What is Sexual Abuse Written By Wendy M. Johnson | @WendyMJohnson7 Sexual Abuse | 9 Min Read Introduction Defining and understanding what you have experienced can empower you to stop the vicious cycle of sexual abuse. Many people question if what happened to them was sexual abuse. It is difficult to heal from something that…Keep reading
Most Survivors of Sexual Abuse Never Get Help
Daily Healing | 8 MIN READ
Most Survivors of Sexual Abuse Never Get Help
Written By Wendy M. Johnson | @WendyMJohnson7
Most Survivors of Sexual Abuse Never Get Help
The majority of survivors of sexual abuse never get help from a professional. This can be attributed to the stigmas that surround sexual abuse survivors. Many would say most sexually abused children do not reveal sexual abuse during childhood, but we know many do come forward and tell someone. The first people they disclose to are family members, next are friends or trusted adults. It is at the point of disclosure when a child is either protected and gets the help they need or is introduced into the cycle of abuse. The cycle of abuse includes not being believed or actually blamed for the abuse. The cycle of abuse allows the abuse to continue and perhaps both parents or caregivers are aware of it happening and the child learns that their needs will not be met. There are so many barriers to survivors getting help.
Survivors’ Needs Come Last
Survivors learn from a very young age (if they were abused as a child) that disclosure can come at a cost. Interestingly, 60% of rape victims (as adults) have a history of experiencing sexual abuse as a child. Survivors learn early on if they were part of the majority of survivors who do not receive the support they need, that their needs come second – last – or not at all. When a child does disclose, it is usually because they need to see a doctor because they have been seriously harmed. Shamed, blamed, not believed, self-guilt, and ostracized are core reasons survivors do not reach out although this is not an exhaustive list. Being ‘not believed’ can cause catastrophic responses to the abuse by the survivor. If you are a survivor and reached out but were shamed for coming forward you learn not to reach out again. Even as an adult you may fear the same responses from others. Your past responses to the abuse can stop you from reaching out now. But by not reaching out, it is hard for you to learn new responses to the abuse or that healing is possible.
Fears About Healing
Fears regarding healing are real. You may have heard the myth that abuse will always stay with you, or that you cannot fully heal. Survivors have said, “You can almost heal.” “It’s like a car accident, you can try to fix the dent with paint, new parts, or pounding out the dent, but you know it was in an accident and it devalues the car.” “It’s like shattered glass, you can try to glue it back together, but it will never be the same.” “It’s like getting cut and receiving a scar. It will always be there to remind you; you are not the same.” I’m sure you have heard these and many similar analogies. These are very dangerous analogies that survivors share with each other to explain how they feel. Don’t get me wrong, it is okay to express yourself, especially when you have never been able to. But those comments are coming from a person who has not healed. Perhaps they have tried. But trying can mean many different things to different people. Some may have read a book, heard a talk, listened to another survivor’s story, or went to therapy for a few sessions or support groups. Perhaps someone went for years on and off seeking answers, but just not able to feel whole.
Feeling whole is the core of healing. Just because someone has tried to heal and shared that they couldn’t do not mean healing is not possible for you. Because it is. You are unique and possess individual qualities no one else does. When you are bound by the effects of your abuse it is hard to see what you are made of and a clear road to healing. Remember, the majority of survivors never get the help they need. At HEAL we developed a program that will help you look at healing from a different lens.
At HEAL we have a section that tracks your daily progress. Making healing a habit is similar to trying to work out several times a week or participating in a 90-day challenge. It is similar to trying a new diet to achieve a weight goal or any other goal you may be trying to achieve. Healing as a daily habit is a new concept. It is about consistent growth on your journey. Many people fear healing because they believe they will be triggered and not know how to handle it. At HEAL we help you manage your triggers through our behavior analytics. There are so many concepts you need to learn to heal that some days might be harder than others. Just like when you are on a diet. You might have cravings that are stronger on some days and other days where you feel stronger to not succumb to the temptations.
One day you might find yourself working through a memory that is trying to emerge which can be hard and alarming and because that is happening you might decide to participate in a HEAL Meditation to help give you tools as you work through that memory. Other days, you may want to journal. There are so many parts of healing that you can literally make a calendar of what you want to work on in a given week. Look at the example below of what a week-at-a-glance could look like to help keep healing a daily habit:
- Monday: You might decide to watch an inspirational video and simply fill out the daily tracker that helps monitor your mood
- Tuesday: Watch a HEAL masterclass video
- Wednesday: Fill out a goal sheet for triggers or anger
- Thursday: Attend a virtual support group
- Friday: Journal
- Saturday: Spend some time learning about boundaries
- Sunday: Comment in HEAL’s online community.
If the majority of survivors do not get help, imagine what your life will look like after one month of participating in making healing a habit at your own pace, accessing help 24/7 on any device, in the privacy of your own home.
Healing from sexual abuse does require guidance. There are so many parts that you may need to work through. You may have conquered a few or many issues already and you should always give yourself credit for the work you have done. But don’t give up. You may have found that healing was painful and are hesitant to start back up. If you feel that way, strengthen another part that was weakened due to the abuse. Learn about your worth, value, and purpose. Learn about your feelings. Learn new coping strategies. As you strengthen different areas you will find it all helps towards getting you where you want to be: free from the abuse.
Set a challenge for yourself, such as a 10-day healing streak. Take a calendar and write what you will work on each day for 10 full days. It could be 30 days or 90 days. Imagine what inner strength you will gain. Perhaps you need more hope. You can visit chapter one of HEAL’s Educate section and watch the masterclass videos, inspirational videos, and/or read about hope. You could spend a full week on hope which can give you an empowering outlook on healing from sexual abuse. Remember, the goal is to heal and feel whole and tap into your potential. The switch is up. Pick topics to want to learn about and see how long you can work daily on them. Challenge yourself each time to beat the previous goal. If you only made it two days, challenge yourself to go three days. Either way, you are learning a very important principle, put yourself first when it comes to healing.
What 5 minutes a day can do
It might seem like such a very short amount of time but 5 minutes a day can change your life. 5 minutes a day will give you two and half hours (2 ½) hours a month of learning time. That time is more than most survivors will ever get in their lifetime. It’s just about consistency. Some days you might find that you set out to spend 5 minutes but end up spending 20 minutes on a particular issue. Be comfortable varying the length you spend a day. Incremental learning is about small positive changes over a period of time. Time is valuable and if you have five minutes a day – spend it on yourself. You might worry that all parts of healing are emotionally draining and too intense to even start. But there are many parts of healing that are empowering and enlightening. Let HEAL help you and guide you on our healing journey and learn a new way to think about overcoming your past. You can improve your mental health in as little as 5 minutes a day.
‘Healing made simple’ is not to give a false pretense that healing is easy. But there are many parts that can be taught, strengthened, or implemented in your life within just minutes a day. It is a good starting point to get used to applying healing principles in your life to gain insight and wisdom. Do not let fear of your past and pain stop you from healing. Healing takes tenacity and courage but there are many blessings that come with healing. You will receive moments of pure inspiration for your life, moments of pure joy, and gratitude for enlightened thought. By keeping track of your progress, you can look back and see that some of the issues you had-no longer affect you as they once did.
Please share this with a friend who may need this message. Also, please respond to this blog with any questions or comments you have! I would love to hear from you!
Love and Friends,
Date: June 21, 2022
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