3 Steps Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors and Their Families Should Take

May 20, 2017 | Sexual Abuse

Childhood sexual abuse is a horrifying—and heartbreakingly common—violation of a child’s trust and love. Generally, abusers know their victims—they’re frequently family members, friends, teachers, coaches, religious leaders, or activity leaders who should be nurturing children instead of violating them. Victims often repress memories of such abuse, especially if they tried to talk about it as children and were ignored or dismissed by the very people who should have protected them. This experience affects survivors into adulthood, even if they don’t consciously remember what happened.

You may have recently realized that you were a victim of childhood sexual abuse or learned that someone you love was a victim. You may have even contacted a lawyer already to start exploring your legal options. But what else can you do?

  1. Take Care of Yourself

You are more than just your history. You may be facing a difficult road to recovery from the abuse you suffered, but you can make it to the other side. Focus on taking excellent care of yourself while you work through the trauma. Find positive ways to manage your stress, such as exercise, which can serve as an emotional outlet.

  1. Reduce Contact

If your abuser was a family member or someone you still see today, consider minimizing or eliminating that contact, at least temporarily. You may also choose to limit your contact with the people who failed to believe you or protect you from the abuser. Give yourself space to begin to recover and understand how the trauma affects you today.

  1. Find Advocates

Perhaps you tried to tell someone about the abuse before—even when it was happening—but you were dismissed or ignored. Family members often refuse to believe that their loved one could commit such horrendous acts and instead deny the abuse. Now that you are an adult, look for people who will be advocates to help you through this difficult period. These may be trusted friends, support group members, or professionals such as therapists and counselors.

You are not alone anymore. Contact the attorneys at PCVA Law to discuss your legal options and start recovering from the abuses of your past.