What would I say about healing?
First of all, what does being healed from the pain and consequences of sexual abuse look like? To answer that, we have to look closer at what those painful consequences are.
I can tell you that, statistically, a woman who has been sexually abused is:
- More likely to suffer chronic health problems like headaches.
- More likely to have deal with drug and/or alcohol addictions and eating disorders.
- More likely to be involved with prostitution or violent crime.
- And as a side note, a sexually abused child is also more likely to become sexually active at an appallingly young age – which brings about its own repercussions, the least of which being teenage pregnancy (this is a subject I’d like to examine more closely in the future).
That all sounds very clinical, doesn’t it? And very skimming the surface. It doesn’t at all mention the twisted view an abuse victim may develop of her self-image and self-worth. Nor does it expose the anger, self-blame and shame that manifest a thousand different ways in the life of a survivor. Every relationship is tinged by her abuse experience, from the quest for affirmation through sex as a teen to feelings of repulsion at the thought of making love with her husband. Strongholds are erected in her heart that can determine her mindset about sex for the rest of her life, wreaking evermore havoc and destruction.
Even this is very general. Every survivor bears the consequences of her abuse differently and to varying degrees at different times in her life, but the bottom line is every victim suffers. Period. And unfortunately, many women feel too ashamed to admit their struggles, and as a result feel they have to face them alone. A major factor of sexual abuse awareness will be helping women everywhere to understand that they are not alone in their pain, and that healing and freedom from it is possible for everyone.
So this is where, for the first time, I ask for reader involvement. Will you share your story? Will you share what repercussions you’ve dealt with or are dealing with, and if and how you surmounted them? You can leave it in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Either way, it can be completely anonymous. In order to leave a comment a name and email address are required, but feel free to use the name “Anon” and a false email address such as email@example.com.) In my next article, I’ll share my own struggles and how I’ve been able to overcome, and I would like to include some other’s stories as well. I want it to be an article of triumph and hope (and dare I say praise?). I am hopeful that those of you who have experienced sexual abuse will share for the sake of another survivor who may read it and be strengthened by your testimony.
The strengthening will bring encouragement, the encouragement hope, and the hope faith for the seemingly impossible.