Can Victims Fully Recover From Sexual Abuse?

For the tens of thousands of victims who are sexually abused each year, there is hope for the future. Many adult survivors of child sexual abuse do not show signs of dysfunction or lasting mental health problems due to their traumatic pasts. Every survivor is unique. Addressing and properly coping with sexual abuse early on can lead to a better chance of making a full recovery.

Talk to Someone

It is not easy, but the first step in healing from sexual abuse is telling someone what happened. Suffering in silence can keep the emotions trapped within, which increases the odds of long-term issues. A survivor needs to release these feelings by facing them head-on. The victim should confide in a trusted friend or family member during this difficult time. Another option is calling a sexual abuse hotline, such as RAINN, to speak to a trained specialist about what happened and receive confidential support.

Seek Therapy

A sexual abuse survivor may have mental, emotional and behavioral reactions to the trauma he or she experienced. Healing these issues often requires therapy and psychological counseling. A victim should not try to cope with mental health struggles from sexual abuse trauma alone. Seeking support from a trained mental health professional can make it easier to cope with these challenges in a safe and healthy way. Therapy can reduce the risk of future harm and lasting mental health conditions, such as chronic anxiety or depression.

Join a Support Group

Feeling safe and supported can help a victim heal from sexual trauma. A survivor should build a strong support system, whether it involves friends and family members or joining a sexual abuse support group to connect with other survivors. Being around and talking to people the victim can trust can help alleviate feelings of fear, shame and guilt. It can also help heal trust issues. Coming together with people who have a shared experience can be emotionally validating and empowering.

Practice Self-Care

A sexual abuse victim can do things on his or her own to help aid in the healing process. Engaging in self-care practices can calm the mind, provide a sense of comfort, and increase feelings of contentment and self-worth. Recommended self-care activities for people who are dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, nervous system disorders or mental health problems include yoga, meditation, journaling, walking or jogging, and artwork.

Use Resources

Sexual abuse survivors today can benefit from a wealth of resources, information and support. There are books, studies and articles about healing from sexual trauma, as well as websites and online therapy options. There are also numerous support groups and in-person therapists who offer services specifically for sexual assault and abuse survivors. Hotlines are also available for victims who wish to remain anonymous and receive assistance 24/7.

Find Closure

Victims of sexual abuse can and have made full recoveries. However, healing from this type of trauma is not a linear process. Everyone’s journey looks different. One thing that helps many victims is seeking closure by filing a civil lawsuit against the perpetrator and/or an institution. A criminal conviction against an abuser may not provide the full measure of justice. A civil lawsuit can require one or more parties to pay for a victim’s losses and acknowledge the harm, damage, pain and suffering caused by sexual abuse

For more information about a sexual abuse civil claim, request a free and confidential consultation at DRZ Law.

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