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Self Help

Sexual Abuse: What can I do to heal?


The effects of sexual abuse can be devastating but do not have to be permanent. Although time can l dull some of the pain, deep healing doesn't occur until you consciously choose to deal with your past. You can and will recover from the effects of the abuse but the healing process requires a deliberate effort.

No matter how committed you are to facing your pain directly, it is difficult to experience healing in isolation. It is essential that you have at least one trustworthy person with whom you can share your pain, your doubts and your confusion. That person may be another survivor, a close friend, a family member, an RA or RD, your pastor, or someone else.  Sexual abuse of a child is a crime that occurs in secret, and the secret must be broken for healing to occur.

Individual counseling is often recommended for survivors of sexual abuse. A trained, empathetic counselor can help you work through the pain of your experience. Messiah College's Counseling Services Office provides counseling by professionally trained staff who are experienced in helping people deal with the effects of sexual abuse. These services are completely confidential and available at no charge to Messiah College students. Should you prefer to seek counseling off-campus they can help you to find the type of help you need.

Joining a support group for survivors of sexual abuse can provide you with the encouragement and understanding that you need, while also assuring you that you are not alone in your experience
. Counseling Services periodically runs support groups for survivors of sexual abuse. We can also give you information on off campus support groups and workshops.

Educating yourself about sexual abuse is one of the most powerful ways you can begin your healing journey. Many excellent books are available, and  extensive self help resouces can be found on the Internet. A good place to begin your search for Internet resources is the Sexual Assault Information Page, which offers an extensive listing of well organized links. The Wounded Healer Journal offers many forums and chat areas for survivors of sexual abuse, and includes a forum for Christians. You may also want to check out  The Sexual Abuse of Males: Prevalence, Lasting Effects, and Resources.

    To learn more, please browse our information on Sexual Abuse: