Showing Support to a Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivor
Many survivors of childhood sexual abuse keep the secret to themselves, and it may take them a long time to speak out against their perpetrator — and sadly, many don't speak up at all. However, if a loved one does speak up and tells their story, they will need support throughout their recovery journey. Here are some tips on how you can help them cope.
Lend Your Ear
Whether it's a romantic partner, friend, or family member who has been sexually abused as a child, it's vital to let them know that you are available to them when they want to talk about it. It's also critical to remember that pressuring them to speak to you about their experience can trigger emotions and memories that they may not be ready for at that moment., Unless they prompt the conversation, it's best to leave the subject off the table for discussion.
Let Them Know You Believe Them
Unfortunately, victim-blaming is not uncommon when it comes to sexual abuse. Survivors of childhood sexual abuse go through the turmoil of feeling so many different emotions, such as shame and guilt. They also fear that people won't believe their stories. Validating their experience by telling them that you believe them can help them with the recovery process. Validating their experience may sound like the following statements:
- "Thank you for sharing your experience with me."
- "I believe you."
- "It wasn't your fault this happened to you."
- "I support you."
- "I respect your decision to speak up."
Educate Yourself About Childhood Sexual Abuse
Every survivor's story is different. However, it can be beneficial to your loved one if you understand the impact on someone's life after childhood sexual abuse. Here are some excellent resources to help you gain a better understanding:
- The Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
- The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
- Child Abuse and Family Violence Institute
You can view the complete list of supporting organizations on our website here.
Have You Survived Child Sexual Abuse? We Believe You.
Speaking out against your perpetrator is one of the first steps in the healing process of childhood sexual abuse — and holding perpetrators accountable for their heinous actions can help you gain closure and move on with your life.
We understand the emotional, physical, and psychological damage that survivors must endure. If you or a loved one has suffered child sexual abuse, we believe you, and we are here to help you through a difficult time.
Know that you are not alone. Contact The Zalkin Law Firm, P.C. today at (800) 477-2989 to learn your rights.