Few experiences are as devastating as sexual assault or abuse. Whether the abuse happened to you as a child or an adult, or was perpetrated by a family member/friend or by a stranger, system, the sense of pain, betrayal and shame which the victim experiences can be overwhelming, and often creates scars which last for years after the abuse has occurred. The scars of such abuse can understandably create difficulties in other relationships, because it becomes painfully difficult to trust or allow oneself to be vulnerable. Those who have experienced sexual abuse survivors may have experiences such as “flashbacks” (the literal or emotional “reliving” of the abuse as if it is “happening now,” even long after the abuse), repeatedly becoming involved in other abusive relationships, nightmares, avoidance of places, people or situations which remind a person of the abusive experience, or feelings of depression, fear or anxiety.
Whether the abuse occurred once, or was repeated once or many times over a long period of time, the impact can still be intense, and often requires professional help to heal from. It is quite normal and understandable to experience feelings of anger, shame and sadness, even years after an experience of sexual abuse. Counseling allows a person who has experienced abuse to recapture their own innocence and the sacred spirit which each person was born– and to work through the feelings of pain, shame and powerlessness that come with victimization. There are many good books written on the topic of healing from sexual abuse, and are support groups which can help survivors to heal and realize they are not alone. Two books which may be helpful are: Outgrowing the Pain by Eliana Gil and The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis.
These CPC counselors work with people who have experienced sexual abuse: