Me, too. We hear it often in the media today. At its core, those courageous words are filled with fear and shame. If it is the first time you have vaguely referenced some form of personal sexual violation, molestation, or rape, then you may be terrified of the reaction from those that heard you. But is there hope after sexual abuse?
For years, you may have resolved to remain silent, to downplay or ignore the impact on your emotions and behaviors, and never to dare hope for healing. You may wear shame, as if you were to blame in some way. You may carry feelings of unworthiness, anxiety, fear, depression, and uncontrollable anger. These are all very common reactions of survivors.
But you are not alone! 1 out of every 4 women and 1 out of every 6 men have been sexually abused before the age of 18. Sexual abuse isn’t about sex. It’s about power and control.
Overcoming the wounds of sexual abuse is possible. We have seen it happen in small support groups, where participants walk through a healing study together. Heads nod constantly in agreement, meaning, “I feel that same way” or “I cope in that way, too”. Glimpses of hope for a changed heart shine into the ugly darkness, as women listen to other survivors who have completed the healing journey.
Dan Allender, a prominent therapist, author, professor, and speaker focusing on sexual abuse and trauma recovery, says this about the shame survivors carry: “The only antidote to shame is the word and touch of someone who delights in us. We need an alliance of love, one that knows our shame and suffering and refuses to look away, and offers the kindness of God, instead of pity or mere sympathy.”
So, bring your tattered and broken heart, and trust that this is a safe and confidential place to heal. We have walked in your shoes. We understand you. We want you to find the freedom to live with joy!
Hearts Restored: Overcoming Sexual Abuse is a recovery study and support group for women. Make a confidential call or text to Sue at 812.567.3150 or email her. New groups will begin in May – during daytime and evening hours. Please contact Sue for confidential details.