Survivors

Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices for Survivors

You are not alone

 

There are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America(2)

There is no shortage of people who personally understand the impact of child sexual abuse. However, our community and individual silence serves to isolate us and may keep us from acknowledging the real impact; and from gaining the strength, resources and support we need to heal. But together we have a chance to experience freedom from our past and become truly whole!

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Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #3 - Set, Document and Enforce Boundaries

Boundaries are at the heart of living a healthy life. Without them, every day is filled with a myriad of subjective choices that are far too often hindered by emotions, opinions, relationships and need for acceptance, love, security and money. In addition, survivors often make choices through the lens of their past instead of the vision of their future.

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Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #5 - Create an Accountability Team

It's not unusual for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to feel isolated and alone. They may believe that no one could possibly  understand what they've been through, the emotional scars that were left behind and the "crazy" habits they've created in order to feel safe and in control. But the truth is experts estimate there are over 39 million survivors of child sexual abuse in America(2) alone with similar numbers in countries around the world. So there is no shortage of people who understand. As a matter of fact, they understand without you even having to share the details of your story. You see, although each of us has a unique story, the results are astoundingly similar.

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Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #6 - Educate and Empower Children

Some survivors spend years and years in therapy, support groups, taking classes and reading books and still feel broken. As an adult, they know it was not their fault, they know they have choices, they have spent a lot of time dealing with their unhealthy emotions including fear, shame and anger. But somehow it's all still there, just under the surface. This is often the "wounded child within" that we mentioned in Best Practice #2.

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Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #7 - Pre-Establish Your Response and Take Bold Action

Throughout the healing process, survivors have good days and bad days - good seasons and bad seasons. It's important to create a foundation for health and safety ahead of time that you can fall back on when you struggle.
 
In Best Practice #3, we talked about Boundaries being at the heart of living a healthy life. Pre-establishing your response within the healing process is like setting Healing Boundaries. Without them, difficult times are filled with a myriad of subjective choices that are far too often hindered by feelings of fear, anger, abandonment, shame, depression and despair; your wounded inner child or a PTSD type response to a childhood memory.
 
Setting Healing Boundaries is a process of determining unhealthy states of being that do not support your intention for your life and deciding ahead of time when you're in a good season what action you will take to get yourself out of that unhealthy state. These personalized boundaries provide a mechanism for objective decision making when you may not be thinking very clearly. Here are some examples:
 
Child Sexual Abuse Healing Boundaries
 
When you pre-establish your response to unhealthy states of being and you take the identified action, it allows you to continue to choose based on your intention for your life rather than letting the past control you, even during difficult times. This process allows you to create the future you always dreamed of, one choice at a time.
 
Remember in the dark what you decided in the light.
 

Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practice #8 - Provide Support and Resource Referrals

TAALKing is Power
When you first begin to associate with and talk to other survivors, "your story" will likely be one of doom and gloom - fear and anxiety - sorrow and pain - betrayal and abandonment - embarrassment and shame - hopelessness and helplessness. As you share your story with others, you will begin the process of letting go, releasing pent up emotions and leaving pieces of your past behind. You will learn that truth and transparency are essential to your healing. You will learn that peace comes from being truly known.

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Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Best Practices Summary

High profile cases are bringing child sexual abuse to the forefront in a way we have never seen in the past. It is clearly a pandemic that knows no boundaries including gender, race, religion, geography or socio-economic status. These cases are creating a unique opportunity for all survivors, young and old, to step forward and break their silence. Are you ready to take advantage of the opportunity?

Remember, your part in the resolution of the child sexual abuse pandemic is to heal. While it may seem self-serving initially, know that as you heal, you will be part of creating a future without abuse for your family, your community, your nation and the world. Our kids are counting on us all to do our part. Our kids are counting on you to heal and teach others through your story!