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.
While you may have family and friends who try to be supportive, compassionate and sympathetic, only another survivor of childhood sexual abuse can cut through your sorrow and pain with those sweet healing words - "me too."
When we associate with other survivors, it creates a foundation for us to recognize and speak the truth. It creates the space for us to take what's been bottled up inside us for so long and let it be gently released, never to return. When we release what we've held for so long, it leaves room for us to receive goodness and light in it's place. And with each interaction we can rejoice in the hope of becoming truly free.
When we associate with survivors, we find others who are a few steps ahead of us in a particular area of healing and we can learn from listening to their experience and what tools and techniques they used to move forward. We're all different so not everything suggested will be right for you or maybe not right at that time - take what works and leave the rest! We will also find others who are a few steps behind us in a particular area of healing and we can be the one to share our experience, tools and most importantly hope. You don't have to be completely healed to help someone else, we are all in this together. As we're all learning to heal, we can offer a word of encouragement; remind each other that we are not alone and that we have choice; acknowledge and celebrate our successes; and bring hope for the future of healing for us individually and together.
There are many opportunities to engage with other survivors with the intent of connection and support as well as the intent of learning. It's most beneficial if you participate in a combination of opportunities from both categories. Here are some examples:
Connection and Support
A local child sexual abuse support group
An on-line child sexual abuse support group
A on-line forum for child sexual abuse survivors
A therapist who is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse
Family and friends who may be survivors (you'll be surprised how many survivors are around you, once you start talking about it!)
A local healing class
An on-line healing class
An on-line blog dedicated to healing
Life Coaches who specialize in healing from child sexual abuse
Conferences on child sexual abuse
Child advocates focused on prevention (most found their passion through personal experience)
Books by survivors and about healing from child sexual abuse
The TAALK website () has a variety of ways to find these valuable resources - TAALK's direct programs include local support groups in some communities, on-line support groups, on-line forums, as well as an on-line blog and a variety of local and on-line healing classes to help you continue your education. TAALK also hosts a Global Resource Directory and Global Calendar of Events for other providers around the world to list their programs. This consistent engagement with other survivors is how you will gather information about tips, tools, techniques and modalities used for healing the trauma of child sexual abuse. It's all at your fingertips and we encourage you to become an active part of the broader healing community.