Saturday , June 15 2024
Sexual Abuse Survivor

How to Offer Help and Support to a Sexual Abuse Survivor

Considering that 50% of women and 20% of men are sexually abused in their lifetime, the chances are you know someone who has suffered from sexual abuse of one form or another. A sexual abuse survivor often keeps their experience(s) of abuse to themselves because of the guilt and shame sometimes associated with this type of abuse.

Yet, help is available. Sexual abuse survivor stories are all too common and many of us would love to help, only if we knew how. In this post, we discuss how you can make a difference for someone that is suffering from the tragic effects of sexual abuse.

Support Groups for Sexual Abuse Survivors

Unfortunately, if you have not experienced sexual abuse yourself, it may be difficult for victims to open up and feel like you can understand how they feel. For this reason, one of the biggest things you can do to help them would be to encourage them to join a support group.

There are many online support groups for sexual abuse survivors where they can share and listen to others that know exactly what they are going through.

Sexual Abuse Survivors and PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental illness that is most commonly associated with soldiers returning home and struggling to cope with the stresses of war. However, the fact is that 30% of PTSD cases in the United States are caused by sexual violence.

Symptoms of PTSD caused by sexual assault include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks to the trauma triggered by smells, colors, and other stimuli
  • Mood swings and hyper-sensitivity
  • Difficulty handling day-to-day life

If you notice the above symptoms or signs of substance abuse, increased irritability, or irrational anger your friend or loved one may be struggling with PTSD.

Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Trusted Positions

Sexual predators often take advantage of their position of trust and authority in order to draw in their victims. Sexual abuse by priests, parents, teachers, and even doctors are common. 

A recent class action settlement of $73 million dollars will soon be awarded to victims of sexual assaults perpetrated by a UCLA OB-GYN doctor over the course of several years. For details read the article here.

These stories of sexual assault by trusted individuals are particularly tragic and the victims are often ridiculed or simply not believed when they come forward. This adds to the trauma and can increase their suffering. 

If someone speaks of or hints towards sexual assault or misconduct it is imperative that we listen. Encourage them to talk about what happened and immediately involve the relevant authorities to protect them from further abuse.

Help for a Sexual Abuse Survivor

Every sexual abuse survivor handles recovery differently but there are certain things we can always do to help. Be a sympathetic and good listener.

Encourage them to get help from mental health professionals and participate in support groups. For more helpful articles keep reading our blog.

Check Also

Remote desktop software

8 Best AnyDesk Alternatives in 2024

Remote desktop software has become an indispensable tool for businesses and individuals alike, enabling seamless …