The decision to seek support from a therapist after social abuse or assault can be the most important one a person can make. You may have concerns or questions, and this is perfectly normal. Working with a therapist can help you uncover various abuse patterns and deal with some of the challenges you are facing due to your ordeal.
What Qualifies It To Be Considered Sexual Abuse?
The phrase “sexual violence” is an all-inclusive term used in reference to various crimes such as rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can entail various things, although the term is mostly used to imply violent or cruel treatment of an individual, often over a period of time.
In most cases of sexual abuse, the person perpetrating the offense is a one in a position of power, using the privilege of his or her position, whether perceived or real, to take advantage and cause sexual harm. The power relationships, in most cases of sexual abuse, often cause considerable psychological and physical abuse.
The general definition is that sexual abuse is any act of violence where the attacker uses his or her power to sexually harm someone who he or she considers weaker with the goal of humiliating or controlling the victim. Although there tend to be many similarities in many cases of sexual abuse, there no two cases that are completely similar. This means that treatment options should be client-centered and ought to differ from one person to another.
Handling Sexual Abuse: Useful Tips
Please understand that recovering from sexual abuse is a journey that takes time, and the healing process can be challenging. However, with help from a therapist, you can regain your sense of self-work and control and learn to health.
The very first step a victim of sexual abuse should take is to cut al forms of connection with the abuser. Often, when the abuser is someone you have close links to, severing ties can be challenging. However, it is a necessary process if you are to get full health from the abuse experience.
Failure to cut associations with an abuser can complicate the therapy process and limit the efficacy of any form of treatment the victim chooses to seek. Of course, we understand that cutting the links can be challenging and even impossible in some situations.
This can be the case when the victim is still under the care of the abuser. When it is impossible to break ties, it is often imperative that the victim seeks outside support. This could be from the authorities, a close friend, or a trusted family member. Follow these tips:
- Reach out to a close relative or someone you can trust;
- Cut links with the abuser;
- Consider joining a support group.
In some cases, abusers make it challenging to sever connections through the use of manipulative tactics and threats of violence. They may also blame the victim and trick them into believing that the abuse is their fault. In many sexual abuse cases, victims find reasons why they are to be blamed, including dressing, drinking, and other justifications. This situation is often part of the power dynamics that perpetrators use to keep victims under their control.
What Are The Effects Of Sexual Abuse?
Sexual violence can have wide-ranging emotional, physical, and psychological effects on the victim. Most of these effects can be challenging to deal with and can limit the overall quality of life. Although sexual abuse implications vary from one person to another, overcoming the challenges can be difficult.
Research shows that children who experience sexual abuse tend to experience developmental and emotional complications. It can also affect their socialization and impulse control. They also tend to perform poorly in their academics as well as in extracurricular activities. Without proper therapy, those who have experienced sexual trauma tend to develop mental health problems in their adulthood.
An issue can arise for persons who experience assault as adults. A common mental health symptom linked to sexual abuse is depression. Suicidal ideation is also common as victims have flashbacks of their ordeal.
Following a traumatic event, victims typically go through post-traumatic stress disorder, typified by anxiety, fear, or incessant stress. This makes it hard for the victims to adjust to normal lives and cope. Shame, unexplained anger, behavioral disorders, disassociation, and guilt are some of the challenges faced by a victim of sexual abuse.
Typical Therapy Methods For Sexual Abuse
As has been indicated, no two cases of sexual abuse are similar. This means that the process of treating sexual abuse should be unique and different from one person to another. For instance, the treatment approach used by a therapist for a child would differ considerably from that used for an adult who has gone through this form of trauma.
Here are some common treatment options for victims:
Psychotherapy remains one of the most effective strategies for treating victims of sexual abuse. This form of talk therapy focuses on creating a close relationship between the therapist and the client. During the early stages of treatment, the therapist must focus on listening, allowing the client to move at a comfortable pace while building a healthy therapeutic relationship.
Once trust is established, the client can share more openly and be more vocal about his or her difficult experience. This way, the therapist and clients can work together towards determining an appropriate course of therapy.
Medications are available to help victims cope with the same effects of their ordeal. Medications like antidepressants are rarely prescribed without the existence of an on-going psychotherapy process. These treatments by a therapist help by lowering suicide ideation and thoughts of self-harm in serious abuse cases.
Social support is an important component of treating victims of abuse effectively. As the patients start to recover, thanks to therapy, and as the physical wounds begin to heal, group therapy is often recommended to help deal with residual triggers. The patient can contact loved ones for help. Also, hearing feedback and progress from other victims can be a source of strength in such a difficult situation.
Why Hire A Therapist?
Sexual abuse can rob a person of his or her sense of self-worth and emotional balance. With proper help, complete recovery is possible. Engaging a therapist is an effective way to overcome difficult challenges.
It allows the victim to understand that they are not to blame for the ordeal and understand the real patterns of on-going abuse. The victim gets to alleviate some shame while working with a professional therapist towards recovery. Victims also get to learn how to form healthy relationships and work towards rebuilding their confidence and esteem.
How Does One Identify A Good Sexual Abuse Therapist?
Like is the case with every service, you want to make sure that you get the most competent therapist to specialize in effective therapy. Consider these factors:
- Experience with sexual abuse therapy;
- The personality of the therapist;
- Type of therapy session offered.
You need someone with extensive experience in practice relating to cases of sexual misconduct and the required certifications. You can start by seeking recommendations in your area or searching for therapists you can contact online. Relational and trauma therapists can also help.