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Sexual Abuse

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In listening to a survivor’s story, your response can have an enormous impact on that person’s healing journey. I want to point you to some tools—words, actions and resources—that can help you support someone who shares their personal experience(s) with you. Although you can never take away what happened to someone, you can be a source of comfort.  Just remember, if someone shares their story with you, that means you’re probably already a person they look to for support, compassion and guidance. You don’t have to be an expert—you just have to be yourself and a friend. Knowing what to say to someone who may be experiencing domestic or sexual violence can be overwhelming and downright scary. Though it may be tough, you can still be of some help. In addition to the info below, there are some advocacy/healing based organisations and hotlines that offer free, confidential services to anyone who has been affected…

To transform stigma, we have to understand that stigma starts with shame. Shame leads to silence. Silence leads to self-destructive behaviour, self-sabotage  and suicide. The process repeats and it becomes an endless, downward spiral. Change strategies for public stigma have been grouped into three approaches: protest, education, and contact. When advocates protest inaccurate and hostile representations of sexual violence as a way to challenge the stigmas they represent, these efforts send two messages: To the media: STOP reporting inaccurate representations of sexual violence. To the public: STOP believing negative views about sexual violence. While protest attempts to diminish negative attitudes about sexual violence, it is largely a reactive strategy, because it fails to promote more positive attitudes that are supported by facts. Education on the other hand, provides information so that the public can make more informed decisions about sexual violence. This approach to changing stigma has better results than protests…

Sadness can be a difficult emotion to deal with, not only due to the pain it causes, but also because of the factors that caused the sadness in the first place. Sadness can be the result of loss, helplessness, or disappointment, among many other things. It is important to remember, though, that sadness is one of the most common and natural human emotions, and is something that will ultimately help us appreciate our happy times. However, sometimes, it is possible for sadness to deepen, and this may be a sign that you are suffering from a form of depression. If you feel as though you are increasingly sad, and feel like your sadness is difficult to explain, this information on depression may help. When you are depressed, it often feels like nothing in the world can make you feel better. Depression is a devious disorder, because the symptoms it creates can discourage…

Children who have been sexually abused may experience physical or emotional harm. The effects can be short term but sometimes they last into adulthood. If someone has been abused as a child, it is more likely that they will suffer abuse again. This is known as revictimisation. Many survivors of abuse have heard painful comments from others who didn’t get it, telling them their abuse was in the past and to get over it. But, sadly, childhood abuse causes many difficulties for survivors, and it’s not simply a matter of forgiving and forgetting. Not everyone experiences the same after-effects of childhood abuse, but there are many commonalities among survivors in what they suffer. Childhood sexual abuse affects adults in many different ways. Despite this, survivors have many strengths and resources to help them overcome these effects. They may experience long-term effects such as nightmares, night terrors or flashbacks of disturbing images from childhood.…