6 Ways To Begin Your Journey Towards Healing After Sexual Abuse
Suffering from sexual abuse is something that no one should have to go through. Unfortunately, many individuals in society do suffer from sexual abuse. If you have suffered from sexual abuse, the first thing that you need to realize is that you are not alone in your experience. There are other individuals who have also suffered through sexual abuse and there are resources to help you heal and deal with what you have experienced.
Get Medical Attention
If the sexual abuse is recent, one of the first things you should do is get medical attention. You can have your personal doctor, an emergency room, or an urgent care doctor attend to your injuries.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, you should be tested and treated for sexually transmitted disease. If the abuse just happened, a rape kit may be performed. Often, sexual abuse is paired with physical abuse, resulting in other physical injuries that require treatment as well.
Find Someone to Confide In
You do not have to carry the burden of your abuse alone. Part of releasing the power that abuse has to make your feel bad about yourself is released when you tell someone about it. You can tell a friend, family member, school official, doctor, or a therapist. Telling someone about what you have experienced helps give you the power over your body. When you tell someone, it can help you process what happened to you and can help provide you with some support to get the additional help that you need.
If you don't feel that there is someone that you have a personal relationship that you can confide in, reach out to a national hotline for abuse, rape, and sexual assault survivors. This can provide you with a way to talk to someone if you don't feel that you can reach out to someone you have more of a personal connection with.
Document What Happened
Document what happened to you in some way if you ever decide you want to pursue charges with the police. Write down the date, time, and location of the abuse and all the details that you can remember about the event. If you were injured, try to take pictures. Documenting your abuse can help you press charges if you decide to go to the police.
Reach out to the Police
If you are able to, reach out to the police about the abuse you experienced. Any documentation that you have can help back-up your claims and assist the police with the investigation. If you are a minor, reach out to the police and child protective services so that you are protected while the investigation is on-going.
It is smart to get counseling. It can take a while to heal from the abuse that you experienced, and you should not expect to heal overnight. Not only will a counselor listen to you, they will also give you strategies that will help you cope and deal with the experiences that you have been through. They can help you get through the emotional and psychological trauma that you have undergone.
Do Some Reading
Talking about what happened is not for everyone. There is also a great deal of literature, from books to magazines to online communities, that you can read and connect with that will help you start the healing process after experiencing sexual abuse. Consider books by authors like Naana Yankey.
If you have experienced sexual abuse, the first thing you need to do is protect yourself. Once you are safe, then focus on healing yourself through talking to someone, getting counseling, reading about healing techniques, and reaching out to the police about what happened to you.