Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is usually undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another. Sexual abuse is a horrible thing to go through, but there are ways to get help for yourself. Below are few tips that can help you deal with sexual abuse:
Call emergency services if you are in immediate danger
If you are in immediate danger of being abused, get yourself as far away from the person as you can and call 911 right away to get help. Try to get out of the house and go somewhere public if you can. If not, barricade yourself in a room until help arrives.
Understand what qualifies as sexual abuse
Sexual abuse can happen often or only once. Either way, it can be difficult to determine what is and is not considered abuse. Learning more about what qualifies as sexual abuse or assault may help you to respond in the right way. For example, you might be under the impression that a person can’t be sexually assaulted by their spouse. This assumption is not true, but it sometimes stops people from getting help. Consider the following questions to determine if you have been sexually abused.
Talk to someone who cares about you
Go to someone you trust, like a teacher, counselor or loved one and explain the situation to them. Sexual predators count on you remaining silent and keeping their secrets, but you can stop the cycle by talking to someone about what’s been happening to you. Tell someone as soon as possible. Building a strong support system around yourself has been shown to be one of the most helpful things for you to do in order to deal with the sexual abuse and its effects.
Realize it is not your fault
One of the most important steps to recognizing and escaping the clutches of sexual abuse is to realize that it is not your fault that you are or were being abused. Guilt or shame will sometimes arise, either as a result of the perpetrator’s actions or from the way you are treated by people you tell, but it’s important not to allow this to keep you from telling other people and getting help for yourself. It’s important to know that being assaulted or abused by another person is never your fault.
Consider seeking counseling
Even if you are no longer being abused or assaulted, it is possible for you to still be experiencing lingering physiological effects of trauma from the abuse. This trauma is comparable to PTSD. Flashbacks from the experience, along with intense fear and panic, can arise unexpectedly during your day-to-day life. Often the scars remain years after the abuse has stopped, and many people go to counselors to seek further help in overcoming the effects of their past.
Show yourself some compassion
After an assault or ongoing abuse, it may take a while before you are feeling like yourself again. During this time you may feel frustrated, but it is important that you do not take out your frustration on yourself. Accept that you will need time to recover and that it will be a challenging process.
Spend time with people you love
Look for the people who are most important in your life, the ones who lift your spirits and make you feel relaxed. Pick up the phone or go to the kitchen and spend time with them. The support of others will help you heal.
Write about your thoughts and feelings
One way that you can begin to express your frustrations about what happened to you is to write about them. Start keeping a journal where you write a little bit each day. Write about whatever is on your mind. Some people even benefit from describing the abuse they endured.
Make decisions to regain control
It is common to experience feelings that you are not in control or to have difficulty making decisions. The best thing that you can do to regain some control over your life is to start making decisions about your recovery and your future. Gather as much information as you can about your situation and make decisions about how you want to respond.
If you are pressing charges for rape or domestic abuse, choose a lawyer to help you navigate the legal matters. If you have an STD or injuries, choose a doctor that can help you find treatment. For emotional recovery, choose a counselor to help you work through it.