Following a disclosure, reactions can vary greatly for the non-offending trusted adult. Sometimes it is difficult to share these feelings with others.
Often parents or caretakers of a child who has been sexually abused or a child who has sexually harmed others, experience a period of grief and mourning. For many in this position, the conditions of their lives may change fundamentally. How they see themselves and others is now different. Relationships may have been lost or changed. The sense of security that comes from believing that we can protect our children feels eroded or in question. Some may have had to move from old neighborhoods or face different financial circumstances.
Commonly, the stages of recovery from losses of any kind, including those that stem from child sexual abuse, include denial, anger, sadness and, finally, acceptance. There are no set time frames. Everyone’s recovery experience is different. The deepest healing can begin once you have reached the stage of accepting the reality of the abuse and recognize the effects the abuse has had on each person. At this stage the family begins to see that they are capable of recovering from their losses, and that healing can take place.