Adults who have had experiences of sexual abuse as children need and deserve a chance to speak about their experiences with those who understand and can help. Survivors of child sexual abuse can also play a critical role in the prevention of further abuse to other children. If you or someone you love needs support to recover, now is the time to reach out for help.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse as a child, it is very important to seek professional support and guidance for your recovery. The impact of sexual abuse by another child, teen or adult can change over time and unfold as a young person grows into adulthood. Those who are offered or reach out for specialized counseling and support greatly increase their ability to integrate their experience and move forward towards a safe, healthy and productive life.
If you are concerned that a child has been, or is at-risk to be, sexually abused, personal issues related to your sexual abuse history can be triggered – particularly if the child is close to the age when you were abused. In order to best help the child, you need to take care of yourself right now, too. Finding professionals and friends who can support you now is a good step in the right direction for you and the child at-risk.
Even if you were offered support and resources earlier in life, if you are feeling the need for support at this time, we encourage you to seek the help you need and deserve. Below are places to call for help and materials to read specifically for adults who have experienced abusive, harmful or confusing sexual events as a child or teen.
Care enough to take the risk and talk about it. If you are an adult concerned for a friend or loved one who you know or suspect has experienced sexual abuse as a child, your support and understanding can be critical to their recovery. There are many resources that can help you to better understand what an adult survivor may be experiencing now and how the recovery process evolves over time. Sharing the resources you find here with the person you’re concerned about is a great place to start.
Perhaps you are concerned for this person because you are noticing that they are distressed or suffering symptoms that are associated with the impact of child sexual abuse. Maybe you are worried because their feelings and behaviors may pose a risk to themselves or to those around them. Speaking honestly to this survivor with patience, respect and concern, along with the ability to offer outside help, just may be what they are privately hoping for.