It is estimated that one in every three women will be raped their lifetime and that one in every seven boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.
Sexual assault, harassment and abuse are crimes which are abhorred and unacceptable. The heinous crime is very often perpetrated in the privacy of homes and committed by those whom the victims may be close to / trust. This makes it not only unacceptable, but shameful as well.
Victims of sexual assault, abuse and harassment often prefer to keep their victimization hidden, fearing blame.
If you’re a victim, the danger of victimization not only stops with you, but transcends to others , who may become the next victim of the sexual harasser / abuser.
There are quite a number of things to do, actions/ measures to take, to ensure a victim’s healing and full recovery from physical injury and psychological abuse sustained as a result of being sexually molested .
Here are some tips to help a victim of sexual abuse break the wall of silence and start the healing. Just to mention but a few…
1. KNOW WHAT SEXUAL ASSAULT,ABUSE AND HARRASSMENT ARE.
Sexual harassment is sexual behavior that is unwanted.
Often the harasser is someone in a position of formal authority. Sexual harassment also occurs between co-workers and peers as well.
Men are sometimes sexually harassed, but more often than not, victims of sexual harassment are prone to be women. The sexual harasser is almost, always a male.
Examples of sexual harassment include: suggestive comments, pressure for sexual contact, demands for sex in return for a job or other benefit, sexual jokes.
Sexual assault is an attack of a sexual nature, which includes touching of sex organs, sexual touching connoting forceful demand for sexual gratification or rape.
Sexual abuse is essentially sexual assault over a prolonged period of time. Incest, or sexual relations between family members like parents and children, or brothers and sisters, is an example of sexual abuse. But sexual abuse can occur outside of the family too.
2. GET MEDICAL TREATMENT IF YOU ARE SEXUALLY ASSAULTED OR HURT.
If you are injured after sexual assault/ attack, go to the doctor and get medical treatment as soon as possible.
You may not have to tell anyone who caused the injury, but it is better for your treatment, to confide in your doctor, and tell him/ her exactly what happened.
In the case of rape, a medical examination is important to detect injury and for possible protection against a sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy.
3. KNOW YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME.
In the United States, a child is sexually abused in every two minutes.
Sexual harassment, assault and abuse are not uncommon and you are not alone.
There are others who have suffered in a similar way. It is also important to remember that no one has the right to sexually assault, attack, harass or abuse another person.
4. TELL SOMEONE TRUSTWORTHY ABOUT IT.
Telling someone else about your experience is a way of getting help. If you have been keeping it hidden inside of you because of shame and fear, it’s time to break this wall.
Confide in someone you can trust. It could be a counselor, a close family member or a good friend. Telling someone about your ordeal is a way to help you heal and a step towards doing something about the gruesome issue.
5. CONSIDER TELLING THE POLICE ABOUT IT.
If you do this, you may not necessarily have to press charges, but help save someone else from being similarly attacked or abused if the police knows who your perpetrator was.
6. IF YOU ARE UNDER 18 AND LIVING WITH A SEXUAL ABUSER.
If you are cohabiting with a sexual abuser, you should leave and must do so immediately. You may first want to work out a protection plan (see below) with the person you have confided in, a friend, relative,counselor,pastor and may even be able to escape to your confidant’s home.
7. ESTABLISH A PROTECTION PLAN.
A protection plan is a plan of where you will go to, after escaping from a sexual abuser in the case of cohabitation with the sexual abuser in the abuser’s home.
There are essential elements one must know to effectively draft a protection plan.
Here are the elements of a protection plan:
a. Be aware of when the abuse happens and how often.
b. Decide on some safe place you can go to. This might include the church , another home, relatives, friends, hotel, a crisis shelter, or another place in which you feel safe.
8. NOTICE YOUR FEELING.
After a sexual assault, you may feel shock, embarrassment, shame, guilt, disbelief, anger, anxiety or nothing at all. These are all normal reactions to the violent heinous crime of sexual assault.
Moreover, months or even years after an assault, survivors re-experience feelings they had immediately following the sexual attack. This is why it’s a good idea to consider the next tip.
9. GET COUNSELLING.
Don’t try to heal alone. There are professionals trained to help those who have been sexually abused and assaulted.
Professionals like counselors are better equipped to help you work through your pain.
You are not abnormal, you are simply getting proper assistance from someone who knows how to help you deal with the emotional and psychological trauma( which is the aftermath)of sexual assault/ abuse.
10. FOR MORE INFORMATION GO TO THESE PLACES.
Women’s shelters, police, crown attorney’s office; they all have a departments dealing with complaints of sexual abuse, assault and harassment.
You can also check hospitals, multicultural associations, women’s centers , doctors or public health nurses/ officers, social workers, mosques, Islamic centers, churches, NGO’s etc..
11.WHERE IS THE SAFEST PLACE YOU CAN STAY FOR A WHILE?
It could be family, or a fellow christian brother or sister who can open his/her door for you. Look for those people who can be sympathetic.
12. PUT YOUR TRUST IN GOD AND DRAW STRENGHT FROM HIM.
Ask God ‘s help regularly. He is the source of strength and guidance, and can and will,help you get through the trauma of sexual abuse/assault.
Turn to Him regularly in prayer and supplication when you feel overwhelmed with this situation or any other difficulty.
Don’t be weary its well.. All is well as it would definitely end well! God is here for you! Your concerned caring counselor, God’s Ambassador is equally here for you, with a caring heart and a listening ear!
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