Sexual abuse is shockingly common. Whether it is a rape of a woman or repeated sexual abuse of a child, the problem of sexual abuse is that it leads to life long feelings of guilt, shame, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety.
Just this month, in Oregon, a young wife was allegedly kidnapped, sexually assaulted, shot and killed by a neighbor. Her husband and her family and friends will forever feel the effects of this senseless, violent crime.
But what can we do about sexual abuse? It is incredibly pervasive. Victims of sex abuse are young and old, across all cultures. It never gets easy to hear of how someone was abused, by a relative, friend, priest or teacher.
Victims can take these three steps after sexual abuse has occurred:
1. Talk to someone about it.
The shame and guilt a victim feels is often overwhelming and can imprison a victim. Simply talking about the abuse, even if it is anonymously, can be incredibly helpful. RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) offers a 24 hour online hotline: https://ohl.rainn.org/online/. Communications are free, confidential and secure.
2. Report the abuse.
Deterrence and prevention start with reporting the abuse to law enforcement. A vast majority of abusers will repeat their crimes. One victim’s silence often leads to additional abuse of the victim and others.
3. Seek counseling.
Whether the abuse is reported or not, counseling is a must for any victim of sexual abuse. Feelings change over time. Aggression can become depression and vice versa. Drug and alcohol abuse are common. Victims of sexual abuse deserve a fulfilling life. Counseling helps victims overcome the abuse and move on.
Related Sexual Abuse Legal Articles:
- Filing Criminal Charges Against a Sex Abuser in Pennsylvania – What You Should Consider
- Pennsylvania Criminal Statute of Limitations for Child Sex Abuse Offenses
- Mandatory Reporting Requirements – Reporting Known or Suspected Child Sex Abuse in PA and NJ