For Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse

1. H OPE – Hold on to hope that our SCARS will heal

  • The first part of healing is our revealing
  • Sexual abuse of children causes emotional wounds; some wounds leave SCARS.
  • Our SCAR can heal over time.  It doesn’t disappear, as it is a representation of pain
  • Our SCAR can also represent a battle, which we have fought and won
  • Hold on to hope; we CAN get through this.  We may not feel like an overcomer, but we are
  • We can transition from ‘victim’ to ‘survivor’ and then thrive
  • DO NOT lose hope! 

2. E MBRACE – Embrace the truth; it was wrong what we experienced   

  • It shouldn’t have happened 
  • We were not safe
  • Our power was taken from us
  • Children are meant to be protected at ALL times. Gaining sexual pleasure from a child equates to a child not protected
  • We were too young to process the abuse and didn’t know how to defend ourselves
  • We were afraid that if we told no one would believe us
  • Maybe we told and they didn’t believe us; perhaps we felt trapped
  • Perhaps we told and we were blamed
  • We ask ourselves “why didn’t anyone ask?” “How could they not know?”
  • What happened to us was wrong and our feelings are validated

3. A CCEPT – Accept that trust was violated and it wasn’t our fault

  • Our trust was betrayed whether by a parent, family member, babysitter, coach, clergy, teacher, sibling, older child, cousin, or family friend
  • We were deceived; this can cause anger
  • We were abandoned; this can cause sadness and/or fear
  • We were confused; children do not understand sex and boundaries if no one explains appropriate behavior & inappropriate behavior
  • We felt shameful because he/she told us it was our fault; we liked it; we should’ve told someone (Sex feels good and it can be confusing for a child)
  • We may experience triggers from situations and events as we progress through adulthood. For example, if we see the offender, if we experience feeling unsafe or not believed in situations, if we feel powerless etc.
  • These are all understandable & substantiated emotions

4. L OVE – Sexual abuse is never love   

  • We can be confused with what is sex and what is love; intimacy should be between two consenting adults who truly love each other
  • Regardless of feeling love, no one under the age of 16 can consent to sex in our country of Bermuda
  • We must love ourselves
  • We have some SCARS on our heart; sometimes we cannot give to others what we haven’t received ourselves

5. I NNOCENCE –  Our innocence was stolen

  • We did nothing to deserve this
  • It was not our fault
  • It is not our shame

6. N URTURE –  We need nurturing & support for recovery

  • We need each other because we can’t walk alone in this experience
  • We need validation that what happened to us is believed

7. G OD – Can provide Hope, Healing, Forgiveness & Purpose

  • Hope is something we can give up on or something we can cling to
  • God can work good things out of bad things in our life if we trust him.
  • Not everything that happens in life is good because all things are not good. Cancer is not good, Disease is not good, Death is not good, Divorce is not good, War is not good, Rape & Sexual Abuse are not good.
  • Not everything that happens in the world is God’s will; He gave free will to man & woman
  • Man or woman did this to us, not God
  • We cannot be self-reliant to heal but rather God-reliant
  • We need God to heal our scar and be our life preserver
  • We have incredible value and He can restore us to make us new
  • Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting, it doesn’t mean excusing, it doesn’t mean approval & it doesn’t mean acceptance
  • We were first to have received unconditional love from our parents. If we don’t we wonder & thirst for purpose. We thirst for peace in our conscious
  • We are spiritually a virgin to Him & are defined by our purpose not by our SCAR
  • We can heal by applying the medicine of God and rest in His care
  • God can turn what was meant to harm us into something good & purposeful

NIV – Jeremiah 17:14

Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise.