Survivors often suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, isolation, anxiety and depression. Some use unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance misuse and self-harming. Counselling can help them to deal with these issues, make changes and take control of their lives. Counselling is not an easy fix and requires commitment from all parties.
7 Ways that you can help right now
1. Take care of yourself
You cannot support someone if you are not supporting yourself first.
2. Educate yourself
The more knowledge you have about the impact of abuse, the better you will understand the survivor’s experiences, triggers and reactions that currently may feel bewildering to you. Read the self-help package for more information.
Ask the survivor what they need. Don’t assume that you know what’s best for them and push them in that direction. Nobody likes to feel controlled or patronised, but survivors will feel extremely sensitive to any form of control.
4. Be considerate
Consider that you may not be the best person to support the survivor around the issue of abuse. Someone with less personal involvement – typically a counsellor – will be in a better position to assist and empower the survivor.
5. No excuse for bad behaviour
Remember that having experienced childhood abuse is not an excuse for bad behaviour. If you are in a close relationship with a survivor who is acting out their pain in a way that is harmful to you, do not tolerate it.
6. Donate or Fundraise
Counselling in private practice can be inaccessible for many women recovering from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse because of financial pressures. At Quetzal, we alleviate financial pressure by providing our services for free and giving the tools to women to rewrite their stories.
In order to keep our services free to use we rely on the support of donors and fundraisers.
By donating or fundraising for Quetzal, you are contributing towards the end of violence against women and girls by empowering survivors to rebuild their lives.
7. Become a Volunteer Connector
We are all part of a person journey towards recovery from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse.
When we choose to not talk about abuse and its impacts on victims and their families in our communities, we side with the perpetrators who use silence as a tool to manipulate their victims.
To support survivors in their journey, we need to understand and share with our community what is sexual abuse, how it impacts on a child’s development and their adult lives, and what can we do to support them.
If you want to empower your community with knowledge and skills to empathize further with survivors of abuse, you can become a volunteer connector, receive training, support to deliver a session or more to the people you know, and invite them in turn to become a volunteer connector.