What is Sexual Abuse?
Although there are a lot of things that can be defined as abuse, the general definition is the cruel and/or violent treatment of a person whether once or repeatedly. In most cases of sexual abuse, there is a person in a role of power who takes advantage of their role to inflict abuse of a sexual nature on others.
The abuser’s power can be either real or perceived, and in most cases, this type of abuse includes mental as well as physical harm. No two sexual abuse cases are the same. There may be similarities between a lot of the cases but each case is unique and needs to be treated as such. This means that the treatment also has to be uniquely catered to the victim.
Sexual Abuse Therapy for Abuse Victims
When handling a sexual abuse case, the first (and often hardest) step is cutting ties with the abuser. In order to be able to effectively help the victim, this is necessary and must be done right away. In a lot of cases, the victim isn’t separated from their abuser at the time that they seek sexual abuse counseling and that may undermine the therapy treatment.
More often than not, victims of sexual abuse also experience other types of abuse from their abuser. This means that they may also suffer physical and mental abuse as well. The basic cause of such abuse is often control and the abuser may make it extremely difficult for the victim to cut ties by threatening them with violence or worse, making the victim think that the abuse was their fault.
This is detrimental for the victim as it leads to them blaming themselves rather than the person who is really responsible, the abuser. After removing the victim from the abusive environment, the process of healing can now begin through therapy and treatment.
Psychological Effects of Sexual Abuse
Victims of sexual abuse often experience serious psychological and emotional issues as a result of the abuse. The experience has an extremely negative effect on their lives. When this type of abuse happens in children, they often develop deep emotional problems and have problems in their development. They may have a hard time developing relationships, focusing, or controlling behavioral issues.
Sexual abuse in children may also reduce their performance in social or academic situations. In adults, however, this type of abuse often makes it hard for individuals to trust new people or to form healthy relationships. Adult victims of abuse often seek out abusive relationships without even knowing it. They also have a higher risk of experiencing mental health conditions.
Mental Health Issues Linked to Sexual Abuse in Adults Include:
- Depression, Anxiety
- Anger issues, Trust issues
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Mood and behavioral problems
- Guilt, Shame
- Self-destructive behavior
- Suicidal thoughts
Sexual Abuse Therapy Methods
Because there aren’t any two cases that are the same when it comes to sexual abuse, the treatment varies according to each victim’s needs. Some of the more common treatments for sexual abuse therapy include:
Psychotherapy – Also known as ‘talk therapy’ this type of treatment is highly successful in helping victims of all ages.
Medication – Sometimes anti-depressants and other kinds of medication may prove to be helpful for treating victims of sexual abuse by reducing thoughts of suicide or even self-harm.
Ongoing Support – The next step in the therapy process is for the therapist to suggest some form of ongoing support such as group therapy as a supplement to the therapy sessions.
The subject of sexual abuse is one that has to be handled with extreme care as it is sometimes hard for the victims to resume their normal routines after that kind of trauma. A therapist who is specially trained to assist sexual abuse victims will be able to help such individuals to heal from their experience and to avoid additional trauma such as through blaming themselves for what happened.
Finding the Right Sexual Abuse Therapist
When searching for the right therapist for sexual abuse victims, it’s important to choose one who specializes in such cases. This will ensure that they get the best treatment possible. Find a therapist who has years of experience and is well-versed in sexual abuse cases. Trauma or relational therapists are also qualified to help victims of sexual crimes and misconduct and can handle sexual abuse cases.