Sexual Abuse Suvivor’s have family, partners and friends. No matter how loving, understanding, patient or concerned a sexual abuse survivor’s family, partner and friends are; they too need guidance to assist their loved on through the complex and complicated journey to recovery. The following tips are gleaned from working with survivors, partners and allies for thrity plus years. If you have suggestions for additions to these tips, please contact me by using the contact form, Ask Dr Dorothy link below.
WHAT TO DO:
- DO learn about abuse aftereffects and the healing process.
- DO use and encourage the Survivor to use empowering language.
- DO help the Survivor make choices.
- DO validate feelings.
- DO encourage therapy for the Survivor, and possibly yourself. Separately and together.
- Do learn and practice effective communication techniques.
- Do learn and practice assertive communication skills.
- DO learn and practice time-out skills.
- DO respect boundaries and limits.
- DO communicate openly about sexuality.
- DO allot time and resources for the healing process.
- DO learn to play.
- DO allot time to be together.
- DO allot time to be apart.
- DO serve as a healthy role model.
- Do blame the offender(s), NOT the Survivor.
- DO plan for crises (including possibly suicidal thoughts).
- DO be honest about your feelings.
- DO acknowledge progress in the healing process.
- DO reinforce strengths of the Survivor and the relationship.
- DO believe in the Survivor and in the healing process.
WHAT TO AVOID:
- Avoid taking the Survivor’s outbursts personally.
- Avoid being a martyr.
- Avoid isolating yourself, even though, the Survivor is.
- Avoid humoring the Survivor into cheerfulness.
- Avoid insisting the Survivor forgive and forget.
- Avoid overwhelming the Survivor with your own anger/frustration regarding the abuse.
- Avoid making pronouncements regarding a “cure” or insist the Survivor hurry the healing process.
- Avoid setting timetables or give ultimatums to the Survivor.
- Avoid giving the Survivor your version how s/he needs to heal.
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