It’s amazing how people visualize what a victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse looks like. They picture a person who looks “broken”. Many people relate a victim of Childhood Sexual Abuse to that of someone who visibly struggles. They may think that a victim may suffer from addiction issues, mental health issues, relationship issues, etc. While some CSA survivors may, indeed, struggle with some of these issues, many do not.
I remember when I first revealed to people about my past Childhood Sexual Abuse, so many were shocked. Here was this seemingly happy woman, who was educated, had a good career, superstar single mom, her own home and she appeared to really have it together. How could it be possible that she could hide such a deep, dark secret? Well, the truth is, victims often carry so much shame, guilt and blame and the majority feel obligated to bare the burden silently. They may feel that by portraying happiness, they can forget those painful memories, or keep them tucked safely away to protect the abuser and others. It is why many do not reveal past abuse until later in life, while some victims do not at all, because they fear the consequences.
It is virtually impossible to do a blueprint for what a victim of sexual abuse should look like, or how they will carry their pain. Since coming out with my story, I’ve had people who I have known for years reach out to me and reveal that they had also been sexually abused and one of those people, I would have never suspected it. There were a couple of people however; I could see the signs. Some people hide it very well, while others attempt to numb the pain through addictions. I personally believe that how a person deals with such trauma, largely depends on the environment in which they were raised.
It is quite an epiphany for a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse to seek treatment to confront their demons. It takes serious commitment and determination to not let past abuse define their mental health, future relationships, intimacy with spouses and from them leading fulfilling lives.
The stigma of CSA Survivors as unsuitable life companions, or forever broken, is completely false. Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse should never be identified by what happened to them and what they had no control over. It takes tremendous courage and strength for a survivor to share their story and it truly becomes a defining moment in their journey of healing. They gain the confidence in knowing that they had control over how their story was told and in their future happiness and healing. I am very open about my journey as a CSA Survivor and I am committed to educating and helping other survivors seek the healing and inner peace that they deserve. CSA Survivors are the bravest, strongest and most amazing souls you will ever encounter.