There’s been a lot of media coverage lately of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
I know many, many people are disappointed that the terms of the Royal Commission do not include abuse by other perpetrators. We know that many people have experienced abuse within their own families.
Some of my clients have told me that they have welcomed the press coverage – that after years of silence they are hearing stories by others who have suffered like they have. They find they are not alone, and their feelings, thoughts and behaviours over the years are starting to make more sense.
Even though it is disappointing that the Royal Commission’s terms of reference are not wider, at least it is a start. Our community is finally starting to acknowledge the scourge of sexual abuse. Perpetrators can no longer be confident that no-one will believe the voice of the one they once abused – the child’s voice they silenced is now an adult’s voice screaming out for justice. Institutions can no longer defend the indefensible.
If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, you may be responding in a variety of ways. You may be actively seeking help, or you may not yet feel ready to take the next step forward. But remember: as a child you survived – you did whatever you needed to do at the time to stay alive and minimise the harm done to you. Those protective mechanisms worked well for you then. However, many adults find that those protective mechanisms get in the way of their living full, productive lives as adults.
Relatonship problems, heavy drinking or drug use, withdrawal from the world, overwork, and other behaviours can be a problem for adult survivors.
There are some excellent resources available. Check out relevant websites, particularly www.asca.org.au for further information. And if you decide you need to see a counsellor, ensure they have recent training in trauma therapy, because significant advances have been made in therapeutic theory and practice in recent years
I wish you all the best on your journey towards healing.