Seeking professional help to support healing beyond sexual abuse.
Some readers of bird of winter will, like me, have been groomed and sexually abused as children or teenagers, and found ways to heal in the aftermath of this crime. My own childhood and adolescent experiences traumatised and shamed me deeply. I was only able to seek professional help in my thirties. In my fifties, I still need support from time to time. Some people with our history make contact with support sources younger. Others wait many decades.
Whatever our ages, many of us find it valuable to work with someone with specialised training. It can help us understand that we were not complicit in what was done to us as children and teenagers, and that we should not feel of less worth for having been subjected to a crime which we had no means of resisting. Reaching these understandings, in a kind and respectful context, can also make it possible to live more freely and joyously again. I have written about claiming life in the aftermath of sexual abuse in childhood elsewhere on this blog, and also in my collection bird of winter .
For people seeking help, one route is to speak with your doctor. In addition, the UK charity Mind gives organisations supporting people making their lives in the aftermath of sexual abuse. I have listed some below. More details can be found on the Mind website.
Lifecentre 0808 802 0808 (freephone) 07717 989 022 (textline). [Support for survivors of sexual abuse and those supporting them].
The National Association for People Abused in Childhood 0808 801 0331 [supporting adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse.
One in Four 0800 170 0314 [Offers advocacy and counselling services and information for people who have experienced sexual abuse].
The Survivors’ Trust 08088 010 818 [Lists local specialist services for survivors of sexual violence].