Sexual violence is a crime hard to forgive both on the part of the victim and her family. It poses so much danger to the victim as it affects many facets of that individual’s well-being, which includes, but not limited to, the psychological and emotional imbalance of the mind and body. According to John M. Grohol, Psy.D. ,”Many people who suffer from sexual abuse or sexual assault can also suffer long-term effects from the abuse.”
The Experience Is Detrimental To Mental Health
Victims are expected to experience a sudden shift in their mental health like having flashbacks or hearing something they heard during that moment they were being assaulted, which might trigger them to remember how they were abused and may result in fears and trauma. “When you are traumatized, you lose control of your life. You may feel like you still don’t have any control over your life,” says Mary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.
The trauma that the victims experienced may cause them to have mood swings, resulting in suffering and a feeling of anger towards their perpetrator. If they are left unattended and untreated, victims of rape, human trafficking, sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment may experience mental issues which may get worse as they grow old. It is commonly found that a victim of malicious acts suffers from depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks.
How Support Groups Can Help
“Help the survivor find other resources, such as a support group, psychotherapy, or relevant professionals in the community,” said experts Dena Rosenbloom PhD and Mary Beth Williams PhD. There are many institutions and support groups that help individuals who are victims of sexual violence. They know and understand how traumatic the experience is on the part of the individual especially when it was done to her at a very young age. It may affect her behavior around the community, in school, or in the workplace, and even her relationship with her family and friends can change.
Joining a support group is necessary to help the victim understand why such things sometimes happen. It’s not easy, but with the guidance of a counselor, she will learn to come to terms with it. She will learn to determine what she can do to avoid such violent act from happening again. Understanding the situation of the victim will help her get through the traumatic experience like talking to her, trying to connect and ask what she needs, making her feel comfortable in trusting a person again and making her forget her bad experience little by little.
Support groups offer counseling that can help victims cope with the emotional stress caused by the abuse. The victim may find the experience more bearable and tolerable if someone will listen to her and offer her lifelong advice which the other person had struggled with before.
The Fear Of Being Judged
Counseling renders services wherein you can talk to a professional without being judged. Talking about past abusive experiences is a sensitive topic for the victim, but it will help her lessen the pain and make her understand that it is not her fault and she can get through with it and forgive the person who did her wrong. Forgiving is not easy, but it will eventually come once the victim’s pain has lessened, and she has accepted what had happened to her and had prepared herself to move on from that nightmare.
What the counselor wants to avoid is for the victim to have passive suicidal thoughts, have ideas of revenge, imagine doing the same thing to another individual, and other negative thoughts and feelings. That is why it is essential to reach out to the victims of abuse and offer help as much as you can to save them from ruining their lives.
The Victim Must Understand That Forgiveness Is For Her Own Peace Of Mind
It is hard for a victim to go on with life with a heavy heart, holding a grudge against her assailant and other people who have caused her suffering, and act as if nothing had happened or what happened is a normal occurrence. She is in a lot of pain and in a state of confusion. There are a lot of questions at the back of her mind, like how can life be so cruel for letting such thing happen to her, where is God during that moment, and more, which when left unanswered will leave her in the dark.
Every day is a battle for her – her thoughts, anger, and feelings for that person. But as long as she knows that there are people who are willing to help her and make her feel that she is understood and accepted no matter what had happened, she will soon have the confidence to live again and get out of that dark corner of her life and go out in the light.
Counseling can guide a victim through different interventions, so she can let go of the past and turn her suffering and anger to compassion for her perpetrator. As she learns to be compassionate to her abuser, she is learning to free herself from anger, and that will eventually lead her to a more positive and happy life.