Learning to Trust Again -- A Young Woman's Journey of Healing from Sexual Abuse

Christa Sands

The material in this book will help counselors:

1. Understand the common experiences of those who have been sexually abused, such as being abused by someone the victim knew, not telling someone about the abuse, blaming oneself for the abuse, questioning God's love for the abused victim, blaming oneself for not stopping the abuse, and using dissociation as a way to cope.

2. Know what to do immediately after abuse is reported, such as telling one's client how proud you are for their report, telling her that she is not at fault for the abuse, and immediately reporting the abuse to your state or local agency that is responsible for investigating the abuse.

3. Know the signs of possible sexual abuse, including abrupt changes in behavior, excessive anxiety, withdrawal, regression to childish behavior, difficulty at school, aggressive behavior, self-destructive behavior, seductive behavior, indirect communication such as "I don't want to stay with ___," and physical symptoms.

4. Teach their clients to express their doubts, despair, and anger to God; to deal with sadness, spiritual withdrawal, and suicidal thoughts.

5. Encourage their abuse clients to tell the appropriate people about the abuse, to seek out an abuse survivors' recovery group, to read about recovery from reputable sources (particularly those who have recovered from sexual abuse), how to determine if the perpetrator should be prosecuted or not, and how the client can build a support team.

6. Help their Christian clients apply Scripture to their recovery:
(1) When their clients don't feel loved by God. Psalm 32:10 and Romans 8:38-39.
(2) When their clients don't think they can take any more pain. I Corinthians 10:13; II Corinthians 12:9; Job 36:15 and Romans 8:28.
(3) When their clients think God is far away. Psalm 139:5-10; Isaiah 43:2-4; and Matthew 28:20.
(4) When their clients have no hope. II Corinthians 5:7; Romans 8:24-26 and Psalm 126:5-6.
(5) When their clients think the darkness will never end. Psalm 139:11-13; Job 12:22 and Isaiah 42:16.
(6) When their clients think God does not care. I Peter 5:7; Nahum 1:7; Isaiah 40:11 and John 1:16.

7. Help their clients with practical problems resulting from abuse, such as a controlling perfectionism, overwhelming anxiety, and problems with authority, including parents.

8. Help their clients practice "authentic love", which seeks another person's highest good, rather than "love" that is needy, lacking in boundaries, too much too soon, or too exclusive and jealous.

9. Help their clients surrender to God, depend upon Him, and trust in Him.