It may be hard to believe but child sexual abuse really happens. No matter what race, religion and economic status, children are getting sexually abused. And its effects don’t stop until the child grows through adolescence and into adulthood.
Most children who have become victims of sexual abuse usually grow up struggling with depression, self-hatred, alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, eating disorders, the inability to trust, and thoughts of suicide. They often feel hopeless, like there was no light at the end of the tunnel of despair. They experience nightmares and would wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks. They fear they are getting crazy, that something was wrong with them. Although, they may be involved in a relationship, it was hard for them to be sexual, and they shut off during sexual activity. Most of the time, they just feel empty, disconnected, and alone.
Sexual abuse can take many different forms. It could be an unwanted touch by a babysitter, a brother or sister, or even a parent, step-parent, friend, and even from a church minister. For others, it may be a recurring abuse that lasts for many years. It could also be a one-time occurrence, such as a date rape or coercive sex with a partner. A lot of times, survivors of sexual abuse don’t speak about their experience, sometimes holding it as a secret they share with no one for years.
Many blame themselves, feeling shame, guilt, and depression. Some victims experience flashbacks and live in fear. Others just try to block it all out. Their spiritual struggles and injuries are often deep and painful. They may feel abandoned by God, lose their faith, or feel a pervasive sense of spiritual isolation.
There are different ways to heal and restore wholeness for those who suffered from the terrible trauma of sexual abuse. Victims of sexual abuse can heal from the depression, the anxiety, the panic, the loneliness, and the other ways that sexual abuse creates havoc. Healing may not come easy, but it is possible to regain a sense of wholeness once again.
In order to address the deep psychological and spiritual wounds of sexually abused individuals, spiritually-integrated therapy helps in overcoming issues, such as anger at God, abandonment by God, and spiritual disconnection. It involves counseling on how sexual abuse creates deep feelings of shame, and how this shame covers the true beauty within. They explore how sexual abuse affects their sexuality and their beliefs and ideas about their bodies. In general, spiritually-integrated therapy healing, growth, and empowerment. According to a research study on the effectiveness of spiritually-integrated therapy, all of the participants reported significant decreases in psychological distress by the end of the therapy, and at a one to two-month follow-up, including significant decreases in depression and anxiety. Moreover, participants who were facing significant spiritual struggles reported increases in their spiritual well-being and spiritual health across the course of the therapy and at follow-up. This kind of spiritually-integrated therapy involves several individual sessions with a trained psychotherapist and complete healing may involve a long-term course. Although some of its aspects can be used on their own to begin or speed up their healing process.