Sexual Abuse or Assault
Counselling with Liz
Sexual abuse and assault counselling can make a difference. Aside from physical injury, sexual abuse or assault often results in long-term emotional effects.
What does Sexual Abuse or Assault Look Like?
Sexual abuse is any sexual activity that occurs without voluntary consent. Also referred to as sexual assault or sexual violence, male or female. No excuse justifies the sexual abuse. If you feel uncomfortable with the touch or comments coming from another person that may be a sign of sexual abuse. Many times, the abuser is a family member or close acquaintance. Consent needs to be specific, here is an excellent video on consent from YouTube. Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios
Sexual assault is any sexual contact where consent is not given, consent is revoked, or you are unable to consent due to incapacitation.
Clues or Indicators of Sexual Abuse or Assault
You may have been told that what has happened to you is normal even though you are feeling threatened. You may be here for someone else that you think needs help? Possibly concerned for a friend or loved one who you know or suspect has experienced sexual abuse or assault, your support and understanding can be critical to their recovery.
Child sexual abuse can include some of the following:
- invited or asked to touch another person in a sexual manner
- if you have been exposed to pornography
- when you have not given consent to what is happening,
- child sexual abuse often occurs over many weeks or even years’
- or the act of abuse is done in secrecy.
Sexual assault can be some of the following:
- the abuser carries, uses or threatens to use a weapon,
- tries to use an imitation of a weapon,
- threatens to cause bodily harm,
- or causes bodily harm,
- emotional or financial threats,
- blackmail, or emotional manipulation.
When Should I or Some I know Seek Sexual Abuse or Assault Counselling?
Sexual abuse in childhood or assault in adulthood is not your fault. Seeking help can be a good first step to recovery. When whatever you try does not make a lasting change when the feedback does not shift, that is a sign more is needed. It’s time to do the hardest thing of all, it is time to reach out and find ways over, under, around or through the struggle. And the right therapist can do that with you.
Often, adults seek counselling for a different issue, and that is when the abuse or assault is revealed or recognized. Some indicators you should seek help are as follows:
- feeling depressed or anxious,
- eating disorders,
- poor self-esteem,
- having nightmares,
- have no interest in sex
- experience long-term physical ailments,
- substance abuse,
- or difficulty forming healthy relationships.
A large percentage of people are sexually assaulted by someone they know, this is not your fault, some indicators you should seek help are as follows:
- if you are suffering from PTSD,
- feelings of shame, terror or guilt,
- reliving the trauma over and over through flashbacks or nightmares,
- always on the alert and hypervigilant,
- fear, anxiety or depression.
How Will Counselling Help Me or Someone I Know?
Understand that the sexual abuse was not your fault. Liz believes that healing is possible. Unfortunately, the effects of sexual abuse or assault don’t end with the situation.
Talking about struggles is the oldest known form of getting help known to humankind. We also know there are specific skills that make a difference over a longer period of time, and that is how therapy can help. Challenging our negative thoughts, finding meaning in the meaningless with someone who can be a guide makes a real difference. And using skills to actually end the struggles with the awful stuff frees up energy for a life with more possibilities.
Working With Liz
Liz is a registered psychologist in Edmonton, who began her career as a clinical social worker. Liz Massiah considers the impact with social, cultural, familial economic, educational, and other influences. As well as the more individually focused work of psychology to her therapy practice.
Liz has practiced since 1983 here in Alberta.Read More