5 Things you Need to Know When Helping Sexual Abuse Survivors

Through out my life I have had several people walk along side me as I sought healing from childhood sexual abuse. They helped me see truth. They stuck by me until full healing finally came.  As I think about what they did well I am reminded that all of them understood that healing would not come through them but only through Jesus Christ.

They constantly pointed me to Jesus, the Gospel and what truth was. They knew healing would only come through Christ’s work in me.

abuse 5 thingsNot one of them rushed me. They gave me time to process, feel deep pain, and mourn that which was lost. They helped me accept His love and grace.
Mostly they just loved me. I often would ask, “are you tired of me?” or “do you think I should be over this by now?” and the answer would always be one of grace. They would point me back to see what God had already done and what he was in the process of doing.
I am so thankful for those women and men who God used and I realize that walking along side someone who has lived through trauma is not always easy.   Honestly I believe it takes a very special kind of person. One who understand the 5 things that Diane Langberg shares in her book On The Threshold of Hope1.
So if you find yourself walking along side a friend, sister, daughter or wife who is working her way through abuse you might want to remember these 5 things.

1. Understand and acknowledge your own inadequacies. Abuse is ugly and from the pit of hell. It will wreak havoc in a persons life and affect them spiritually, mentally and physically. You can not fix it (only Jesus can) but you can be there to love them and listen.

2. Healing from abuse can take a very long time. In fact it will probably take longer than perhaps you think it should. Don’t give up on them. In many cases no one has ever fought for them so stay and fight. Understand that often the journey is taking one step forward and three back. Don't rush healing, allow God to work in His own time.

3. Understand that you are fighting a spiritual battle. You may not feel equipped but this battle is a battle that must be fought hard in prayer. The enemy behind this has had years to whisper lies and build walls of protection. The enemy has enslaved them and it will require someone to fight for them. Survivors most often will not, or will not know how to fight for themselves. You will need to fight for them.

4. Survivors need hope. You may need to hope for them in the beginning. They may not be able to see all that God is doing or has done in their life and you will need to remind them often of what you see. Speak words that will build their faith in God. Most survivors will find trusting in God difficult but as you show them how His is healing and restoring their life they will begin to be able to make steps toward greater trust.

5. Protect your self. The pain and despair the survivor can feel is deep and you need to be careful that you don’t drown in it. They need you to be there to offer hope and point them to truth while you encircle them with compassion and love. You are not walking alone along side them, God is the redeemer and restorer of all that has been taken from them.

1Langberg, Diane Mandt, PH.D. On The Threshold of Hope. Tyndale House Publishers, 1999. Print. (Pg 198-199)




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