Victims of child sexual abuse find themselves grieving and mourning about what happened to them. This is a common and natural feeling felt by those who survive the ordeal. While most of us perceive grief as a negative reaction or response in dealing with the consequences and further effects of the actual abuse, it is in reality a very practical and effective way of moving on.
The grief felt in child sexual abuse is commonly referred to as the grieving of the loss of innocence. As a child or teen is abused, the innocence is taken away and there’s always the possibility that the entire childhood will be gone. The very purpose of being a young boy or girl is that you get to enjoy exploring life with your innocence. But as it is taken away from you, your entire life and future may also be put in jeopardy.
In the entirety of our lives, we feel grief from time to time. Losing a loved one or a close friend entails grieving. Failures and problems also enable us to grieve. But when a child is sexually abused, the kind of grieving attached to it is far more serious and difficult to handle. Nonetheless, it is still necessary in order for victims to survive and move on.
When a victim grieves, there are several stages involved. It includes the stage of being shocked and immobilized, denial, depression, and acceptance. Depending primarily on what kind of culture or society the victim belongs, getting through each stage may be quite difficult or even unsuccessful. For instance, all child victims of sexual abuse will undergo shock. Being at this stage of grieving means they seem to be incapable of responding or even doing anything. They place themselves in a scenario where they are left with no choice but to get immobilized. In this period, the whole experience has not sunk in.
As they start to realize that they’ve been abused, denial normally follows. Denial includes the inability to accept that the abuse really took place. It’s a feeling where victims try hard to build a mindset that the sexual abuse does not inflict pain and suffering, when in fact, it does. Of all the stages of grieving, denial is the one that can halt the progress of healing and moving on. If the victim keeps on denying what has happened, he will never move on. He will be constantly reminded of the abuse years after it took place. Soon, psychological and behavioral effects will take their toll.
But as soon as victims learn to fight off the trauma and begin the healing, acceptance follows. Acceptance corresponds to the victims’ ability to allow others to help them. By accepting that the abuse indeed took place and has significantly affected their lives, they are able to come up with coping and healing solutions that will ease the wounds.
Everyone should be reminded that victims of child sexual abuse normally get the feeling of losing what could have been a better life and future ahead. However, dwelling with what happened in the past will only make things worse. But if they allow themselves to grieve on it in a positive way, there is always a chance to start a new beginning. As you will see, there are stages involved in grieving, so if a victim fails to progress and stay stuck with one of those stages, then there will be no healing. Every victim should realize that the main purpose why they grieve is to learn to accept what happened. If they can do that, healing becomes a lot easier.