This is such a big topic and ultimately everyone will deal with it in their own unique way and this is part of the journey to healing. There are so many ways that people will react to having experienced this, from anger and rage, turning to drugs or alcohol, depression and anxiety, food, guilt and shame, to name a few of the reactive places someone will go to after experiencing such trauma. Some people will carry this with them all their lives as a burden and others will step through the pain and have successful and happy lives.

Nobody can tell someone who has been through this how they should be, feel, or act – it is such an individual process.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years of sitting in circles with women, is that in those circles, nearly 1/3 of the women had been sexually abused. I was always completely blown away by that fact and was grateful that I hadn’t experienced anything as traumatic as rape, sexual assault or abuse.

Yet sexual assault and abuse can come in many forms. Some are more violent than others and some are more subtle. Some occur by strangers and others are done by fathers, brothers and boyfriends. When you are a child, you may or may not be aware that it is wrong what is happening to you. When you are with a partner you can still be coerced and pushed into having sex when you don’t want to, which is a form of abuse.

It was only very recently when I was doing a workshop, that something was triggered deep within me, something I knew that had occurred a very long time ago but brushed it lightly aside. The reality was that I had been sexually abused however never acknowledged it as such because it wasn’t rape and it wasn’t aggressive. What it was though was manipulation and coersion when I was quite young and for whatever reason I was unable to say, NO, I don’t like that. Instead I just endured it many times. So that was quite a revelation for me and so once I realised that this had actually occurred with me, I set about doing some intensive healing to shift this experience from my system. I feel very lucky that I was able to acknowledge it, shift it and heal it very quickly. Unfortunately this is not always the case for most people.

What I have discovered in my practice as an Intimacy & Sexuality Coach is that probably half the women I have seen, have been sexually abused. In these instances most of them have been young children and the way they have handled it has been very different, yet it has effected them their whole lives.

Emotions are confused, guilt creeps in, thinking that perhaps they deserved it or that something is wrong with them and it can also can affect their current sexual lives and intimate relationships.

Thankfully the women that come to see me are aware enough that there are things not really working for them in their life. They are aware that certain behaviors occurring in their lives are stemmed from this abuse and they want to make changes within themselves so they can be happy and live fulfilling lives. They are aware that they want to let go of the pain and leave it in the past, so that they can move forward. The problem is they don’t know how to.

So by talking and delving into the period around the abuse and looking at all aspects of their lives, I begin to work with them on the unconscious level using NLP to create shifts and changes to help them move forward in their lives. Everyone responds to different techniques in different ways. Sometimes I will use energy work to help the body heal as it also holds memories in the cellular level as well as working with the emotional aspects.

I think the most important thing is to find someone you can confide in and talk to.

At the end of the day the effects of sexual abuse can be devastating however you can work through the pain and come to a place of healing. It’s important though to not stay in the victim mindset and seek help to take you to a place of healing and forgiveness, not only forgiveness for yourself but for the perpetrator as well and that is sometimes the hardest thing to hear.


Now contributing monthly as an ‘InShape News Columnist’


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