Youth Adult Survivors
& Kin In Need
Everyone can benefit from a network of supportive people around them to optimise psychological and emotional health. Many adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse find it challenging to identify a network: they may not be able to rely on their families, and they may find it difficult to establish and maintain friendships and relationships.
Finding Care and Support
Counselling is a broader term than "psychotherapy" and refers to any professional guidance in resolving personal conflicts and emotional problems. There are many different counselling approaches, and they often draw on psychological theory and techniques. Many counsellors have related qualifications and accreditations. However, counselling is only now becoming a regulated field of care. It is a good idea to check the qualifications and expertise of any counsellor before establishing an ongoing professional relationship with them.
Many survivors feel that they have few people to whom they can talk, or from whom they can seek and receive support. However, it is important not to try to recover in a vacuum. Learning to trust others and to turn to them for support is a crucial step in recovery. Doing so challenges one of the basic notions arising from a history of interpersonal trauma and abuse: namely, that people are dangerous. Trust your own feelings. Choose people who are available, interested in you and who can engage with your situation.
YAKIN is pleased to announce the launch of a new video which highlights the effect of trauma on LGBTQ youth; how bias impedes optimal care, and practical steps for creating safe and welcoming environments for traumatized LGBTQ youth. The video features five LGBTQ youth describing how trauma and bias have affected their ability to feel safe when seeking services.
Caring for Kids
YAKIN provides parents and caregivers with tools to help them support children who have been victims of sexual abuse, information on the importance of talking to children and youth about body safety, and guidance on how to respond when children disclose sexual abuse. Also included is advice on how to cope with the shock of intrafamilial abuse and with the emotional impact of legal involvement in sexual abuse cases.
Culture and Trauma
Children’s knowledge about sexuality varies with developmental age and across families and cultures. We examine some of the factors that influence this knowledge. It also offers suggestions to clinicians on how they may work with children who have been sexually abused or who are exhibiting inappropriate sexual behavior in a way that respects those differences.
We examine the information about the impact of child sexual abuse, to emphasize the importance of including parents/caretakers in treatment, and to highlight the need for children in therapy to learn specific skills to deal with what has happened to them and to talk about the details of their sexually abusive experiences.
Everyone has the right to feel safe all the time. If someone is making you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, then it could be sexual abuse.
So, what might be happening? It could involve:
- having parts of your body touched in a sexual way
- being kissed inappropriately, in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable
- being told to touch parts of your own body
- being made to touch parts of another person’s body
- being made to watch someone masturbate or touch their own body in a sexual way
- being made, by coercion or physical force, to act or model for pornographic purposes, or to watch pornographic material
- being watched while showering or changing
- putting objects (including penis and fingers) in the anus or mouth, and for young women, the vagina
- making you have sex, or do sexual things with other people (rape)
- making sexual comments and suggestions to you
- sending sexual comments or suggestions to you via SMS or email.
Sexual assault, rape and sexual abuse are illegal. The law says that if you did not freely agree to any sexual acts, then you have not said ‘yes’. Legally you can only agree to sexual acts if you are over 17 years old.
It is not OK for someone to offer money, favours or gifts to try and get you to do sexual things that you do not want to do. It is not OK for someone to blackmail you, use physical force or threaten you or people you care about, to get you to do something which makes you feel uncomfortable or makes you feel bad about yourself.
When people sexually abuse others, they know what they are doing and they should know that it is against the law.
Who abuses young people?
The commonly held stereotype of a sexual abuser is that of an old man in a raincoat hanging around in parks. The reality is that most sexual abuse is done by people known to the victims. Men and women who sexually abuse young people are of many different ages and appearances.
No person, male or female, young or old, has the right to make any young person do sexual things they would not have freely chosen to do.
You have the right to say NO.
"We live in a beautiful, safe neighborhood. None of these children could be victims of sexual abuse, right?"
Some young people feel that if they disclose (tell someone about what happened) they will be harshly judged by those around them. Sometimes they feel like they are to blame in some way. Often the abuser will say things like, "He/she was asking for it by wearing clothes like that, or behaving like that", or "She/he made me think it was OK".
Recognize the Signs
Sexually abused children who keep it a secret or who "tell" and are not believed are at greater risk than the general population for psychological, emotional, social, and physical problems, often lasting into adulthood. It is also likely that you know an abuser. The greatest risk to children doesn't come from strangers but from friends and family.
People who abuse children look and act just like every one else. In fact, they often go out of their way to appear trustworthy, seeking out settings where they can gain easy access to children, such as sports leagues, faith centers, clubs, and schools.