Summer Social Media Education Series – July 24th to July 30th

Continuing our summer series – here are the posts from July 24th to the 30th.

July 24th – Supporting Victims of Child Sex Abuse
Over the past month we’ve defined child sex abuse, CSEC and sex trafficking – looked at vulnerabilities, and how to identify possible victims. Today we begin discussions on supporting victims of child sex abuse.

In order to support a child who has been sexually abused, it helps to understand how they may feeling. Keep in mind that most times children are abused by someone known and trusted – this includes family members.
Children who have been sexually abused may be feeling the following:
~ Children often blame themselves for the abuse.
~ Children often feel guilty for telling someone about the  abuse.
~Children are often ashamed about the abuse itself, particularly sexual abuse.
~Children are often confused about their feelings for the  perpetrator.
~ Children are often fearful of the repercussions of telling.  They may be scared of the perpetrator, scared that the abuse may recur, or that the family will break up.
The child will need reassurance and support.          (Adapted from SECASA)


July 25th – Supporting Victims of Child Sex Abuse

Yesterday we discussed how a child may be feeling when they have been abused – fear, shame, confusion and fear. Today’s post features some ways to support a child.

If your child has been abused, you can play a key role in their healing. It’s one of the most difficult things to hear and your natural reaction will be anger. It’s important that you not show that to the child as they will be confused and fearful. Here are a few things to keep in mind when talking to your child:
-NEVER blame the victim – they did nothing wrong
-Let the child know you are there and will listen. Focus on THEIR feelings
-Don’t dwell on the sexual aspects of the assault
-Your child may displace their anger onto you – try not to take it personally
-Reassure the child it is not their fault
-Don’t make promises as to any outcomes in court.


July 26th – Supporting Victims of Sexual Abuse 

Yesterday we posted things to keep in mind when speaking to a child who has been sexually abused. Most of those will apply to all ages. Today we are offering supportive phrases that would be helpful for anyone who has been sexually abused:
~‘I believe you’ These three words are powerful and important. It takes incredible courage to disclose abuse and sadly many are not believed.
~‘You are not alone’. Let the victim know that you are there to support them and that they do not need to face this alone. Help connect them to agencies that can help support them as well.
~‘It’s not your fault’. Victims will often blame themselves for what happened. Remind them over and over again that they did nothing wrong – they are not to blame.
~‘I’m sorry this happened to you’. What has happened is traumatic and will impact their life. Letting a victim know you are sorry expresses much needed empathy.
What are some other things you can say to support a victim?
July 27th – Supporting Victims of Sexual Abuse

Whether a child who has been sexually abused, a young person who has been trafficked or an adult survivor of abuse – you can play a major role in their recovery. Here are some important things to remember as you continue to support them:

~ Healing is not linear. This is a fluid process with some good days and some bad. It is not a ‘setback’ if a victim experiences flashbacks or stops talking for a while.
~ Have resources on hand. Create a list of local resources that you can share with a victim. AND include some for yourself. It’s not easy to support someone who has been significantly traumatized.  Self-care is important for both of you
~ Check in from time to time. Healing takes time – and for some the pain will not ever completely go away. Your note or call to say hello and see how they are doing will go far in letting them know  you care and you believe them.
~ Be patient. A survivor may struggle for a lifetime. Asking them when they are going to ‘get over it’ is not useful and can cause more harm. Remind them they are okay and you are there to help.
~ Set boundaries. It is absolutely essential that you be clear on your own boundaries for supporting another. You can not provide 24/7 support and expect to remain healthy. Provide the survivor with other resources, state what you are not able to do (ie answer 3 am phone calls unless an emergency) and restate when boundaries are crossed. You will be modelling behaviour that will help      them in the long term as they learn to set their own boundaries – both physical and emotional.

July 28th – Survivor Messages of Hope and Healing
Over the past few days we’ve been talking about how to support victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation.  The next three days we will  focus on messages of hope and healing.
Dear survivors – be gentle with yourself. You are deserving of love and kindness. Imagine yourself as a newborn child. How would you talk to that baby? How would you treat it? Nurture yourself and love yourself as you would that innocent child. When you find that you are being harsh with yourself bring that child back into your mind. Be gentle, kind and full of love towards yourself.
July 29th – Survivor Messages of Hope and Healing
As survivors of child sex abuse we can often forget to let down our guard and allow ourselves to have fun. For so long we have been protecting ourselves, been hyper vigilant and guarded.
Allow yourself to have some fun. It’s hard when a perpetrator has taken much of your childhood from you but now it’s time for you to reclaim that! Go ahead – allow yourself to be like a child. Have fun. Laugh. Be silly. And just ‘be’ for a while.
July 30th – Self Care
Self-Care is a term we hear all the time but do you know what it means and how to do it?
When we talk about self-care we are talking about taking steps to feel healthy and comfortable. For people who have experienced trauma from child sex abuse and/or sexual exploitation it is not unusual for them to neglect self-care.
Take some time and think back to when you felt healthy, strong and grounded. What did you enjoy doing? What helped you to sleep or rest? How about exercise? Did you enjoy going for walks or running? It’s important to take care of your physical and emotional health.
Here are some questions to ask yourself, they may help you to identify some ways you can take care of yourself:
~How were you sleeping? Did you have a sleep ritual or nap pattern that made you feel more rested?
~What types of food were you eating? What meals made you feel healthy and strong?
~What types of exercise did you enjoy? Were there any particular activities that made you feel more energized?
~Did you perform certain routines? Were there activities you did to start the day off right or wind down at the end of the day?
~What fun or leisure activities did you enjoy? Were there events or outings that you looked forward to?
~Did you write down your thoughts in a journal or personal notebook?
~Were meditation or relaxation activities a part of your regular schedule?
~What inspirational words were you reading? Did you have a particular author or favorite website to go to for inspiration?
~Who did you spend time with? Was there someone, or a group of people, that you felt safe and supported around?
~Where did you spend your time? Was there a special place, maybe outdoors or at a friend’s house, where you felt comfortable and grounded?
Thanks to RAAIN for these great questions!


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