Admissions & Aid
Child abuse can take the form of any act of physical, emotional, or sexual abuse perpetrated against a child. Child abuse can also take the form of neglect—ignoring the child’s emotional and or physical needs. Child abuse can and does take place outside of the family—with stepfamilies, foster families, or babysitters.
Sometimes it is very difficult to be sure whether you actually were abused as a child. You may be blocking memories because you are not yet ready to cope with them all on your own. Here are some questions to ask yourself that may help you to be more sure about the past (from J. Patrick Gannon, Soul Survivors):
Being an adult survivor of child abuse means that you or someone you care about endured the pain of child abuse and survived it. Unfortunately, the survival tactics used to cope with the abuse can later get in the way of productive and satisfying adult lives. Some of the symptoms of survivors syndrome include:
Yes, it is possible for survivors to recover from the abuse syndrome. The recovery process can be a difficult one. The road to a healthy resolution of an abusive childhood involves deep self-exploration and sometimes painful recollection of past events and people.
Recovery is very difficult to achieve by yourself. There a variety of sources to which you may turn for help.
Reading about abuse survival is a helpful and gentle way for you to begin to explore your own experience. Some books to look at (many are available in the center library and at most large bookstores): Soul Survivors by J. Patrick Gannon; The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Abuse by Bassie and Davis; There Is a Way Out by Richard Yao.
Self-help groups are a good place to start and provide a good support system for someone going through the self exploration process involved in recovery. Hearing others recount their experiences of abuse will not only validate your own feelings (which may be marked by confusion), but will give you a springboard for resolving some of the conflicts these feelings evoke: Children of Alcoholics (800.359.2623); Incest Survivors Anonymous (800.422.4453); St. Vincent’s Hospital Rape and Incest Crisis Program (212.604.8068).
Counseling may be a more comfortable mode for you to explore the past. A counselor can lead you through the fear, pain, and confusion of your abusive experience and guide you supportively along the path of recovery.
If you or someone you care about would like more information, come in and speak with a professional counselor in 0203 James Hall. All services are free and confidential.