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The repercussions of such abuse are many. Underlying anger is often repressed and is expressed instead in the form of shame ("I must have deserved it."), fear ("How can I ever trust a man sexually?), or depression ("If this is what life is all about, forget it!"). Sometimes the anger does come out as rage, child abuse, or self-destructive behavior. Self-abuse can show itself in such guises as compulsive eating, anorexia, continual relationships with partners who are physically, sexually, or verbally abusive or in more subtle ways such as never really allowing oneself to succeed or be really happy. Physical symptoms often occur as a result of sexual abuse, sometimes years later. Those which I have seen most often are bladder or kidney problems, skin eruptions such as eczema, headaches, or any kind of menstrual or reproductive problem, including abnormal Pap smears and inability to conceive.

Many cases of sexual abuse are familial and many are not. Incest is much more complicated because the healthy mother-father-sibling relationship has been perverted and our relationship with our parentscan effect all of our other relationships. Once a woman has remembered the sexual abuse, then she is faced with the decision of what to do about it. She may have recalled the abuse through therapy or hypnosis and may not be sure whether or not to trust the subconscious information. Confronting a parent or sibling years later can be extremely traumatizing for all members of the family. One doesn't know whether one will be faced with denial, remorse, accusations, or whether a divorce between parents or long-term separation between her and her parents may be the result. There is probably no more difficult decision for a mother than whether or not to stay with her husband who she has discovered is committing or has committed incest with her child. Often other siblings have been involved as well and may not remember or wish to be reminded of their own past traumas. They may be adults, have their own relationships and children, and simply not want to get involved. There is often the issue of their own small children who may not be safe around the past offender. Alcoholism, of course, may still be a major dynamic in the family, perhaps openly, perhaps covertly.

If you have experienced sexual abuse in any form, you may find the following recommenda- tions of help. l) Realize that your own situation is unique. Use your intuition every step of the way to check out what is right in your healing process. Follow your inner guidance and time frame. Assure yourself that healing is possible. 2) In most cases, it is helpful to work with an experienced psychotherapist. Find someone with whom you are really comfortable because uncovering issues of sexual abuse is intimate and makes you very vulnerable. I have found that healing issues of sexual abuse is not necessarily a long, drawn-out process. If you are really ready for transformation, your therapy may only take months rather than years. If you do not have recall of the abuse but your therapist suggests it, be sure that his or her hunch is accurate before assuming that you have actually been abused. You may find that family therapy is necessary as well. Your therapist can help you with such decisions as when and how to confront the offender, tell the rest of the family, etc. 3) I have found hypnosis to be extremely effective in healing sexual abuse. In the first place, there are specific hypnotic techniques which access past recall in ways that are not overwhelmingly frightening. When a traumatic even such as sexual violation occurs, especially in childhood, it is no wonder that the conscious mind often "forgets" the experience as a protective mechanism. Under hypnosis, it is possible, gently, to bring to light again those subconscious memories. It is also possible through the hynotic process, to relive the experience, to bring your current knowledge and intelligence back to the you who was in such need of it back then, and also to rewrite history, so to speak. Hypnosis also allows for the creation of a protective shield for the present, past, and future. It may also be helpful to do past life regression in order to understand why you may have chosen the abuse experience before you incarnated this time in order to learnand/or teach a particular lesson.

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About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
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