She says that every day is a struggle. He came to her bedroom all too often. The terrifying memories come and go in flashbacks, with brief, vivid pictures of a blanket and dark wavy hair. The scent of cologne infuses her nose to this very day. When she did defy him and tried to tell someone, he threatened her, the family pet, and her little sister.
She slipped up one day and told a friend, and social services came to investigate. He denied it, and the investigation was dropped. He continued to come to her bedroom all too often. Now that she’s an adult, she still feels as if she’s not “right.”
“Her” story is, unfortunately, all too common for adult survivors of child sexual abuse. Many struggle with very real issues into adulthood, including depression, low self-esteem, drug and/or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, relationship issues, and self- destructive behaviors. The survivor may be doing just that; surviving.
To help survivors like this, the YWCA of the Sauk Valley is starting a new group for adult women survivors of sexual abuse/sexual assault. Group meetings will be in our Dixon office on the first and third Wednesdays of each month from 5:30 to 7 p.m., beginning on Nov. 6 and Nov. 20.
We are specially trained to work with sexual assault survivors, and our services are free and confidential. The group will help survivors feel less isolated, offer support, and allow sharing and validation of feelings. We will also be glad to create a list for a possible future men’s support group, if interest is shown.
If you or someone you know could benefit from this group or services, please share our information with them. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 815-625-0333 and ask for Bonnie.
Note to readers: Bonnie Braida is a counselor at the YWCA of the Sauk Valley.