If a family member has experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault at some point, they are not alone. In Australia, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men have experienced sexual violence. Many of these people don’t seek help and suffer with the trauma of it for much longer than they should. Among these individuals are their family members. As a family member of someone who has experienced sexual violence, you are likely to be overwhelmed with feelings of guilt or anger. If this is the case for you, it is important to seek professional assistance and begin to work through these emotions in order to move forward and be able to provide support to the affected family member.
Without professional assistance, you may start to experience an inability to support the affected individual, or others in your family. You may constantly think about the event and it is likely to impact on your emotions. You may also notice that it is affecting other areas of your life such as your relationships or concentration at work.
Seeking help from someone who is highly trained in working through these difficulties is the first step in taking control of your life and supporting your family member through the traumatic event they have been through. In the long term, without help, your loved one may experience a number of other mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. However, in urging them to seek help, and in addressing your own emotional difficulties, you are providing them with the best possible chance to recover from the effects of the trauma.
The psychologists at VCPS are highly trained in treating trauma associated with sexual abuse, and can work together with both you and your loved one to build life back up again.
Some of the assistance that you would receive from a practitioner at VCPS would include: