This is a fabulous article for friends and supporters of abuse survivors to read. Below is a short excerpt, the entire post can be read at:-
We are all unique individuals. No two people's stories, reactions, pain, or recovery will be exactly the same. However, there are many things we do share in the recovery process. Get to know the survivor in your life and allow them to guide you as they walk through this painful, yet very rewarding and life-changing walk of recovery. Following are some of the things I needed from my loved ones. You may think of other areas of needs as you read through this list. Please forward them to me and I will add them.
Survivors need to be loved and accepted. Survivors often see themselves as unlovable. They believe if anyone really knew them, they would reject them. Finding out out that someone could love me even when they knew my deep hidden secrets helped me begin to love and accept myself, and helped me to finally believe that God really loved me unconditionally. For so long I would distance from anyone who got too close to avoid the pain of rejection. Now, I can let people in thanks to the people in my life that loved and accepted me regardless what I was going through or what I revealed to them.
Survivors need nurturing. For many survivors the nurturing, protecting elements were missing in their childhood. Instead they were thrust into a confusing adult world where they were used for the sexual gratification of others. This can cause confusion between nurturance and sex for survivors, especially when those others may have been the very people who should have met the nurturing needs of the child. For me, this caused fear and confusion... fear that any attempts to nurture me meant sex was wanted, and confusion about my own needs... believing that my desire for nurturance meant I wanted sex, causing much shame.
Survivors need to be believed. It is crucial that the person’s story of their abuse is believed, particularly when they have tried to tell someone in the past and were not believed. Their pain can be compounded when, as sometimes happens, they are accused of lying and called wicked for making up such terrible stories. Telling is a very courageous step and survivors need affirming and validating.