The first step towards self-forgiveness after being sexually abused is to confide in a trusted person; a trusted friend or even a clergyman would do. You do not close the wound immediately and end the sexual abuse once and for all, and so those you’ve hurt must know that they are treasured, appreciated, cherished and accepted today just as they were always intended to be; they deserve to be respected for who they are and what they have dreamed of. This is an important step because it helps you get past your denial and allows you the time and space necessary to heal from the harm you’ve inflicted on other people. It may seem like a time-consuming process at first; it is not, in fact, because you can write your own vows and place them with the blessing of your doctor or spiritual adviser. You don t even have to attend counseling sessions if you are able to write your own vows and choose your own counselor.
Self-forgiveness also involves recognizing the physical effects of the sexual abuse. Healing from sexual abuse requires ones to face the reality of the physical wounds that were inflicted upon us. These wounds can range from torn clothes to scarred emotions. Healing from sexual abuse also means that you will have to deal with any STDs you contracted as a result of the abuse.
The trauma you suffered is indelible and will affect you physically, emotionally and spiritually in many different ways. The emotional scars are oftentimes more difficult to heal than the physical ones. However, this is not to say that you should shirk away from seeking medical help or from speaking with your doctor about the physical consequences of your injuries. It is entirely possible to overcome these traumas.
When it comes to self-forgiveness, it really helps to ask yourself some hard questions about why the sexual abuse had happened. Was it your fault? Did you know the person who sexually abused you? Did you participate willingly in the activity that resulted in the abuse? Are you ashamed or angry at yourself?
It is not your responsibility to “ask for forgiveness.” This is not an acceptable excuse, nor is it necessary to offer excuses, defense or explanations. The only acceptable excuse is to fully accept the responsibility for the situation and to accept whatever consequences (if any) are involved as a result of this situation. Acceptance is the first step to healing. Without acceptance, there is no healing.
It is natural to resist this type of inquiry – and rightly so. But resistances only stifle healing. If you are looking for excuses, defenses or reasons, then this is not the place to find them. Your focus should be on healing. The more open you are about accepting responsibility for the hurt you have experienced, the closer you will come to self-forgiveness.
When you accept the truth about who was responsible for the hurt you had, you can begin the process of healing. Self-forgiveness is the first step of this process. When you accept responsibility for the situation – both the role you played and the impact it had upon the victim – you can move on and heal. Self-forgiveness is the first step toward healing. It does not happen overnight, but it happens over time.
In my years as a counselor and therapist, I have seen many people heal when they first learn about the impact their sexual abuse has had on themselves and on others. The process of self-forgiveness is the first step in this healing process. You can choose to move forward without feeling guilty, and you can learn how to heal yourself and others through self-forgiveness.