Tree of Life Counselling

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Sexual Abuse

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Amy-Louise Underwood
Abuse Counselling Specialist
“You took away my innocence, but you can never take away my spirit to survive”
- Childhood sexual abuse survivor

Sexual abuse is a truly traumatic experience, which happens to women and men. It can change our perception of the world to one where we do not feel safe and we struggle to trust others.  With sexual abuse there are not always physical injuries visible on the outside, but that doesn’t make it any less real, horrific, traumatic or painful. Any physical injuries will heal so much faster than the emotional scars which last so much longer.


Commonly people think of sexual abuse as being raped by a stranger, however sexual abuse is any sexual act that we do not willingly consent to, either to our physical person or on-line. It is more common for sexual abuse to be committed by someone we know, love or trust. This can make it harder for us to process, believe it is wrong, not our fault or speak about. 


Childhood sexual abuse is something people can keep a secret for years. Some of the reasons people do not voice their secret are shame, self-blame, fear of not being believed (particularly if there is no physical evidence), humiliation, confusion, and fear. Instead, people live with the secret - often successfully - by putting on a mask that helps them to act strong, tough, fine, untouchable and hold everything together. Behind the mask, though, they are crumbling inside; alone and afraid. They are struggling to make it through the day, to keep the ‘I’m fine’ smile on their face, and to maintain relationships. Sexual abuse survivors commonly feel dirty or damaged and have low self esteem. 


Please don’t suffer in silence, you are not alone. You have survived, you are doing ok, you are ok. Theories and techniques can be useful, but I believe recovery and healing happens in the therapeutic relationship we build. I offer you a caring, compassionate and non-judgemental environment, a space to heal. A safe space to take off your mask, a place you don’t have to be “fine”, a place you can show your vulnerability and work through the impact of sexual abuse. I strongly believe recovery is possible and I am passionate about empowering you not just to recover and live mask free, but to use your inner spirit to find yourself and live life to the fullest.