Suggestions for Adult Survivors of

  Incest and Sexual Abuse

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Survivors' Messages of Hope

Every step of your healing journey is worth it. Moving further and further away from distrust and victim stifling triggers to experience joy, a sense of self embodiment love and laughter, connecting to people who value you for who you are.I wish for you hope and breakthroughs, creativity and sharing yours in healing and recovery to thriving in life.


The journey has been long and at times difficult.  I was sexually abused by three brothers for a period of five years.  It started when I was six and they were in their teens.  It has affected my life in many ways.  However, I am amazed at my inner strength, compassion and the so many wonderful things I have done in my life.  The word for us is "survivor," and I think those of us that experience something so traumatic and go on with life in some form are victorious.  My experience did not take away from spirit.

RH, Mesa AZ

The many years fade as I find my way through healing.  As a survivor I have been dedicated to finding the light that shines from within and learning how to find a place in this world.  Each layer of my past has given me a different challenge and new perspective. The journey has not been traveled without a fight.  What I know is I would never be who I am today without facing the many memories, triggers and fears.  I have learned how to set boundaries to assure my emotional well being.  I have learned the art of expression so that I never have to keep bad secrets again.  I have embraced knowing myself and caring for myself with love and healing.  I am learning how to be loved and fill my heart with joy.  I know that Abuse is the gift that keeps on giving....what I have learned is I don't have to take it in the same way I was trained to in my past.  For those of you beginning this journey I SWEAR to you that is gets better with each awareness, each struggle, each memory and each break through.  Do not miss the opportunity to live life to the fullest you have been born for in this lifetime.  KNOW that life is meant to be lived not feared!

J in Phoenix, AZ


Ten years ago, I wrote in my journal that hope and dreams were the prayers I whispered in the dark as a little boy. I weighed thirty pounds the first time he did it. He weighed two hundred and sixty. Perspective and perception is everything. I wandered through thirty-five years of my life trying to convince myself that that was then and this is now…and when I had had enough, I still had to contend with the, “Get over it,” or, “Get on with your life,” comments. This, “is” my life. I am a husband, a father, a grandfather. I am a son, a brother, a friend. I am also a survivor of incest. As a male I found I was unique, not in the experiences but in as much as I sought help. Asked for help. In my area there were no therapists with experience treating male incest survivors. With all due respect, using the female survivor model of therapy for a guy is like sending him to a Lamaze class to reduce stress. There are unique issues and challenges. But it is worth the effort, worth the risk…because there was that one day…I got it, I understood. It was not just an abstract concept any longer but something I knew and felt. That love is about celebrating the diversity, not criticizing the differences. It is and was okay to love…but there may always be those people that will pervert it, or try to distort it. That does not mean that it was ever wrong to love. I know that now. Today, there is genuine hope and legitimate dreams, self-care is not the same as being selfish. And…maybe most importantly, at fifty-four, for the first time in my life, I know in my heart, what it feels like to be safe.

                                                                     DW in Western MA


For those of you in the beginning of Survivors recovery, stick with it! Some day it will get a lot better. Today I really don't think of being a survivor very often. It is no longer my identity. Occasionally I get triggered but recognize that it is only that and remove myself from the situation.  If I cannot remove myself I find I can move thru the emotions quickly and they are not as over whelming as they once were.  Maybe once a year I find myself with an over whelming trigger but I know what is wrong and know it will pass in a couple of days. I know how to take care of myself and my little girl.  Having a couple of great friends I can talk with when this happens helps tremendously.  Remember, as I was told often, slow  is better.     

                                                                             M in Peoria, AZ.  


I am a very successful business woman, wife and mother of three, but for more than 30 years I lived a life filled with terror and fear. I am a survivor. In the past year, through weekly individual and group therapy, I have learned to close my eyes in the shower, sleep in my bed alone, sleep with the closet doors open, drive at night and take a bath, without terror or fear. I am now able to process memories without becoming the child all over again. I no longer count my steps (a coping tool I used for most of my life to keep my mind from being idle), or jump out of my skin at the slightest noise. I accept that it was not my fault, nor could I have prevented the abuse from happening to me. Today, I am able to be present and more real in every aspect of my life, and happiness is more than the smile that hides the tears.  

                        BD in Mesa, Arizona


My sexual abuse issues rarely get triggered at all anymore...but when it does happen, I can see it for what it is and avoid getting stuck there.  I no longer feel like a victim.  On the contrary, I feel like a courageous and strong survivor.  My decisions and actions today are based more on the reality of my present day circumstances and not merely reactions to my past.  I remember my abuse, and my subsequent reactions, without feelings of shame as I know that I was not to blame and that I did the best that I could do given the circumstances.  My memories no longer traumatize me nor do I minimize them.  They are simply internal images of my history that help to make sense out of the path I've traveled.  And my recovery gives me the power to create my present and future journey.


SS in Phoenix, Arizona


If you are a survivor and would like to add your own message of hope to this page we welcome your contribution.  Please refrain from venting or giving advice but rather just share your own gifts of recovery.  We invite you to add your initials and your location so that other survivors can see that recovery is happening worldwide.  However, you are welcome to simply sign your message "Anonymous" with or without your location.  Your name and email address will not be posted or disclosed to anyone. 


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For those of you who have always longed for an apology or even an acknowledgement,

 you may be interested in reading a letter of amends from one anonymous perpetrator.







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