Sexual abuse: It is not your fault!

Often, people who have experienced sexual abuse feel as though they are to blame. They carry around with them the shame and guilt of the abuse, even though they had no choice in what happened to them. The truth is... It is not your fault! And while you may struggle to believe that statement, it is true.


You are not and cannot be responsible for the actions of others, and understanding this can be the first step in your recovery and healing. It is normal to feel this way when you have experienced sexual trauma and people often carry around many feelings surrounding their abuse.

Some of the common feelings are:

  • guilt
  • shame
  • embarrassment
  • low self-esteem 
  • hopelessness
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • feeling alone
  • fear of intimacy
  • insecurity
  • fear of rejection or abandonment

These are just some of the common thoughts and feelings you may have, and carrying around those feelings and emotions is both mentally and physically draining. This can then lead to other issues such as alcohol or drug misuse, self-harm, suicidal thoughts or intentions and problems with relationships.

You may feel like you are stuck feeling this way forever and that you don't know how you can move forward. Counselling could help you to work through and explore these feelings in a safe and non-judgmental space, and provide that support for you to move forward with your life.

The benefit of counselling

There are many benefits to counselling and just having someone to listen to you without judgment and without interruption is very powerful. Counselling can help you to explore areas of your life that you are struggling with and to help you work towards making positive changes. With that comes greater self-awareness and understanding of yourself and this can help to improve your relationships with others.

The destruction that sexual abuse leaves behind can be very damaging and, for some, it is hard to trust people as a result. So, finding the right counsellor for you is very important and vital to your therapeutic journey. You will usually have a meeting with a potential counsellor before you start your sessions, and that will give you the opportunity to see if you connect with them.

Sometimes, the thought of counselling can seem daunting and scary, but it is normal to have those feelings. Your counsellor can explore these feelings with you in a safe space and at your own pace and can answer any questions you may have surrounding counselling.

If you are reading this and feeling like it resonates with you, then maybe this is your sign to explore counselling and start your healing journey. And it may be that you are not ready to take that step yet and that is OK too. There are lots of counsellors out there who are ready to help whenever you need it.

I hope this article has been useful in some way and has given some insight into sexual abuse and the effects it can have. The main thing I wanted you to take away from this article and remember is... It is not your fault! Thank you for reading and take care.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Southport, Merseyside, PR8
Written by Laura Williams, Person centred counsellor NCPS Accredited Registrant MNCPS
Southport, Merseyside, PR8

Laura Williams is a qualified person centred therapist who is passionate about helping others on their therapeutic journey and making positive changes.

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