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Reclaiming Personal Power: Empowerment Techniques for Sexual Abuse Survivors

It is possible to not only heal from sexual trauma but to regain control of your life and feel empowered again. The journey may be long and look different for everyone, but its rewards are real and worth the effort. There are a few simple techniques and strategies you can use to start reclaiming your personal power and living the life you deserve.

Talk About Your Trauma

Staying silent and keeping the trauma of sexual abuse inside can make it difficult to heal and move forward. While it is normal to have feelings of shame, guilt or embarrassment, know that you are not to blame for any act of sexual assault or abuse you endured. You do not need to suffer in silence.

Sharing your story in a safe space, with trusted friends, family members or a therapist, is an effective way to work through past trauma. It can enable you to make your story your own and tell it on your terms. Whether you tell your story publicly or simply write it down for yourself, the important thing is to start talking about it.

Find What Empowers You

Your personal power is just that – personal. What empowers you may look different from what empowers another sexual abuse survivor. Search for actions, activities and hobbies that make you feel strong, powerful and in control of your life. They can be big or small as long as they affirm your feelings of empowerment.

Examples include:

  • Getting a new haircut
  • Taking a martial arts class
  • Writing or journaling
  • Drawing or painting
  • Speaking in front of a crowd
  • Starting a blog
  • Hiking or biking
  • Volunteering or activism

Self-empowerment practices and rituals can help boost your self-esteem and prove your strength and resilience. Set goals for yourself and work toward achieving them, then celebrate each accomplishment. Whether you find empowerment in physical activity or creative expression, engage in things that bring you into your power.

Take a Self-Defense Class

For a lot of sexual abuse survivors, fear and anxiety surrounding the event can be crippling. You may feel helpless about your future safety and well-being. One tool you can use to enhance your sense of personal safety is self-defense training. This can help you recognize and celebrate your own strengths and capabilities.

Learning a few practical self-defense techniques can help you feel strong and powerful. It can allow you to assert your boundaries using your body and voice in situations that make you feel scared or uncomfortable. Being prepared for any scenario can help you feel more confident as you move forward with your life.

Create a Support System

You do not have to be on this healing journey alone. Build a support system around you of people who love you and care about your recovery. Choose friends or family members whom you can rely on for support when you feel sad, angry or hopeless and don’t be afraid to lean on them. Include sexual assault support groups or therapists in your support network to create a sense of safety and security that can boost your confidence and well-being.

Be Your Own Advocate

What happened to you does not define who you are. It is within your power to decide your identity and what you want in life. Taking small steps each day can lead to transformation and personal healing. Remember that you are in control of your own life. Be your own advocate and learn to respond to past trauma from a place of empowerment. Recovery can happen when you feel powerful, confident and comfortable in your body and mind again.