What to do if you have been a victim of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) 1) The first step to take is to face the reality of past abuse. This is a process, it usually occurs over a lengthy time during which the survivor doubts that he/she was abused, or is too ashamed to acknowledge that such a thing happened to them. It is not unusual for a person to have memories of CSA without feeling any emotion. You might have memories of CSA but have no emotion towards it, sometimes memories are not clear and might just be one or two pictures in your mind. Sometimes, it might seem foolish to open up those memories or those aspects of our lives because you have absolutely no idea what to do with that memory and it is just too painful to remember. Many sexual abuse victims/survivors often deny the experience or call it something else or try to minimize the damage by denying that it affects them in any way. The inner wounds caused by the abuse are ever fresh, causing the soul to cry out from the insider but most survivors tend to deny those cries or mislabel their experience in order to be ‘normal’. Acknowledging and dealing with past or even present abuse can be very difficult. But I encourage you to not give up because the benefits outweigh the costs. Also, you must know that what was done to you IS NOT YOUR FAULT, you were helpless and someone took advantage of you. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. 2) Recovery is a process and it is not one that should be embarked alone. It is important to have a trusted person who will walk the walk with you. I do not advice that you open your heart to any person at random because they might not know how to handle your situation and might cause more harm than good. It is important to pray that God direct you to someone who can help you trough this journey. I will be organizing a conference in December of this year to support adult survivors of CSA. The date is yet to be confirmed but I will announce it once I am certain. This conference will be a safe place where you can open up and express yourself without fear of judgment. I also recommend the book ‘the wounded heart: Hope for Adult victim of childhood sexual abuse’ by Dan Allender, it also has a workbook. This is an excellent book and workbook that will enable you understand what you’ve been through and point you to the healing power of God. If you find it difficult to find this book, I can help you get it. If you will like me to walk with you as you deal with the effects of CSA, you can reach me on: bellasfoundation@gmail.com. References Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse, http://rainn.org/get-info/effects-of-sexual-assault/adult-survivors-of-childhood-sexual-abuse. Sanderson, C. (2006) Counseling Adult Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Allender, D. B. (2008) The wounded Heart: Hope For Adult Victims of Child Sexual Abuse USA: NavPress. Ikechebelu, J., Udigwe, G., Ezechukwu, C., Ndinechi, A. and Joe–Ikechebelu, N. (2009). Sexual Abuse among Juvenile Female Street Hawkers in Anambra State, Nigeria. African journal of reproductive health, 12(2), pp.111–119. http://www.focusonthefamily.com http://www.familylifetoday.com Biebele Alex-Hart is a researcher and seminar tutor at the University of East London. She is the founder of Bella Foundation, an organisation promoting awareness, understanding, and prevention of sexual abuse in Nigeria through awareness campaigns and providing counselling and support services to victims and survivors of sexual abuse.