I’ve been helping women* recover from sexual abuse since 1992, and over the years I’ve noticed that women trying to decide whether to begin the process of recovery have some common questions…
- How long will this take?
- What do I need to do?
- What will happen?
- What if I can’t handle it?
- How will I know when I’m done?
For years I have tried to answer these questions as best I could, but questions like these are not easily answered. Each woman is different, and each woman’s experience of sexual abuse is unique. There is not a one-answer-fits-all response to these questions. Though I was able to piece together helpful responses and analogies to explain the process, I was unable to come up with anything that would be as comprehensive and as adaptive as I would have liked.
This led me to look for a simple, yet comprehensive way to explain the process of recovering from sexual abuse.
While on a walk one day, I began to think about a story from my childhood. A story about a girl who suffers trauma, gets lost in a confusing world, and has to find her way back home. It was then I realized that the well know movie The Wizard of Oz could serve as a type of road map to help women understand what happens when they undertakes the journey of recovering from sexual abuse.
My use of this movie to illustrate the journey of recovery is in no way meant to make light of the tragic experience of sexual abuse. The road to healing is not a fanciful children’s story. It is a tragic children’s story. Few things are as dastardly and as damaging as being victimized in this way, and it would be just as dastardly and damaging to trivialize it. The use of this children’s story is not meant to cheapen the offense of abuse, but rather to bring understanding to the process of recovery.
I hope you, or someone you know, will subscribe to this blog and join me as we seek to better understand what it means to choose the path of recovery and take the road out of Oz.
*Though many of the themes and issues discussed in this book are common to male victims of sexual abuse, my experience has been that of working with women, and so this blog is written from that perspective.