A friend in need of help, what to do?
I am going to get right to the point. Last night my friend fell into a deep depression. He cried for sometime, a really long time. After i calmed him down he confessed something to me he had been hiding for years. He told me that throughout his whole life he had been sexually abused. He was abused not once but many times in different occasions by different people. It all started as a child and it went on to follow him as an adolescent. I am in need of advice I have to help my friend, but I’m not sure how to do that. btw this is my first post.
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I’m quite sure that anyone who really knows the subject of sexual abuse would agree that your friend needs professional help. People who don’t understand the reality of it might think it’s just a “negative” experience like any other…so you can just walk away from it and do healthy things and find good people…and over time it will just “disappear”. The hard fact is that the damage done to a person victimized by sexual abuse( and other forms of abuse) is as real as any physical injury and perhaps worse in the sense that others, including the people they look to for help, can deny the injury since unlike an obvious physical injury, it can be invisible to others. You need to go to medical professionals who specialize in diagnosis and treatment for victims of sexual abuse. You would be a good friend by understanding that you might need to take the role of an advocate for him …things like “shame” or feeling worthless are barriers that can stop a victim of abuse from seeking treatment…the idea in the mind of the victim might be “If I wait long enough it should just go away, and then I won’t have to tell anyone”….so they shun treatment. I don’t think it ever “goes away” by trying to ignore it or wait it out. It’s a serious injury which will very likely get worse and worse over time …attempts to conceal or cover up or numb the pain make the problem much more complicated and potentially life threatening. The sooner he starts treatment with qualified professionals the sooner he will have the chance to take his life back. Sometimes friendship can be a matter of life and death…your love and friendship could definitely save his life…but be aware of the limitations of love…healing though it undoubtedly is, it won’t be enough…he might present himself as “feeling so much better Thanks to you!”…so “I’m OK and don’t really need help”…and you believe it ….most likely he would be sincere but also “kidding himself” …and therefore kidding you…please trust me when I tell you, if the injury is real then it won’t end there…he will be headed down a dark path leading to long term misery which could end tragically. ..you need both love and a “hard head” to help someone with this…fight to win friend!
I think that first and foremost you need to make him understand that you can be trusted.
We can all agree that he needs professional help, but you can’t start forcing him down that road immediately, otherwise he’s going to feel pressure and probably bar you out again, and be more reluctant to open up to anyone again.
Show him you can be trusted. Tell noone for now. Make it clear that he can tell you shit with zero repercussions. If he can get comfortable getting his emotions out to a good friend, it might make the idea of getting some real professional help more realistic to him.
@maximo23, Tell him he can open up to you about it any time! I have disclosed similar things to a select few close people in my life and the responses have varied. I have had people literally say nothing and change the subject(I see now that it was just out of inability to think of what to say and a feeling of awkwardness but it still made me feel even more shameful). And I have had the person I am currently closest to tell me that I can talk about it whenever I need to (and sometimes I just need to) and has told me it doesn’t have to define me, etc. Those responses help a lot.
Maybe ask him if he’s interested in seeking legal retribution? It’s really weird when you repress stuff like that for a long time and then finally come out with it. It is truly a mind fuck and sometimes the best thing for it is a listening ear to vent to about it. I’m open to discussing this with you further if you want to message me any time. Maybe I can help you help him.
@Substratum, That is very black and white thinking, and I completely reject it. I mean no offense, but it’s impossible to make such a blanket statement that applies to every person who has experienced that kind of stuff. It is perfectly possible to find healing through means other than a licensed professional. I’m not saying therapy doesn’t help people and isn’t a great option, but it’s not the only way… What if therapy is not an option? Then he is doomed? I’m sorry but no.
It sounds like this guy has already taken a step in the right direction toward healing by opening up about it, and he has many options from here. Given the right settings, practices, and self examination, I think people can often times heal themselves.
@maximo23, I agree. He need personal help and badly. It’s great that he opened up to you – however some main things you can do to help him, find out how long ago it was, does he know these people, and can he prove it? If so – take him to the local PD and get that ball rolling – QUICK. The other thing is to get a hold of victims advocate, that is what they are there for and they will listen and guide your friend to a better existence and a more comfortable life.
I can’t say anything about the psychological part, but I can say something about the laws. Sexual abusement is next to murder one of the worst crimes, especially because so many people are not being sued for it. And your friend defenitly doesn’t want this to happen to more people, he needs to get the rocks, ni, the mountain rolling!
@Vovinawol, thank you! true that, time does heal wounds, but this one is deep and i wouldnt like this TIME to run out. Im a little sacred he might do something very stupid.
@Substratum, i agree, that was the first thing that came in to my mind, professional help. I have been through a lot with this kid, he is like my little brother. i have noticed how vulnerable he can be. People who notice his vulnerability take advantage of it, and Im guessing he has been like this ever since he was a little kid. i have been a major influence in his life an advocate of sort and its been a privilege. He has been through a lot with his parents, as well, i mean its obvious he has more trust in me than he does in his parents. I do feel like therapy with a professional will help but i have to also agree with @tangledupinplaid21, therapy is an option for him, he told me so. But he doesnt want to jump right in. I have always tried to expose him to new ideas you know like Niestzche’s the overman, toltec wisdom, even the bible just pretty much similar ideas we talk about in HE. i feel like this has helped him very much but it hasn’t eliminated the major problem. He told me that sometimes he forgets like completely but then there are days where he has dreams where he finds himself enjoying getting molested, these dreams are what triggers his depression. How he explains, it’s just very haunting.
@Nepthys, the last time it happend was when he was 13 and i know the fucker who did it to him. the first time it happened was when he was like 7 with his cousin and i know that fucker too. my friend is now in his early 20s, in all honesty you think we might be able to put these ass holes in jail, or would it be best if we confronted them together? just asking for your opinion.
@maximo23, I want you to know that I understand you when you speak about your relationship and the trust he has in you…I don’t even have to “think” your words because they already exist within in me…and the essence of what I have already said to you is not a matter of belief and opinion, it is from my own experience of being victimized. I don’t know who he is personally, but I know directly the horrible sensations and agony that he feels…because I experienced the blurry confusion and detachment…the unexpected flow of tears with the sudden “out of nowhere” realization that the “injury” is not like any other, it is the experince of being murdered,except that you are left conscious and breathing …yet dead within yourself. It may be simply conceptualizing a psychological condition, but I recall vividly a moment when I understood that my “Spirit” was either dead within me or very, very sick and weak, dying…truly dying…my breathing and heartbeat were no consolation or contradiction of the reality of my self-death. I didn’t even know I had a spirit that was my responsibility to defend and protect…I still don’t know “what” it is, but I know “that” it is, and I know who it is… The most important thing I want to communicate to you …if not immediate medical treatment, then at LEAST immediate medical/professional EVALUATION….are you aware of the full story related to the death of Bill Gates, who was convinced by well-meaning friends to refuse medical treatment of pancreatic cancer, which was detected in early stage and is nearly 100% curable for his type and stage of cancer…but he chose the “natural dietary approach”…fruits, vegetables and othet holistic therapies…which are of course genuinely healthy, positive, life enhancing etc….but Bill Gates is DEAD, and it is especially tragic that he made a very poor decision in rejecting state of the art medical cancer treatment. The same principle applied to victims of abuse and emotional trauma….again, love AND a “hard head”…please, my friend.
@maximo23, People need to know that this happened and by who – so that you can save anyone else that this could happen to. Because it was so long ago, it may put this pieces of shit in jail but it gets the word out, if he has no proof of it, again there isn’t much that can be done but going to the local PD telling them what happened, that can open an investigation into the situation. Personally I’d go beat down their doors and beat the ever loving shit out of them – I’ve been in this situation too many times. I’d start at the top and work my way down, see what the local PD says – they may even be able to set him up with a therapist if nothing else.
@maximo23, Books are a hard thing because it all comes down to what your friend believes – is he religious? Then maybe the Bible can give him answers – for me, writing and drawing were my ways of letting it go. No one knew my story, no one knew what was happening, so the fact that he told you is a step in the right directions.
OH and try to keep him away from the people that did this to him.
@maximo23, There are many many channels of support for victims of sexual abuse. Drop into a hospital or local health clinic for some information on counseling and/or support groups for victims of sexual assault. A lot of the time, the counseling is completely free, and the support groups are always free.
At first, your friend may act like he does’t want to go; that he would rather keep this a secret. He may even be resentful towards you for presenting these paths to help. Understand this though: Dealing with the pain from sexual abuse is not like grieving. You don’t get over it with time. You would be doing your friend more harm than good by choosing to ignore it. You need to help him get the proper support. Offer to go to meetings with him if he wants.
The impact from sexual abuse can affect a person across their whole life, sometimes leading to severe personality or mental disorders. It doesn’t just “heal on its own with time.” Your friend needs help. Help him get it!
You should best look up how long the period of prescription is in your state/country. If you have time I would give yozr friend the time to get professional help. If you dont have to much time I would hurry up. But DON’T confront those people! They will know what can happen to them when you sue them and they are ruthless. They have allready ruined a life and would ruin another one to protect themselfes. They may hurt you, they may kill you! Let the cops do that job, they are good at it. After so long time it may be hard to get evidence, but it is possible! I am afraid I don’t know any books about it except for your law book…