Abuse can cause deep emotional pain, distorted thinking, and unhealthy behaviors. As they seek healing, victims will need the power of Jesus Christ and they also may need professional help. Your Christlike support can help them heal.
As you encourage victims to turn toward the Savior as well as seek professional help, here are five ways you can support them:
- Be informed. Learn what abuse is and how it affects victims.
- Understand how someone who has experienced abuse might feel. Often, victims of abuse are left with unhealthy thoughts as well as feelings of unworthiness and shame.
- Consider your words. The pain and suffering victims experience is often intensified by others’ comments rooted in a misunderstanding of abuse and its effects. Blaming the victim or making statements like “get over it” or “just forgive and forget” can lead the victim to increased secrecy and shame rather than healing and peace.
- Listen and love. When victims trust you enough to share their experiences with you, listen to them with love and empathy. Resist the urge to lecture or judge.
- Acknowledge and validate feelings. Like with a physical injury, if abuse is ignored, victims often do not heal properly. As you acknowledge and validate the victim’s feelings—such as being sad, hurt, or scared—you will help them on the path to healing.
Community and Church Resources
(Some of the resources listed below are not created, maintained, or controlled by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While these materials are intended to serve as additional resources, the Church does not endorse any content that is not in keeping with its doctrines and teachings.)
- “Hope and Healing: Supporting Victims of Sexual Abuse,” Nanon Talley, Liahona, Apr. 2017
- “A Bridge to Hope and Healing,” Nanon Talley, Liahona, Apr. 2017
- “Abuse: Help for the Victim” (available to ward and stake council members), counselingresources.ChurchofJesusChrist.org
- “Supporting Survivors,” NoMore.org