The type of support and guidance you can get from a therapist trained to treat victims of child sexual abuse is helpful, but the special understanding available from a fellow victim is invaluable.
This page provides information about some of the many resources available to help survivors of child sexual abuse.
Victims tell us that there is nothing quite as reassuring as getting support from another victim: someone who knows first-hand what it means to have endured a childhood assault, and to have lived for years with bad memories, secrecy, and even guilt and embarrassment.
Finding a TherapistThe website of the Texas Attorney General features a page listing more than 70 sexual assault programs and organizations throughout Texas. Contact these respected organizations for a confidential referral to a therapist in your area.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
SNAP is the nation's largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others). It is an independent and confidential self-help organization with no official connections with the church. Its members are survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters. SNAP's three-part mission is self-help, education and prevention. You can learn much more about SNAP through their national website.
There are Texas SNAP chapters in Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Each city has local leaders you can contact by phone or e-mail for advice and support. All contact with SNAP leaders is kept confidential. Several of the Texas chapters also have local support group meetings where you can interact and share expectations with other survivors of clergy sexual abuse.
What should you do if you were sexually assaulted?
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse, remember that it was not your fault that you were assaulted, and that you are not alone.
You have the right to take any or all of these actions:Talk with someone you trust and/or get help by calling one of these sexual assault resources. You can ask to speak with a male or female counselor. Even if they don't have male staff on call, almost all rape crisis centers can make referrals to male counselors who are sensitive to the needs of male sexual assault survivors.
Call a Texas Rape Crisis Center.
The Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA) provides a list of sexual assault crisis centers throughout the state. Most have trained workers available 24 hours a day to answer phone calls. Even if the assault was not in the recent past, you can still call a crisis center for support. If you are outside Texas? Call the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 1-800-656-HOPE. Call this national hotline to be automatically connected to a rape crisis center near to where you live. This confidential service is available 24 hours a day.
Seek medical attention.
Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination. Medical providers will, with your permission, collect physical evidence to be used if you decide to prosecute. They will also discuss the possibility of sexually transmitted infections and encourage you to get tested. WARNING: Some priest perpetrators are known to have had HIV or AIDS during the periods of their abuse.
Report it to the authorities.
Reporting the crime can help you regain a sense of personal power and control and can also help to ensure the safety of other potential victims. WARNING: If you report your abuse/abuser to his church/organization, neither may ever be reported by it to civil authorities.