Sexual abuse is something no person should ever have to go through. But it is more common than many people realize.

The #MeToo Movement has shone a light on the pervasiveness of the issue, as thousands of sexual abuse survivors have spoken out about the abuse they have suffered. Many Hollywood stars have shared their #MeToo stories publicly. The hashtag #MeToo has been used 19 million times on Twitter since actress Alyssa Milano tweetedIf you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.

While the #MeToo Movement has certainly empowered many sexual abuse survivors to speak out, it’s still not an easy thing to do.

Speaking out may be especially hard to do when the aggressor is someone in a position of authority: a teacher or coach, a priest or a doctor, for example.

Whether the abuse occurred in a school, on a college campus, in a church or elsewhere, there are certain things that sexual abuse survivors need to know:

  • The truth: Sexual abuse is never okay – and it is never the victim’s fault. No circumstances exist to justify sexual abuse.
  • Real healing is possible: Sexual abuse affects each victim differently. Although for some, it may seem difficult or impossible to move on past the abuse, it is important to know that real healing is possible.
  • Support is available: Those who have been victimized may find help through counseling, support groups and the support of friends and family. Additionally, many survivors choose to seek help from an attorney who can hold the abuser or institution accountable for the abuse that has occurred.

Sexual abuse can make you feel powerless. For many, seeking justice is an important step toward taking back control and moving forward.