Program HEAL: The research-based healing and recovery program for survivors of sexual abuse
HEAL was designed to help survivors of sexual abuse to achieve lasting and successful healing and recovery. The program is based on adult learning and participatory models with an emphasis on programming led by peers who have gone through similar experiences during and after sexual abuse. The curriculum provides tangible resources and interactive tools encouraging victims to connect with a community of other survivors. Our studies show that victims who participate in our program actively show a greater reduction in post- traumatic symptoms. Participants who connected with other survivors felt they were not alone, were able to trust people again and experienced reduced shame by learning and using tools to express their feelings. Given that sexual abuse is found in all cultures, faiths and socioeconomic backgrounds, the methodology applied is culturally sensitive and spans to all social settings. All topics covered are based on peer-reviewed research in scientific and medical journals; acclaimed books authored by clinical social workers and psychologists; and groundbreaking experiments and studies from leading authorities working with victims of sexual abuse. Each step has research cited as reference and provides access to additional materials for further review.
1. THERE IS LIFE AFTER ABUSE
HOPE FOR A BETTER FUTURE CAN TRANSCEND YOUR LIFE AND HELP YOU UNDERSTAND ABUSE CANNOT ROB YOU OF YOUR POTENTIAL OR PURPOSE BECAUSE HEALING IS A CHOICE.
UNDERSTAND WHAT ABUSE IS, WHAT THE NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF ABUSE ARE TO STOP SELF-DESTRUCTIVE, SELF-SABOTAGING BEHAVIORS.
UNDERSTAND THE FAMILY CULTURE OF ABUSE, THE ROLES EACH MEMBER PLAYS AND WHY THIS IS VITAL TO BREAKING THE CYCLE OF MULTIGENERATIONAL ABUSE.
UNDERSTAND THE BEST GUIDE FOR HEALING IS ONE'S OWN INNER VOICE AND DENIAL IS A DESTRUCTIVE POWER THAT BINDS YOU TO THE PAST.
5. BREAKING THE SILENCE
THE ABUSE WAS NOT YOUR FAULT. THE SECRECY AND FEAR ASSOCIATED WITH THE ABUSE CREATES A SENSE OF SHAME, GUILT AND SELF-BLAME. BREAKING THE SILENCE IS A POWERFUL, HEALING FORCE THAT CAN DISPEL THE SHAME WITH BEING A VICTIM.
6. TRUST & BOUNDARIES
YOU CAN LEARN TO SET HEALTHY BOUNDARIES.
7. AGENCY & ANGER
ABUSE IS A CHOICE. ADMITTING YOUR FEELINGS OF ANGER AND/OR GRIEF IS AN IMPORTANT STEP TO REGAINING CONTROL OF YOUR OWN LIFE.
IF YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCES WITH SEX WAS ABUSIVE IT AFFECTED HOW YOU SHAPED YOUR FEELINGS ABOUT SEX, SEXUALITY AND INTIMACY. YOU CAN OVERCOME AND REGAIN CONTROL OF YOUR BODY AND FEELINGS.
SEXUAL ABUSE IS A CRITICAL THREAT TO THE FAMILY. UNDERSTAND THAT HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS ARE OBTAINABLE.
10. FAITH & A HIGHER POWER
BELIEVE THAT THE POWER OF GOD CAN TRANSFORM YOUR LIFE AND THAT BETTER POSSIBILITIES ARE WITHIN YOUR GRASP.
YOUR WORTH IS NOT PREDICATED ON ANY EXPERIENCE. OVERCOME FEELING BROKEN, USED AND DAMAGED. YOU ARE WORTHY OF LOVE AND MEANINGFUL RELATIONSHIPS.
FORGIVENESS IS NOT FOR THE ABUSER BUT TO FREE YOU OF YOUR PAST. FORGIVENESS IS THE HEALING BALM TO HELP YOU REDEFINE YOUR LIFE'S DEFINITION.