As a clinical social worker for 14 years, I have regularly witnessed the heaviness and darkness that girls and women who have been sexually molested, abused, and/or assaulted live with every day. While everyone’s experience and response to trauma is different, depression, substance use, self-harm, and fear are common.
What I have observed is that at the core, a survivor may feel like their heart has been ripped out of their chest, leaving a gaping hole — feeling empty inside. I also see people believe the lie that they are their abuse and internalize the negative things the perpetrator(s) said about them. They come to believe that they deserved to be treated with abuse, disrespect, and contempt. Or even believe that the abuse is love.