For the great majority of survivors of childhood sexual abuse, the path forward is an extremely personal one. If you feel it might be time to take a first step, small or big, toward getting help and understanding your options, there is a wide spectrum of resources available.
A number of organizations are dedicated to providing immediate help to survivors, from simply sharing stories in a safe environment, to formulating the right path forward. Here's a look at a few.
The above-listed organizations and others can provide a bridge to mental health services in your community, which can mean one-on-one counseling with a professional who has experience helping abuse survivors, or group therapy/support group options, where survivors can help one another heal on common ground, and through shared experiences.
Reporting abuse to law enforcement authorities may also be possible, since criminal charges might be brought against an abuser (and perhaps others) even decades after the abuse occurred. Learn more about pressing charges for a criminal act (from the Nolo network).
Finally, you might feel ready to pursue a civil lawsuit against the abuse perpetrator, an institution (like a church, school district, or youth organization) and anyone else who failed to prevent the abuse, took steps to cover it up, or who may otherwise be liable for causing or contributing to your harm.
If you're ready to learn more about your options for seeking justice over childhood sexual abuse, it might make sense to discuss the specifics of your situation with an attorney. Having an experienced and trusted ally on your side can make a world of difference as you decide on the best way forward. An initial consultation is usually free, and everything you and the attorney discuss is (and remains) confidential, regardless of whether you end up working together. You can connect with an attorney using the chat feature and other tools right on this page. You can also learn more about finding the right attorney for you, and how a lawyer can help.