"Survivor Clinic" for Sexual Abuse Teens
Teen survivors are a diverse group, from a 13-year-old boy who was abused as a preschooler to a pregnant 18-yearold who is living with her sexually abusive partner. Survivors may be from any ethnic or cultural group and have diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The adolescent years are a challenging time of rapid physical, emotional, and intellectual growth for all young people. Teens who have experienced sexual abuse or assault face additional challenges that can divert them from mastering the important developmental tasks of this stage. The shame and distress that many teen survivors experience can lead to disrupted relationships (with friends, parents, and partners), distortions of body image, mood disorders, substance abuse, and other concerns that carry their own severe consequences. In the healing atmosphere of a support group, teen survivors can learn that the abuse was not their fault, that they can be whole and happy, and that they can have hope for the future. Teens’ natural inclination to bond with their peers can help them to form supportive relationships with other group members.