What is the Second Wound?
Many survivors feel re-victimized by our own families when we speak up about sexual abuse or assault. In a surprisingly high number of cases, family members fail to believe survivors, minimize our trauma and blame us for causing trouble within the family. They try to ostracize, scapegoate, shame and silence us. They may leave us out of family events–even as they include our perpetrators. These hurtful responses are far more widespread and detrimental than most people recognize. Often, they have no endpoint.
Survivors end up feeling blindsided, confused and alone, all while we work to heal from our original trauma. These experiences create a “second wound” which can mirror the trauma of the abuse itself. The Second Wound is a site where we can feel understood, supported and empowered by the people who truly get it, our fellow survivors. We are not troublemakers. We are truth tellers.
If you are a survivor, you may need guidance and resources as you navigate the potential minefields of family reactions. You need to know you can overcome this second wound and lead a healthy, fulfilling life. As a fellow survivor with a Masters in Social Work, I understand what you’re going through and I’m here to help. (Read my story in the About page.)