Extract from the book by Jacques Poujol. Pages « L’accompagnement psychologique et spirituel, guide de relation », Empreinte Temps Présent, 2007. Available on bookstore 7ici or by mail.


Useful for all helping professionals (social workers, doctors, etc.) but also for the victims themselves, this text helps to better understand sexual abuse, its consequences and how to help a victim cope.

Whether you know it or not, someone in your circle of family or friends has been a victim of sexual abuse at one time or another. And if you are a psychologist, you quickly realize that this is at the origin of a certain number of their difficulties. For these bruised men and these bruised women, there will always be a « before » and an « after » the abuse.

Our society often prefers to pretend unawareness of this problem, to diminish the severity, even totally deny its existence. Or perhaps, full of good intentions but also incompetence, « solutions » are proposed to victims which only serve to worsen the trauma suffered. In this article, we respond to several questions :

  • What do we mean by sexual abuse?
  • Why is it so hard for the victim to talk about what happened?
  • What damage does sexual abuse cause?
  • How to help the victim cope?
  • Who are the abusers?