Helping Your Survivor Partner in Their Healing Journey  

By: Kristy Webber, Practicum Student, The Gatehouse  

Often, survivors of childhood sexual abuse struggle with issues of trust, intimacy, and triggers along with feelings of guilt and shame. If you’re in a relationship with a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, it may be challenging to know how to support them on their healing journey.  

Firstly, educating yourself about the impacts of childhood sexual abuse can go a long way in helping to support and understand your partner. Joining a support group with other survivors may help you navigate issues you may experience and learn ways to cope and better support your partner.  

Patience and empathy can go a long way. You may feel that your partner would benefit from counselling, support groups, or other resources. However, it is essential that your partner make their own decisions on what they will do to deal with the impacts of the abuse. Your role as a supportive partner is to be just that, supportive. This means supporting whatever avenue your partner feels will benefit their healing journey. Allowing your partner to make their own decisions about their healing journey is empowering. This renewed sense of empowerment and control may encourage your partner to keep going through the difficult patches they may experience along their healing journey.  

Finally, take care of yourself. Being in a supportive role may become challenging at times. Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional health is of utmost importance. Focus on yourself and do activities that nurture these critical areas of your life. Practicing good self-care can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and help you better support your partner.  

When in doubt, reach out to someone you trust! The Gatehouse offers monthly partners-only meetings for support persons/partners of survivors. Check out our website for more information about this helpful resource here.


Government of Canada. (2012, July 26). When your partner was sexually abused as a child: A guide for partners. Retrieved from