Lighthouse Network Experts Claim Victims Need Help Now; From PTSD to Addictions, Sexual Abuse has Long-Term Effects and Needs Powerful Psychological Interventions
Sandusky defense team to present personality disorder as potential defense in nationally recognized sexual abuse trial.
Victims of alleged sexual abuser Jerry Sandusky testify for prosecution; several exhibit great stress while testifying.
Experts from Lighthouse Network discuss psychological effects of sexual abuse and how victims can find hope and healing through therapy that includes spiritual components.
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Judge John Cleland notified attorneys in the Jerry Sandusky sexual abuse trial that they could mount a personality disorder defense, allowing for the possibility that Sandusky may have a mental disorder that caused the alleged abuse to occur. While psychiatrists will examine and possibly validate claims of “histrionic personality disorder,” no one seems concerned about the mental health of Sandusky’s alleged victims.
“Sexual abuse is one of the leading causes of PTSD and other destructive or addictive behaviors, such as alcohol or drug abuse, cutting, or sexual or pornography addictions,” said Karl Benzio, M.D., Founder and Executive Director of the Lighthouse Network, one of the country’s premiere addictions and mental health referral services. “Victims of sexual abuse often use other destructive behaviors or substances to cope with the psychological trauma that the abuse inflicted. Without psychological, emotional, and especially spiritual treatment and therapy, victims of sexual abuse earlier in life can inadvertently cause themselves far greater harm in attempt to try to dull the deep pain caused by their abuser. In addition to traditional psychological help, Lighthouse Network develops specialized holistic programs and helps victims access the hope, grace, and healing power to overcome the devastating effects of sexual abuse.”
While eight of Sandusky’s alleged victims took the stand to testify in the past week, many showed signs of great duress over having to face Sandusky, a feat many could not muster. Victims were depicted in courtroom artist’s sketches shielding their faces or crossing their arms and holding their jacket lapels together as if to create a shield between themselves and Sandusky. One, when asked to identify his abuser, looked away but pointed straight at Sandusky. When told he could look at the accused, the witness replied “I don’t want to.”
“Having to physically face someone that created such hurt, fear and trauma in your life is one of the hardest things to have to do, especially if a victim has not begun to process or deal with the effects of the trauma on their life,” said Julie Woodley, M.A., Licensed Trauma Counselor and Founder of Restoring the Heart Ministries, a special ministry of the Lighthouse Network. “While the fear of later facing an abuser can sometimes be paralyzing, by processing earlier traumas, such a confrontation can become empowering, as the victim is able to “stand up” for the powerless child. I pray that the victims in the Sandusky case are getting appropriate emotional and spiritual support for the trauma that their abuser has allegedly inflicted and that the act of testifying in the case becomes healing and therapeutic for them.”
Lighthouse Network is able to provide referrals to appropriate counselors as well as to residential treatment facilities for trauma victims that need assistance, and can help victims to heal from the past trauma, including sexual abuse and post-abortion grief, among others. Woodley, creator of Restoring the Heart Ministries, is a speaker, author, and certified trauma counselor who was ordained in 2000. She is also the division chair of the American Association of Christian Counseling. Woodley is also a Ministry Outreach Representative of Timberline Knolls, a residential addiction and trauma treatment facility.
To help those that truly struggle with the trauma of sexual abuse, or with other mental health issues, Lighthouse Network offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Network Addiction and Counseling Helpline toll-free at (844) 543-3242. Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to find peace and find answers for people who have a hard time defining their particular problem or have difficulty finding the right answers from other often-confusing sources. Lighthouse Network finds life-changing treatment that altogether addresses spirit, mind and body, concerning addiction or psychiatric issues. Many have expressed relief to finally find Lighthouse Network so that help and healing may begin.