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Advice from a Survivor

Advice from a Survivor Faith Hakesley

As the moderator of The Ruth Institute's Advice from a Survivor Blog (formerly known as Ask a Survivor), my goal is to provide information, inspiration, and awareness to issues surrounding trauma, victimization, and the healing process. Most of all, I want to bring you a message of hope - hope that healing is possible and that, no matter what you have suffered, achieving peace, healing, and freedom after trauma is possible. 


There truly is always hope! You can learn to live with the pain and not in it. It is possible to thrive rather than just survive. 


Trauma is a complicated issue, one that can be difficult to understand. While I have experienced the pain of sexual abuse and so consider that my area of “expertise,” I also speak from experience as someone who has endured other traumas including the grief of loss, cancer, and also other life threatening health issues. Because of my background, I am able to easily empathize with others and can create for them a level of comfort and reassurance as they seek healing as well as answers to their difficult questions. I want you to know that I am here for you to walk alongside you - to answer any questions you might have and to encourage you - as you navigate the difficult journey of healing.  


Some common survivor questions I have addressed include: 


  • Why do I feel this way?

  • It’s been years since my trauma. Are bad days normal even after all this time? 

  • How can I get through difficult moments?

  • What sort of help should I seek out?

  • How do I move forward after something horrible has happened?


Parents and loved ones of survivors also seek comfort and solace, and so I have addressed questions such as:


  • What are the signs of abuse?

  • Why is my child acting like this?

  • How can I help?

  • I’m pretty upset myself. How do I cope with my own feelings so I can better help my loved one? 


Some other issues I have addressed include: 

  • The Catholic Church clerical abuse crisis

  • Combatting the sexual revolution  

  • Sexual grooming

  • Marriage after sexual abuse 

  • Finding your voice  as a survivor 

  • Self-care tips 

  • Whole person healing of the mind, body, and spirit 

  • Cultivating healthy relationships


Regardless of the kinds of trauma you have suffered, I can help peel back the various layers of suffering and help to motivate you to be fueled by your negative experiences. You can experience personal growth as you heal! 


From time we time, we all need to be reassured by someone who has “been there.” That’s where I can help! Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions and comments. I will always answer your questions openly and honestly in a faith-focused way. No one needs to walk the healing path alone, and I want to help guide you through whatever season of your life you are in right now. 


It’s ok to reach out. It’s ok to ask for help. It’s ok to be vulnerable. I’m here for you! Let’s talk! 


You can submit your questions to me regarding sexual abuse, trauma, victimization, healing, etc. Your name will never be used in my public responses. Use the contact form or email me at

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