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Best of 2013: GoodTherapy.org’s Top 10 Websites for Abuse Survivors


For those who experience abuse—physical, sexual, or emotional—the consequences can be devastating, and the road to recovery may be a long and challenging one. Some survivors of childhood abuse may repress memories until later in life; others may carry the memories with them their entire lives.

Abuse affects several facets of a person’s well-being, from the ability to cope with stress to the ability to hold down a job, maintain intimacy in relationships, and handle the many emotional ups and downs of life. Depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress, sleep disturbances, panic, sexual dysfunction, and issues with self-esteem are just a few of the challenges someone who has survived abuse may experience on a regular basis. Support and guidance during the healing and recovery process is essential to move forward and find peace amid the inner chaos.

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We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best websites for survivors of abuse in 2013—GoodTherapy.org excluded. As with our previous top 10 lists, our selections are based on quality and depth of content, presentation, and functionality.

  • Joyful Heart Foundation: The mission of the Joyful Heart Foundation is “to heal, educate, and empower survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, and to shed light into the darkness that surrounds these issues.” The site focuses its resources and information on healing and wellness, education and awareness, and policy and advocacy. Its approach centers on mind-body-spirit healing, and it offers an assortment of day and multiday retreat programs for survivors as well as a “Heal the Healers” program and training workshops for health professionals who work closely with survivors.
  • ASCA: Adult Survivors of Child Abuse: Created by the Norma J. Morris Center for healing from child abuse, the ASCA program was designed to offer self-help support and resources for adult survivors of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect as a child. The site encourages victims to make the shift “from survivor to thriver” with the help of workbooks and support groups.
  • MaleSurvivor: This not-for-profit organization caters to boys and men who have been sexually abused or victimized. It emphasizes that although the male experience of abuse does not receive a great deal of attention, statistics indicate that one in six men endures sexual abuse before the age of 16. To facilitate hope and healing for male survivors of various ages, the organization provides resources and information, support group links, weekend recovery programs, discussion forums, personal stories of recovery, and a national program called Dare to Dream. Educational materials also are available for parents and professionals working with survivors.
  • Violence Unsilenced: When visitors land on this site, they are met with powerful stories of surviving abuse in the form of domestic violence and sexual trauma. Women who have experienced both share their stories in full, and the site encourages others to share, too. The concept behind Violence Unsilenced is to give victims and survivors a voice, so telling stories of abuse and survival is the primary focus. Links to hotlines and other resources are also provided.
  • SafeHorizon: The goal of this site is to help “victims of violence” transition from “crisis to confidence.” As the largest victims’ services agency in the United States, SafeHorizon works with those who have experienced domestic violence, child abuse, human trafficking, rape and sexual assault, and homelessness in youth to offer resources for support, hope, and recovery. It primarily serves the New York City area, but also helps those outside of NYC to find the support and resources they need.
  • isurvive: Created by survivors for survivors, this site offers resources and online support for people primarily in the United States, Australia, and Europe. Becoming a member of isurvive provides access to an array of forums on a variety of abuse-related topics. Addictions, self-harm, and unhealthy coping strategies; childhood abuse survivors; incest and sexual abuse survivors; male survivors; and issues surrounding intimacy and relationships are just a few of the forums available. Members also have the opportunity to share their artwork, collages, pet pictures, and “photographic thoughts” on the site once they join.
  • The Northwest Network: For survivors of abuse who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, The Northwest Network offers connection and community support. The hope of this organization, founded by lesbian survivors in 1987, is to “build loving and equitable relationships” with others who have had similar experiences. The goal in doing this is to empower victims of abuse to strengthen their sense of social connectedness and eliminate abuse from their lives.
  • RISE: Roots for Individual & Social Empowerment: Featuring a blog with personal stories shared by survivors of childhood sexual abuse as well as information on the legal aspects of dealing with the perpetrators of abuse, this site empowers abused individuals to rise above their experiences and find the strength to recover. The general message is for survivors to find their voices and speak out in the hopes it will inspire others to do the same.
  • Overcoming Sexual Abuse: Created by Christine Enevoldsen and Bethany Ruck, a mother and daughter who survived sexual abuse at the hands of their fathers, this site aims to help women embrace “a new life.” The founders share their personal stories and continue to write about recovery via blog articles, and they encourage other survivors not to let the abuse define them or determine their futures. They offer a discussion forum where victims of abuse can share their stories, post poetry and other “heart musings,” discuss the physical, mental, and emotional effects of abuse, and talk about the “healing tools” they find helpful.
  • Survivor Manual: The founder of the Survivor Manual, Angela Shelton, is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She strives to bring other survivors together to heal and “lead joyful lives.” She welcomes visitors with a charismatic video explaining her vision and desire surrounding the issue of sexual abuse. She also is the director of a documentary called Searching for Angela Shelton, which chronicles her journey of discovery and healing, as well as her search for other women survivors who share her wounding and longing to be well. She sees herself as having made the shift “from victim to victor” and inspires others to do the same with her website, videos, and workbooks, and offers useful resources and information regarding various healing techniques, mental health issues, and crisis centers.

Submit your picks for our Top 10 awards here.

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  • michael December 21st, 2013 at 5:56 AM #1

    Thank you for including a resource for men who have been abused by the women in their lives. This is often thought of as something that can’t really happen, and it is something that many men feel ashamed of and as a result would never seek outside help.

  • Jake December 23rd, 2013 at 3:53 AM #2

    My sister is currently in an abusive relationship but no matter how many times we have all tried to get her to leave there is still something that is holding her back. I don’t understand it, because there are no kids, they aren’t married, he really doesn’t have anything that he could hold over her and yet she continues to stay. Maybe something that we see here could help to change her mind.

  • Makayla December 24th, 2013 at 3:13 AM #3

    Just finding the right site and the right voice could make all the difference for someone and their recovery efforts. I applaud the fact that there are so many sites listed and all of them come from a little bit of a different direction so that there is an effort to reach just about anyone who is hurting and who is in pain. Great job!

  • David Pittman December 30th, 2013 at 3:24 AM #4

    Thanks so much for the list of great sites! Would like for you to take a look at together-we-heal.org as it provides cost-free counseling and guidance for those that either don’t have the funds or insurance to cover the costs. They also lead a local support group for all survivors of CSA. Thanks for all you do to help survivors.

  • Bella February 7th, 2014 at 1:05 PM #5

    I was abused physically, mentally, and sexually by most the men in my life I trusted. (Father, grandfather, and great grandfather) I left the state, alibe, at afe 19. I started over, built a new life, movrd on. But I never dealt with it until 16 years later when my sister moved here with me. I literally had a break down. She was everything I remembered leaving behind. I started drinking a lot and did a few things I aint proud of. She tore our family apart until I lost it and cut them all off. I then outted my father(the only one left living) but he is such a good liar, manipulative, evil son of a bit** every one doubts me. Like a 19 year old packs up moves 3000 miles away for the fun of it. My dad punched my mom in ger tumny 6 months pregnant resulting In my brother almost dying being born at 2 lbs…everyone but him is lying? Dealing with this since 2012, and I am just now back to my normal self before my sister came but none of my family believes me. I am ok with that, but why? Why am I the crazy one?

  • Charles M April 23rd, 2014 at 5:43 PM #6

    I do see that there are a lot of blogs, sites, and resources online for sexual abuse, but it seems harder to find things on psychological abuse, or perhaps focusing on the psychological effects of various kinds of abuse. Victims of abuse are often robbed of the psychological traits that allow them to live productive and satisfying lives, or at least as much of those lives as they would have been able to live if it weren’t for the abuse.

    As a victim myself, I hope to spread awareness concerning this. Of course, the physical damage that abuse does is the least of the problems that most abuse causes. A child can be significantly damaged if mistreated, even if no physical abuse occurs (although I have dealt with physical abuse as well).

  • Mary g. June 30th, 2014 at 11:27 AM #7

    They are the really crazy ones. You’ll see it in their poor health and unhappy lives. Maybe not now, but eventually. It takes a toll to deny the truth before you’re eyes.

  • cissy w. July 4th, 2014 at 10:09 AM #8

    I am so happy to find this list. I didn’t know about most of these sites. Thank you so much for this!

  • Tracey August 11th, 2014 at 5:47 PM #9

    Hi very sorry to hear about your sisters predicament. I also want to applaud you for continuing to find a solution and not giving up on her, well done!

    just recently, I was able, for the first time, to open up about my childhood abuse. A very wise Therapist stripped me bare of every aspect of my very existance.

    First I was asked to illiminate my husband, children, adulthood and any other aspects of my life as i knew it. Once I did this, which was very confronting, I was asked to look inside and see what was left of me. I was confronted with this very scared, confused and sad child within. It was so emotional Jake that I wanted to run, literally, but there was nowhere to run, I was exposed. For the first time in my life someone acknowledged this desperate child that was trapped within this 44year old body that was expected to live as an adult.

    The moral of the story here is, it is not her adult self you are dealing with. A confident child, now living as an adult, would not be here in this situation. Maybe if you apply these tactics, as stated above, you just might be able to bring your sister to a greater understanding of herself and put this situation of hers into perspective.

    Good luck and may the Lord bless you greatly for being a wonderful brother

  • suzanna September 7th, 2014 at 12:47 AM #10

    You are not crazy……you are the brave speaker of truth…..& unfortunately those who continue to live in denial are living in fear…..sadly reflecting where society had become stuck for so long…..in silence! Fortunately awareness is growing now & I believe it is so important to be a warrior for truth & allow our voices to be heard…..no one should be forced to suffer in silence…….keep speaking your truth…..with love & light :-)
    PS. Check out sunflowerjournals.com …you might find it helpful. Take care

  • Jennifer November 6th, 2014 at 8:48 PM #11

    We need to start talking about how they get away with it. We need to tell the truth…to help others escape where we have failed too.

  • Sinh November 7th, 2014 at 8:10 AM #12

    I believe when silent is the worse that one can do for his/her self, I was physical abuse by my older sister, as a 6 year old kids, she would beat me until I pass out, this happen many time as I could remember ,one time she slap my face so hard that I pass out with a bleeding nose and fell to the ground, many people would stood and look on, I dint realize that I had many problem growing up, until joining the military, in 1995 with Canadian military engineer basic training 9501, I witness a beating that Was very severe when 2 big 220 pound beating on a 150 pound person, I had a very time dealing with that even, because it very much same as when I got beat up by my sister. I am still trying very hard to recover, I continue up to this day having frequency night mare , and doesn’t seen the ending.

  • Lisa December 22nd, 2014 at 11:28 AM #13

    My doctor told me that her other patients got over their abuse and that I should just get over it.

  • VB February 24th, 2015 at 10:45 PM #14

    I totally agree Charles. I’m a survivor of father daughter incest but also my mother has said and done several things that were life altering moments for me. One example, after my father came into our room, she opens the door, looked at me and my sister as if we were two women in bed wi
    th her husband, not her two daughters. I knew then at 11 that there was something seriously wrong.

    Having said that, you’re so spot on. The psychological impact of the abuse is far more debilitating. I always say that environment is absolutely key in the healthy natural development of a child. Instead of the blessing of a normal upbringing, we develop these unhealthy coping mechanisms.

    The debris that is left behind has effected my life in so many ways. Profoundly low self-esteem, allowing men to destroy me and literally/figuratively disable me. I am 45 years old and am finally getting therapy to understand Why I make these decisions, why I allow myself to be abused.

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