According to RAINN, one out of six American women has been raped. A sexual assault occurs every 73 seconds in the USA. While sexual assault is a disturbingly common event, we don’t always spend as much time talking about it as we should.
If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault or violence, you’re not alone. The road to healing from sexual trauma is long and winding, but it is also one scattered with supporters and cheerleaders. With the proper support systems, it is possible to process sexual trauma and come out of the event stronger than ever.
Here are some starting points for dealing with sexual trauma.
First of all, it’s important to remember that everyone’s experience with sexual trauma is different, and that different treatments work better for different people.
Because of that, it’s important to reach out to a mental health professional to make sure you have someone with the education and experience to guide you through the healing process. The suggestions that are included in this article are most effective when used in conjunction with treatment from a mental health professional.
Lean on Support Systems
Now more than ever, victims of sexual assault are leaning on one another during the healing process. Sexual trauma is not something to be ashamed of. It is never the victim’s fault, and it is not something to be swept under the rug.
While it can feel natural to keep your sexual trauma hidden from others, consider confiding in a few trusted individuals. Talking through the trauma (to the extent that you’re comfortable with) can help you heal. Even if you’re not ready to talk about it, just having someone looking out for you can be a huge help.
Write It Down
Many survivors of sexual assault find it helpful to write out their thoughts. It may sound corny, but keeping a journal or diary and physically writing out what you’re feeling can help you put your emotions into words and process them more easily.
Sometimes the process of writing itself can act as a healthy expression of emotions, acting as a sort of cleansing process that allows you to release pent-up feelings in a safe space.
Take Care of Yourself
Different people react to trauma in different ways, but a common response is to withdraw into yourself. This in turn can make it more difficult to take care of yourself. Survivors who are subjected to victim-blaming often have a particularly hard time being kind to themselves while healing from sexual trauma.
Self-care looks different for every person, but things like taking a bath, making a cup of tea, and making time for friends and family can make a huge difference in the healing process.
It can be very difficult to find closure after a sexual assault. However, many survivors have found that pursuing legal action against the perpetrator helped them put the event in the rearview. Pursuing legal action against someone who has sexually assaulted you can also help protect future potential victims. See more here.
Healing from Sexual Trauma
No matter where you are in your recovery, healing from sexual trauma can be a challenge. But rest assured that you are not going through this struggle alone.
For more life tips and advice, check out our other blog posts.