Healing From Rape And Sexual Abuse

 

The effects of sexual assault go far more than any physical injury, no matter how old or young you are. When someone is raped or sexually abused, it leaves her, or his life shattered, leaving them humiliated, terrorized, and isolated. They are cursed with having to go through the same memory every night and waking up to find themselves crying and shaking with fear over the devastating experience. They don’t feel safe anymore, and they find it difficult to make new friends. Their self-worth is so small that they won’t find words to make a pleasant description of themselves. On top of that, as rape survivors, they may be battling with anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder for the rest of their lives.

Hung Tran, Psy.D said “Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape.” If you are a rape victim, you must keep in mind that whatever emotions you are feeling – the rage, blame, resentment, and shame – are normal reactions towards the trauma you have undergone. These are but symptoms and not what you really are. It may be very difficult for you, but with these strategies, you can slowly move forward with your life and soon gain self-confidence, self-trust, and self-worth.

 

  • Talk To Someone. It is truly very hard to accept that you were sexually assaulted and you cannot undo what happened. You will feel weak and helpless. Although you don’t want to talk about rape, you must remember that you will never heal if you can’t speak up about it. So don’t avoid the truth. Find someone close to you that you can trust – family member, close friend, or a significant other. Express yourself slowly to this person. You’ll be scared to open up everything, but you’ll realize later that you will feel more liberated as you release what’s been keeping you in the dark. This person may be your connection to the outside world and help you interact with the community and join healthy activities that will be worthy of your time and energy. “Abuse is when someone engages in most of these behaviors on a very regular basis, in an almost systematic way (if you think you may be in a truly abusive relationship, please contact a qualified counselor to help evaluate your situation).” Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC said.

 

  • Learn To Cope. This means learning to deal with the trauma, with the act itself, and with the negative emotions that you are feeling every waking moment of your life. The shame and the self-blame may arise while you’re alone thinking about the past, or it may come just as a shock after a year or two. By going to support groups and talking to a therapist, you will come to terms with the truth and learn that you are not shaped by what happened but by how you overcome the challenges that you have faced. It was not your fault, and you should not be ashamed of what happened. You were a victim.

 

  • Take Care Of Yourself. Recovering from rape is an ongoing process that won’t be finished in a month. The memories of the traumatic experience will definitely not be erased from your mind even after a year. But you can only try to live with the experience with the truth and the powerful tools that you will learn as your weapons to facing life and beating the trials triumphantly. And you do that first by nurturing yourself and loving yourself. Eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise as regularly as possible. These three basic tips can help achieve mental and physical wellness. “Self-love is important to living well. It influences who you pick for a mate, the image you project at work, and how you cope with the problems in your life.” Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.explains.

You can also engage in calming and relaxation practices such as meditation and yoga, both of which are successful in improving one’s balance in life. Avoid alcohol and drugs, as these will only worsen the symptoms of the trauma. Healing from sexual assault doesn’t happen overnight, and the recovery process can be really painful. But if you hold on to yourself and follow through with these helpful strategies, you will soon be able to regain your self-worth, heal, and emerge even more powerful than you once were.