TW: This blog post includes the topics of sexual assault and domestic violence.
It’s April. The month of April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. For the 9th year in a row, we advocate and spread awareness for Sexual Assault victims. To read more about SAAM, check out the organization's history here.
This month allows us to mourn the fact that sexual assault occurs on a global scale. We can commit to destroying the ideologies which encourage people to commit awful acts against others and our national system
that allows people to get away with it. However, the awareness doesn’t stop after April, we must continue to fight for each other and demand an open conversation on the topic. According to the Center For Family Justice, 1 out of 4 women and 1 out of 6 men are sexually assaulted in their lifetime. It’s important we talk about the healing process when dealing with past trauma and/assault.
Coping With Sexual
Everyone’s coping process is different. The psychological impact of sexual assault varies from person to person. Whatever you are feeling, it’s important to recognize that it is completely valid. There is no timeline or right way to heal. Feelings of confusion, grief, regret, or self-blame are normal. Sexual assault victims have an increased risk of developing mental health diagnoses such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety.
Seeking professional help with a therapist who specializes in working with sexual assault victims is strongly advised. Therapy offers you the opportunity to talk about your assault or feeling with no judgment while offering coping skills.
There are different types of treatment options for sexual assault victims, the most common include:
Cognitive-behavioral therapy: Therapists assist clients with discussing and replacing the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to their trauma or emotional distress.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): EMDR is an interactive therapy used to address trauma and reduce distress. It may involve tapping or moving the eyes from side to side
while talking about a distressing event.
Supportive therapy: Therapists may help clients make sense of their emotions and assist them in identifying the skills they can use to manage their symptoms.
A mental health professional can help find ways that allow you to cope and improve along your healing journey.
Skills to manage your thoughts and emotions. Intrusive thoughts, lack of trust, or distressing thoughts are all very common things to go through when coping with assault. A mental health professional can provide you with ways to handle this and make your coping process feel less alone.
Ways to calm your mind
and physical being. There are multiple options or hobbies available that can clear your mind and allow you to relax your mind and body. Taking a yoga class, trying out pottery or a painting class, or joining a book club is just many of the few ways you can try to prioritize yourself as well as relaxing your mind.
A therapist can help guide you on the right track to healing and address unhealthy coping mechanisms that some victims pick up so you can avoid and be aware of them.
Please keep in mind that everyone's healing journey is different. Healing is not linear; some days are better than others. However, remember that it is possible to heal from this. Many survivors find affecting coping strategies and can recover and live out their fullest dreams.
You are never alone. If you are unsure of where to find help, please visit a local mental health facility or visit RAINN. Asking for help may not feel easy, but it can help you heal immensely.