“Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering ‘it will be happier’.” – Alfred Tennyson
Sexual assault can be one of the most difficult experiences to work through, but you deserve all the love and effort you can give yourself. You might be dealing with a lot of emotions that you’re not familiar with and feeling like you’re slipping away from your loved ones. Luckily, this couldn’t be further from the truth: there are people who love you, care for you, and are ready to be by your side as you recover. At P.S. Love Yourself, we offer compassionate sexual assault counseling in Boca Raton and surrounding South Florida cities.
Overcoming Sexual Assault
As experiences and people differ, so does the path to recovery. The way you heal and move forward is going to be personal but going on that journey is lifesaving.
What To Expect
Sexual assault victims will generally feel the same emotions after the event. PTSD symptoms, anxiety, depression, hopelessness, and loneliness are all prevalent in these situations, even if someone has a wonderful support system around them. These feelings are painful. They demand to be felt rather than bottled up, and the myth of “bouncing back” can negatively impact someone’s recovery.
Staying Focused on Self Care
Healing takes effort and time, and it’s also something that you manage step by step. While some people might appear to “bounce back” after sexual assault or a traumatic event, this often occurs when the negative feelings are being avoided rather than dealt with. So, how do you deal with them?
Acknowledge your pain: it’s okay to be hurting right now! However, reaffirm that what happened was not your fault. You aren’t to blame for what happened to you, and you deserve all the love you are receiving from those around you. Focus on treating yourself with love and kindness and reach out to those you trust or seek help from a professional.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center reports that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college. This is a staggering statistic, but it also means that you are not alone in your recovery. Group therapy aims to end the feelings of isolation you have by letting you go through recovery with others in the same boat. Working in tandem with individual therapy, this is one of the best ways to stay grounded.
How To Support Others Dealing With Sexual Assault
If someone you love is a victim of sexual assault, you’re probably wondering how best to support them. While it is important to empathize, you aren’t your loved one’s therapist, and you both still need to set healthy boundaries.
Empower and Encourage
Your loved one choosing to confide in you is a big step. Communicate clearly with them about how they want to move forward, and what kind of help they’re seeking from you. You may feel that you know what’s best or you want them to take a particular path to recovery, but it’s essential that you empower your loved one to make those decisions for themselves.
It’s natural to want to be alone after a sexual assault. Despite this, human connection is one of the best helpers for recovery. Extend your invitations, even if they’re rejected, and make every effort to keep in contact.
Seeking Help: Sexual Assault and PTSD Therapy
The National Sexual Assault Hotline is available at 800.656.HOPE (4673) for urgent and confidential assistance. As you move forward with your recovery, therapy gives you a safe outlet to work through the emotions you’re feeling and the experience you’ve had. You don’t have to go through recovery alone. At P.S. Love Yourself, I’m here to extend my hand and help you through with trauma and PTSD counseling.