A staggering number of females have experienced rape, sexual assault, or another type of unwanted sexual encounter at some point in their lives. It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely how many, largely because many victims do not report the incident, whether it happens in the workplace or elsewhere. Some women prefer to try to forget about it or act as though it never happened, although neither strategy is a healthy way to cope. If you’re looking for how to recover and heal from sexual abuse trauma, this post can be helpful.
Every woman will have to come to grips with what took place in their own time. Just like the grieving process, everyone does it differently, and there is no wrong way. However, many women struggle to get their life back on track post-rape or sexual assault.
Let’s look at four ways a woman might try to become mentally and emotionally whole again after this horrific occurrence.
Pursue charges against the attacker to heal from sexual trauma
Regrettably, the stats say that most women know their attacker. Boyfriend or husband rapes or sexual assaults happen way more than stranger attacks. A woman might decide to hire a sex crimes lawyer and go after her assailant in court.
When you pursue legal action, it is important to know that you may need to get a restraining order against the perpetrator If your husband or live-in boyfriend was the one who committed the act, you can either order them to move out of the house, or you can move out herself. Having children with the attacker can further complicate matters.
If she wants to remain where she is, the court will likely make the husband or boyfriend move out instead. If the woman does file a restraining order, she’ll want regular police check-ins to make sure she’s okay.
Hopefully, there will be sufficient evidence to get a court to convict the attacker, and he will receive the appropriate punishment for his sadistic behavior.
Below are more ways to recover and heal from sexual trauma:
Get a divorce or separate
If the attacker was a husband or boyfriend, you can seek either a divorce or separation. You likely will not have trouble getting a court to comply if:
- There is physical assault evidence
- You can produce witnesses to the husband or boyfriend’s temperament or behavior
You will only be able to move on with her life once her attacker is no longer in the picture. Some women even decide to leave the city or state where the attack took place for an entirely fresh start somewhere else.
Take martial arts classes
Some women feel they need empowerment after an attack to heal from sexual trauma. They might decide that buying a gun is the way to go. If so, the woman will likely want to take some classes on how to use it, unless she already learned how at some point in the past.
I do not advocate guns in the house, personally. If you feel the same way as me, you might prefer to take some martial arts classes to learn self-defense techniques. There are options like karate, Tai Kwon Do, judo, and others.
Any of them can make you more confident and help you deal with some of the anger you might be experiencing right now. You might also decide to start carrying a different weapon if you don’t want to buy a gun, such as pepper spray or an extendable baton.
Seek therapy to recover and heal from sexual trauma
A sexual assault or rape survivor might feel betrayed by her attacker if she knew and trusted the person. The love she had for this individual will likely be gone. If it was a stranger who was the attacker, that is no less traumatic.
A woman in this position should more than likely seek therapy from a professional counselor. It’s fine talking to a trusted loved one about what happened, but you might wish to speak to someone objective instead.
By “objective,” that means someone who you don’t see in your daily life. It might be easier to talk to a therapist about the trauma endured.
A rape or sexual assault survivor may want to do more than one thing on the list above. For instance, a woman might divorce her attacker and seek therapy while she works to regain her confidence.
Getting past such an awful incident is difficult, but it’s IS possible. You will have to call on your inner strength and resolve to carry on with life and heal from sexual abuse trauma.
7 thoughts on “4 ways to recover and heal from sexual trauma”
Even in this day and age, there remains a mentality out there, albeit perhaps subconscious: Men can take care of themselves against sexual perpetrators, and boys are basically little men.
I’ve noticed over many years of news-media consumption that when the victims are girls their gender is readily reported as such; however, when they’re boys, they’re usually referred to gender-neutrally as children. It’s as though, as a news product made to sell the best, the child victims being female is somehow more shocking than if male.
Also, I’ve heard and read news-media references to a 19-year-old female victim as a ‘girl’, while (in an unrelated case) a 17 year old male perpetrator was described as a ‘man’.
I wonder whether the above may help explain why the book Childhood Disrupted was only able to include one man among its six interviewed adult subjects, there presumably being such a small pool of ACE-traumatized men willing to come forward for the book? Could it be evidence of a continuing subtle societal take-it-like-a-man mindset? (Note: I tried contacting the book’s author on this matter, twice, but received no reply.)
“It has been said that if child abuse and neglect were to disappear today, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual would shrink to the size of a pamphlet in two generations, and the prisons would empty. Or, as Bernie Siegel, MD, puts it, quite simply, after half a century of practicing medicine, ‘I have become convinced that our number-one public health problem is our childhood’.” (Childhood Disrupted, pg.228).
(Frank Sterle Jr.)
Hello Christy! A very important article. Thank you for posting, and i have the same problem like ladysights. Here is no “Like”-Button available. Sorry! Mihael
Hi Michael, WP is working on the like button issue and hopefully it will resolve soon! Thanks for your feedback x
I don’t seem to be able to ‘like’ your entries. I can reply.
The ‘like this’ just says loading, but never appears.
No matter. Just reporting. ;)
That’s correct. WordPress has been looking into it and is still on the case :) I hope it is solved in the early new year x
I will still read your advice. :)
You’re a wonderful friend, thank you!