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  • Writer's pictureReal Choices

Healing After Sexual Assault


The impact of sexual assault casts a long shadow, affecting survivors in ways that extend far beyond the immediate impact. As we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it's crucial to shed light on the complexities of trauma and provide valuable guidance for survivors seeking healing and wholeness.


woman with dark hair and pink lipstick looking away


Understanding the Depths of Trauma


Sexual abuse/assault is any unwanted sexual behavior, from harassment to rape, leaving survivors with emotional and psychological pain that is often overlooked and underestimated. Trauma from such experiences can disrupt every aspect of your life, from personal relationships to professional endeavors. 


Complex trauma can be described as being like a persistent low-grade fever that lingers, affecting survivors emotionally, spiritually, and physically. This burden often goes beyond the surface, profoundly impacting their daily lives in ways they may not immediately recognize.


Short-term ramifications of sexual assault, survivors navigate an array of emotional complexities, often including:

  • Shock

  • Fear

  • Shame

  • Confusion


These emotions can manifest physically, leading to:

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Hypervigilance

  • Rage and anger

  • Challenges in maintaining daily routines and relationships


Long-term side effects of sexual trauma often persist and are left unaddressed, which may lead to:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Self-Harm

  • Anxiety

  • Depression

  • Sleep disruptions

  • Hypervigilance


It is essential to acknowledge that the trauma associated with sexual assault may have a deeply negative impact on survivors' life long, and that is why providing opportunities to heal is critical. Unhealthy coping mechanisms such as substance abuse often emerge, along with persistent trust issues that could lead to difficulties in forming intimate relationships and leave the survivor with a distorted view of their value and self-worth.


Practical Steps Toward Healing


  • Acknowledging trauma and recognizing the depth of your pain is the first step toward healing. It's essential to recognize and address the complexities of your experiences by seeking professional help from medical professionals and support groups tailored to your needs.


  • Seeking support alleviates the emotional burden you are carrying alone. You can join a support group or seek counseling to process your emotions and experiences.


  • Healing goes beyond physical recovery; it must be holistic, addressing your emotional and spiritual well-being. By embracing holistic healing, you can honor your body, reclaim your sense of safety and overall well-being, and learn to rewrite your life narrative with strength and resilience.


We Are Here for You


Moving forward after sexual assault requires courage, resilience, and support. You are not alone. 


If you or someone you know believe they may be pregnant following sexual assault, we are here for you. Our team is here to guide and provide the resources you need as you move toward the healing and wholeness you deserve. Make an appointment with our compassionate staff today. 


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