Survivors of Sexual Assault in Boston, MA—Therapists and Counselors
With the #metoo movement, many people were able to give voice to experiences they may have never spoken about previously. Many people learned that they are not alone in what they survived, even though that is how sexual violence often leaves people feeling. Sexual violence is far too common. The pain that it causes is far too common. Many people, men and women, know what it is like to have their sexual boundaries violated. Many people, young and old, understand what it means to carry the burden and shame of sexual assault. Many people, of all races and socio-economic statuses, need to hear truth about sexual violence, things like… No one deserves to be assaulted… You did not provoke the assault or cause it… What happened to you was wrong… You are strong… You can heal. Sexual violence can take many different forms, and each victim’s experiences and wounds will be unique. Healing is, therefore, is also a unique experience. Each survivor will have their own healing path, but no one has to walk that path alone. Many people work with a therapist and go to counseling for survivors of sexual assault.
“There are dark shadows on the earth, but its lights are stronger in the contrast.”
— Charles Dickens
Thriveworks Boston has worked with many people who have experienced rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment in its various forms. We know the deep pain of violation, but we also know the strength that survivors have. Many people learn how to heal emotionally, physically, and psychologically after living through sexual violence.
Statistics and Definitions of Sexual Violence
“Making someone feel obligated, pressured or forced into doing something of a sexual nature that they don’t want to is sexual coercion. This includes persistent attempts at sexual contact when the person has already refused you. Nobody owes you sex, ever; and no means no, always.”
― Miya Yamanouchi
It is not easy but it is important to speak about what sexual violence is and how it happens. Speaking openly can reduce the shame that can victims often feel. It can show them that what happened was truly wrong, that it was not their fault, and that they are not alone.
Sexual violence is a broad term, but it comes in many different forms. A few of those forms include…
- Rape – Any non-consensual sex. It can include oral sex or any kind of penetration. The sex can be forced physically and violently, or it can coerced emotionally and through manipulation. Neither is consent.
- Child Sexual Abuse – Consent cannot be given by children. Therefore, any sexual act (from penetration to exposing a child to pornography) that involves an adult and a child is sexual abuse.
- Sexual Assault – Unwelcomed sexual touch, fondling, or groping, including attempted rape.
- Sexual Harassment – Inappropriate and unwanted sexual talk, demands or inquires for sexual favors, sexual advances and more.
- Incest – Rape or sexual assault that is perpetrated by one family member against another family member.
- Intimacy Partner Sexual Violence – Rape, sexual assault, or sexual harassment that is committed by a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse against their significant other.
How often do these types of violence occur? The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has studied sexual violence and found that…
- Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted.
- 12 percent occur at or near a relative’s home.
- 55 percent of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home.
- People ages 18-36 are most at risk for sexual harassment or assault.
- 7 percent of sexual assaults happen at school.
- 1 in 6 women are the victims of an attempted or completed rape.
- 10 percent of rape victims are male.
- 12 percent of sexual assault victims are working when it occurs.
Sexual Assault and Potential Harm
Sexual violence can leave a number of different wounds. It is often a severely traumatizing experience that harms people physically, emotionally, and psychologically. Because it can come in so many different forms, the wounds can take many different forms. There is not one way to respond to a sexual violation, and yet, survivors often report similar experiences, including physical and emotional harm.
- Psychological and Emotional Harm. Some wounds are visible, but many are not. Sexual violence, in particular, can cause harm not just to the body but also to the soul. It can leave victims feeling less-than humor, as if they are objects to be used instead of people who have value. It is common for victims to blame themselves somehow for the attack. Even if they know intellectually that they are not at fault, they may feel responsible. Sexual violence can also cause mental health challenges to develop, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, eating disorders, depression, insomnia, anxiety disorders, suicide ideation, self-harm, and more.
- Physical Harm. Victim commonly receive physical injuries during sexual violence. They may sustain broken bones, bruises, cuts, and more. They may contract a sexually transmitted disease. Women victims may also be impregnated.
Appointments at Thriveworks Boston for Victims of Sexual Assault
If you are ready to meet with a counselor about what happened to you, the therapists at Thriveworks Boston are ready too. When you call our office to schedule an appointment, you may have your first appointment the following day. We accept many different insurance plans, and we offer weekend and evening sessions. But we do not put our clients on a waitlist. Call today.