When social media exploded with the #metoo movement, many people could see that their experiences were not unique, that they were not alone. Rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment are far too common, and far too many people have experienced the harm that they can bring. Celebrities like Terry Crews or Rose McGowan may have led the movement, but most of the people in it were ordinary people who lived their lives, day in and day out, with the shame and the pain of sexual violence. One benefit of the #metoo movement was also the awareness it brought not just to the problem but also to the potential for healing. Victims may have heard for the first time that… they are allowed to speak about what happened to them… they are not to blame for the assault… it is possible to heal and feel safe again. For many people, they have found the healing they needed and deserved through therapy. Counseling for victims of sexual violence has helped many survivors feel safe again.
“I can be changed by what happens to me,
but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
— Maya Angelou
Thriveworks Marietta offers therapy for people who have survived many different forms of sexual violence. Our counselors understand the harm that sexual assault, sexual harassment, and rape can cause, but we also understand what healing can look like.
Sexual Violence: A Painful Reality
Even thinking about the reality of sexual violence is difficult. It is not necessarily fun to define what sexual violence is or the extent to which it occurs. However, it is important. Survivors need to be empowered to know what happened to them and that they are not alone. What follows are general definitions of the different forms that sexual violence can take:
- Rape is sex without consent. It can occur when an individual forces (either emotionally or physically) another to perform a sexual act. It can also occur when an individual penetrates someone who is inebriated, asleep, medically incapacitated, or otherwise unable to consent.
- Sexual Harassment may occur when someone issues unwelcome requests for sexual favors, speak with inappropriately sexual overtones, or issues sexual advances.
- Child Sexual Abuse is any sexual act or contact or harassment between an adult and a child. Kids cannot consent to sex; therefore, all sexual encounters between an adult and a kid are abusive.
- Sexual Assault includes attempted rape, sexual touch, fondling, or groping that is not consensual.
- Incest is sexual assault, abuse, or rape where the perpetrator and the victim are in the same family.
- Intimacy Partner Sexual Violence is when a girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse commits sexual assault, rape, or sexual harassment against their significant other.
How widespread is sexual violence? The Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN) studied how often, where, and to whom sexual violence occurs in the United States. Here is what they found:
- Every 98 seconds, an individual is assaulted sexually.
- Where do sexual assaults happen?
- at or near the victim’s home (55 percent).
- at or near a relative’s home (12 percent).
- at work (12 percent).
- at school (7 percent).
- Who is at risk?
- 10 percent of rape victims are male.
- Individuals ages 18-36 experience more sexual harassment or assault than other age groups.
- 1 in 6 women are the victims of an attempted or completed rape.
Sexual Assault’s Wounds
Sexual violence can leave people traumatized. Because the violence can come in many different forms, so can people’s responses. There is no right way to react to a sexual assault. A victim’s response will be influenced by a number of factors, and yet, many victims report dealing with similar wounds. Those wounds can be both physical and psychological/emotional.
- Physical Wounds. During a sexual assault, people can be injured and sustain cuts, bruises, broken bones, and more. Victims may become infected with a sexually transmitted disease or become impregnated.
- Emotional and Psychological Wounds. There are wounds that do not bleed, but they are nonetheless real. Many victims report emotional and psychological wounds of violation. They may not feel safe and live with a heightened sense of anxiety. They may re-live the violence through flashbacks or nightmares. They may feel a sense of responsibility for the attack (even though they know they are not to blame). They may develop mental problems such as depressive disorders, insomnia, eating disorders, self-harm, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Appointments at Thriveworks Marietta for Sexual Assault Victims
When people have their sexual boundaries violated, they often feel a deep sense of shame. For many, experiencing sexual violence is a life-changing event. It is normal to need help processing what happened and how to regain a sense of safety. Many people turn to therapy as a helpful way to heal and restore their sense of normal. If you have experienced sexual violence, know that it was not your fault. Also, know that help is available. Thriveworks Marietta has helped many survivors of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment.
If you are ready to get started, we are too. When you call Thriveworks Marietta, one of our scheduling specialists will answer and help you make an appointment. Weekend and evening sessions are offered. We also accept many different insurance plans. Call today.