The #metoo movement has given voice to so many who had their voices silenced through sexual violence. Celebrities like Terry Crews and Rose McGowan led the discussion on social media, but the message was clear: anyone can be the victim of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or rape. Many people have their own, unique story of surviving sexual violence. It is a common problem that needs to be confronted both on a social level and on a personal level. A few of the key message of the #metoo movement were that… as a victim of sexual violence, you are not alone… the assault was not your fault… healing is difficult work, but you are strong… you are free to speak about what happened if you want to… Time and again, the importance of seeking help after an assault was emphasized. Therapy has been one form of help that has helped many survivors of sexual violence finding healing and acceptance. Skilled therapists may be able to help survivors process the trauma they experienced and build healthy coping skilled. Counseling for victims of sexual violence is a path to healing for many.
“I can be changed by what happens to me,
but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
— Maya Angelou
If you have experienced sexual harassment, sexual assault, or rape, consider reaching out. The therapists at Thriveworks Newport News have worked with many survivors. We understand the deep wounds that sexual violence can cause, but we also understanding how strong you are and how much healing you may experience.
The Injuries of Sexual Assault
Sexual violence can leave many wounds. Some may be visible. Others may not be, but they are nonetheless painful. Sexual violence is often traumatizing, leaving victims with both physical injuries and emotional harm. Sexual assault is a very personal experience, and each individual will respond in their own, unique way. However, it is not uncommon for victims to experience…
- Physical Injuries. During an assault, victims may sustain any number of physical injuries, including broken bones, bruises, cuts, and more. They may also become infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or become pregnant.
- Emotional and Psychological Injuries. Sexual violence can also do great harm to an individual’s emotions and psyche. Many survivors report that the emotional and psychological harm of the attack has caused more pain than the physical harm. Victims of sexual violence may develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and thus, they may experience hyper-vigilance, flashbacks, panic attacks, and more. Victims may have difficulty with other mental health problems, like sleeping or eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. They may also deal with the pain of the assault with self-harm or suicide ideation.
Healing for Sexual Assault’s Visible and Invisible Wounds
During and after a sexual assault, victims often are plunged into deep shame. This shame can whisper (or shout) terrible lies to victims—lies like… it was not that harmful… what did you do to provoke this?… you were asking for it… do not talk about what happened. Often, these lies try to hold survivors back from healing, and thus, for many victims of sexual assault, the first step toward recovering from the assault is acknowledgment. It is important to reiterate that what happened is not your fault. You did nothing to provoke it or ask for it. You deserve safety and healing. When these truths are acknowledged, victims can reach out for help.
Each person’s healing journey is unique, but often, people work with a therapist. A skilled mental health professional can often help people find the treatment they need for their emotional, physical, and psychological wounds. If you are willing to work with a counselor, here are a few ways to find one…
- Before scheduling an appointment, inquire if they have experience helping people who have survived sexual assault. Just as medical professionals have specialties, so do mental health professionals. It may be important for your therapist to have a firm grasp on what sexual assault it and how to heal from it.
- Ask about their therapeutic methods. For example, some therapists use Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TICBT). Others use Trauma-Informed Dialectical Behavior Therapy. Some are trained in both. As a potential client, you should know what methods they will use and what those methods entail.
- During your first meeting, pay attention to how you are feeling. In any therapeutic relationship, it is important that you feel safe. If you feel uncomfortable or you sense any red-flags about the therapist, feel free to choose a different professional.
Appointments at Thriveworks Newport News for Sexual Assault Victims
If you have experienced a sexual assault, you are not alone. Many others understand what you have been through because they have been through it too. Know that there are many resources available to you for healing, and many victims start with going to therapy. Counseling is often a place where victims can acknowledge what happened, the harm that it caused, and begin healing those wounds. If you are ready to get started, so is Thriveworks Newport News.
When you call our office, know that a real person will answer and help you schedule an appointment. We offer evening and weekend sessions, but we do not put our clients on a waitlist. Instead, new clients frequently have their first appointment within 24 hours of their first call. We also accept a variety of insurance plans. Let’s heal together. Call today to get started.