Support for Victims of Sexual Assault in Sterling, VA—Counselors and Therapists
When the #metoo movement went viral, many people learned that they were not alone. Others had experienced sexual harassment or sexual assault as well. Many people learned that the pain of sexual violence is widespread. Yes, there were celebrity faces of the movement, but mostly, normal men and women raised their voices. Many people also learned that sexual assault teaches many lies to its victims but that it is possible to fight for the truth. It is important for victims to hear truths like… You did not provoke the assault… it was not your fault… you can speak openly about what happened to you… you are strong… healing is possible. Each victim has a unique healing journey, but therapy is often a part of that process. Therapists who understand sexual trauma can often be vital guides toward effective treatments. If you have experienced a sexual assault, consider reaching out. Consider going to therapy for victims of sexual violence.
“I can be changed by what happens to me,
but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
— Maya Angelou
The therapists at Thriveworks Sterling have helped many victims of sexual violence find the healing and wholeness that they deserve. We know that sexual assault can harm an individual physically, emotionally, and psychologically, and we seek to offer holistic care as our clients heal.
Sexual Violence Statistics
Talking about sexual violence is not easy, but it is important. Whether they have experienced sexual assault directly or not, people should know what it is and how often it can occur. Empathy often starts with an accurate understanding. Sexual violence is a big umbrella, and it may include things like rape, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, incest, sexual assault, and more. Here is a brief definition of each:
- Rape – when an individual is coerced or forced into performing a sexual act on themselves or another person. It can include oral sex and penetration of any kind.
- Child Sexual Abuse – because children are incapable of consenting to sex, any sexual contact or act (including showing pornography to or exposing oneself to a child) is considered child sexual abuse.
- Sexual Harassment – Unwelcomed and/or inappropriate talk that has sexual overtones, requests for sexual favors, or sexual advances are all considered sexual harassment.
- Intimacy Partner Sexual Violence – When sexual assault, sexual harassment, or rape is carried out by a girlfriend, boyfriend, or spouse, it is also considered intimacy partner sexual violence.
- Incest – When sexual assault or rape is carried out by a family member, it is considered incest.
- Sexual Assault – Unwanted groping, sexual touch, or fondling is considered sexual assault, as is attempted rape.
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) has compiled some powerful but difficult statistics about where, to whom, and how often sexual violence occurs in the US:
- Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted.
- 55 percent of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home.
- 12 percent occur at or near a relative’s home.
- People ages 18-36 are most at risk for sexual harassment or assault.
- 1 in 6 women are the victims of an attempted or completed rape.
- 7 percent of sexual assaults happen at school.
- 10 percent of rape victims are male.
- 12 percent of sexual assault victims are working when it occurs.
Sexual Assault’s Effects
When people experience sexual violence, they have often experienced a severe form of trauma. In some respects, everyone experiences trauma in a unique way. In other respects, there are patterns to the harm that trauma can cause. Many victims of sexual assault report physical as well as psychological/emotional effects from what they have endured.
- Psychological and Emotional Effects. Not all wounds can be seen. Not all wounds bleed. Many victims of sexual violence report that the emotional and psychological effects are extremely painful. Victims can develop Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and with it, they may experience flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, and nightmares. Victims also may experience other challenges to their mental health—anxiety, depression, insomnia, eating disorders, and more. To cope with the pain, they may even resort to self-harm or experience suicide ideation.
- Physical Effects. Victims can become injured during a sexual assault in innumerable ways. Their bodies are often in danger, and they may have cuts, broken bones, bruises, and more. There will likely be sexual injuries as well. Victims may become infection with a sexually transmitted disease. They may also become pregnant.
Healing from Sexual Violence—Choosing a Therapist
The effects of sexual assault can be devastating, but the healing that can take place in a survivor’s life can be beautiful. Many survivor’s work with a therapist after they have been sexually assaulted. Here are a few ways to choose one:
- Ask about their previous experience counseling victims of sexual violence.
- Inquire about what therapeutic methods they utilize.
- Trust your gut: It is important that you feel comfortable with your therapist.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Sterling
If you have been sexually assaulted, know that what happened to you was not your fault. Know that it is possible to feel whole and safe again. If you are ready to meet with a therapist, know that the mental health professionals are Thriveworks Sterling are ready too. When you contact our office, you may have an appointment within 24 hours. Scheduling specialists answer our phone so you will never be sent to voicemail. We accept many different forms of insurance, and we offer evening and weekend appointments. Let’s work together. Call Thriveworks Sterling.