Therapy for Sexual Assault Victims—Therapists in Westborough, MA
Social media exploded in 2017 with the #metoo movement that brought attention to the prevalence of sexual assault. More and more people joined the movement and voiced their experiences that may or may not have been voiced previously. Celebrities may have amplified the movement, but mostly ordinary, everyday men and women brought attention to how widespread the problem can be. The #metoo movement also shined a light on how people who have experienced a sexual assault. Survivors of sexual assault heard healing truths like… you did not provoke this… you are not alone… you can speak about what happened to you… help is available. Many survivors of sexual assault find the help they need through therapy. Skilled counselors understand the trauma sexual assault brings into people’s lives and what a healing path can look like. If you have lived through the violation of a sexual assault, consider seeking help. Therapy for sexual assault victims may be a healing next step for you.
“I can be changed by what happens to me,
but I refuse to be reduced by it.”
— Maya Angelou
The therapists at Thriveworks Westborough have walked with many people who experienced a sexual assault. We have seen many people process what happened to them so that they can move forward with their lives.
Sexual Violence: Sobering Statistics
Thinking about sexual violence is not pleasant or easy, but it is important. Sexual assault can leave victims questioning reality and feeling isolated. A critical part of healing is feeling empowered to know what happened and to speak about what happened. Defining sexual assault and understanding its prevalence may be helpful in that process. Here is a brief definition of the different forms that sexual violence can take.
- Rape performing a sexual act upon another person or having them perform one without their consent. Penetration of any kind, including oral sex, without consent is considered rape.
- Sexual Harassment includes any unwanted solicitations for sexual favors, sexual advances, and sexually-toned verbal harassment.
- Child Sexual Abuse because children cannot consent to sex, any sexual activity, exposure, or harassment between an adult and a child is child sexual abuse.
- Sexual Assault is defined as any form of unwanted sexual touch, fondling, or groping as well as attempted rape.
- Incest is rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse where the perpetrator is a member of the family.
- Intimacy Partner Sexual Violence can occur when sexual violence comes from a spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend.
The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN) has studied sexual violence in the US and found that…
- 10 percent of rape victims are male.
- 55 percent of sexual assaults occur at or near the victim’s home.
- 12 percent occur at or near a relative’s home.
- Every 98 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted.
- 1 in 6 women are the victims of an attempted or completed rape.
- People ages 18-36 are most at risk for sexual harassment or assault.
- 12 percent of sexual assault victims are working when it occurs.
- 7 percent of sexual assaults occur at school.
Potential Harm from Sexual Assault
Everyone responds to the trauma of sexual assault differently. And yet, there are common themes that survivors of sexual violence report feeling. Some of that harm is physical, and some is emotional/psychological.
- Physical Harm. Sexual violence is so much more, but at its most basic level, it is a physical attack. During the assault, victims may be injured and sustain cuts, bruises, broken bones, and more. Victims may also become infected with a sexual transmitted disease or become pregnant.
- Emotional and Psychological Harm. Physical harm is a common problem that sexual violence can cause but so is emotional/psychological harm. For example, victims often report dealing with deep-seated feelings of shame after the attack, blaming themselves for what they may have done to provoke the attack or may not have done to stop the attack. Even though they know logically that what happened to them was not their fault, victims often have a difficult time feeling it. Victims also frequently report experiencing depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. They may also experience eating or sleeping challenges, self-harm behavior, or even suicide ideation.
Healing and Moving Forward
Anyone who has lived through sexual violence deserves support and healing. Many people find that healing in therapy. If you are ready to go to counseling, here are a few tips for finding a good fit for you…
- Before scheduling an appointment, ask about the counselor’s past experiences helping victims of sexual violence. Understanding what sexual violence is and the harm it can cause is important.
- Inquire about what type of therapy the counselor offers. Trauma-Informed Dialectical Behavior Therapy (TIDBT) and Trauma-Informed Cognitive Behavior Therapy (TICBT) are just two examples.
- If you decide to schedule an appointment, know that it is important that you feel safe and comfortable. The therapist’s personality and style should help you feel at home.
Scheduling an Appointment at Thriveworks Westborough for Sexual Assault Victims
If you want to speak to a counselor about what happened to you, consider reaching out to Thriveworks Westborough. We have appointments available for sexual assault victims. When you call our office to schedule a session, a real person (not a voicemail) will answer your call and help you make an appointment. You may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We accept a variety of insurance plans, and weekend and evening appointments are offered. Call today.