Regain your sense of control, rebuild your self-worth, and learn how to heal.
The trauma of your sexual assault does not have to define you.
After a sexual assault, it’s not uncommon to experience numbness or detachment from oneself or one’s own body. Some survivors may experience a feeling of inner turmoil, which may include an inability to feel “clean” or “wholesome.” Loss of appetite, hypervigilance, sensitivity to being startled, and sleep disturbances including vivid nightmares are common physical complaints. Common emotional reactions can include excessive feelings of guilt, shame, or feeling responsible for causing the sexual assault or not preventing the sexual assault. Sometimes survivors can experience strong feelings of anger. These reactions are normal and ways of coping with an atypical and traumatic event. You may feel alone and isolated and feel like no one can help.
Surviving and overcoming sexual assault can be a difficult and slow journey and may take time. Healing may not happen overnight. It may be hard to begin trusting others again or regain a sense of safety. It’s important to remember that what you’re experiencing is a normal reaction to trauma. Your feelings of helplessness, shame, defectiveness, and self-blame are symptoms, not reality. No matter how difficult it may seem, you can come to terms with what happened, regain your sense of safety and trust, and learn to heal and live a fulfilling and happy life. And most importantly, you do not have to do this alone or in silence.