Sexual assault can be devastating, yet it is entirely possible to recover. Here are a few steps you can take on the journey to healing.
Don't blame yourself. Blaming oneself for a sexual assault is one the most difficult and recurrent obstacles that survivors face. However, it is important that you know it was not your fault. Ultimately, the blame for sexual assault rests with the perpetrator. When you experience feelings of self-blame, remind yourself again and again of this fact. It was not your fault.
Be patient with yourself. Sexual assault is traumatic and it takes time to heal. Think of recovery from sexual violence as a journey, rather than a destination. As difficult as the journey is, there will be times when you will come face to face with the amazing resilience of your own spirit!
Reach out for help. At your own pace, seek help in your recovery. Contact Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Services through our helpline, and know that our other programs are available to assist with your healing journey, including help with filing protection orders and accompaniment to meetings with legal, law enforcement, and medical professionals. It may also be helpful to work with a mental health professional who has special training in helping survivors of sexual assault.
Keep a running list of things you enjoy doing, and/or things that help you relax. Add to your list when you think of something new. Brainstorm! No matter how silly an idea may initially sound, it might spark another idea that is helpful. Also, make a list of friends and others you can call on for support. During those times that you're feeling overhwhelmed, go to your list. It can be helpful to have something concrete to refer to, when your mind is in turmoil.
Take care of your body. When we experience mental and emotional distress, we sometimes forget to take care of our bodies. This can contribute to even more distress! Eating well, and getting enough rest and exercise helps to keep the body strong - and this also supports our mental and emotional recovery. Remember to seek medical support as necessary.
Recognize your strengths. You are strong and resilient. You are a survivor! This is something to celebrate! Remind yourself of this, and reach out to friends and other supporters who will also remind you of your good qualities and strengths.
These are only a few ways to help with your recovery, and we can help you discover more. When you feel ready, call our helpline at
1-800-871-7741, or access our other services by calling the office nearest you.