When Sexual Assault Survivors Speak Out

A significant number of famous women, including federal and state senators and congresswomen, and a few men, have recently begun speaking out about sexual assault and harassment. Fortified by the strength in numbers, their allegations are being taken seriously and not swept under the proverbial carpet or ignored by those in positions of power.

If you are a survivor who has grappled with the ramifications of sexual assault, it may be difficult to hear or read victims’ stories in the news. If by hearing the details you are being triggered, you have the option not to read about them, turn off the radio or mute the television. If you have not before been in therapy, now might be the time to get some help.

If these stories bring up uncomfortable memories and you feel you might have been assaulted in childhood, it is a good idea to seek the help of a therapist. There are numerous signs and symptoms, and psychological disorders associated with sexual abuse. Some of these include: trust issues in relationships, fear of intimacy, codependency, outbursts and anger management, low self-esteem, panic attacks, depression, harming your body, and addictions.

Making a correlation between sexual abuse and the aforementioned signs, may give you a form of relief, or an ah ha moment, Oh, this is why I’ve been angry and depressed my entire life, or This is why I drink too much and blackout. Still, it is not easy to deal with the sudden or gradual realization that you’ve been sexually abused as a child. That’s why getting professional help is vital to healing.

Perhaps you are unsure what to say to a friend or family member who confides in you about sexual assault, rape or harassment. Being a good listener and offering reassurance is the best thing you can do. Let them know you believe them and love them, and emphasize the courage it took for them to tell you. Tell them you are sorry this happened, they are not to blame and they are not alone. Let them know that you can help them find a good therapist.

Shame and guilt can accompany sexual assault whether it happened recently or years ago. Likewise alcohol, drug and food addiction are prevalent where abuse is concerned. By getting treatment for addiction you are choosing to take back your life and find healthy and lasting coping skills for the suffering caused by sexual abuse.

Recovery is possible. Call Infinity Malibu today for information on our private residential treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health: 888-266-9048

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