Healing from Sexual Trauma

Oftentimes in life we will find healing in the comfort of our peers. Encouraging survivors to talk with others can ease the sense of isolation and help survivors gain information and tools on how to cope with the effects of sexual violence and work toward healing. Talking with others will help them process feelings of guilt and shame that many survivors experience.

Even if a person intellectually understands that they are not to blame for the assault, they may still struggle with a sense of guilt or shame. When a person can connect with others who support them it will be easier to fully accept that they are not responsible. 

It can be frightening for survivors to get back in touch with their body and feelings, following a sexual trauma. For some survivors their body feels disconnected from them, in a way; like now that it’s been a place of violence, they no longer what it to be part of themselves.  This can result in body harm, such as cutting, or even putting themselves in high risk situations again because ‘the worst’ has happened to them already.  It’s scary to face the intense feelings associated with the assault, but while the process of reconnecting may feel painful, it’s crucial to healing from an assault. The true danger to a survivor’s physical and mental health comes from avoiding those feelings and not getting mental health services to help process them.

Useful Resources

There are many resources to help find your local services. We recommend contacting your local rape crisis services to get recommendations for services close to you.  Additionally there are these hotlines:

  • National Teen Dating Abuse Hotline:
    • Text LOVEIS to 22522 or speak to a peer advocate at 1-866-331-9474
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline:
    • 1-800-273-8255
  • Trevor Lifeline(for LGBTQ* youth):
    • 1-866-488-7386 
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:

We also encourage survivors and their families to look into EMDR (eye movement desensitization processing) treatment.  To find a therapist near you, search generally online or here.

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