Healing from Sexual Assault


Trigger Warning

1. Healing Does not Depend on Whether or not the Perpetrator is Punished

Many people who were sexually assaulted never get any type of justice for what happened to them. If you are fortunate enough to have had your perpetrator punished judicially, it still won’t heal the wounds. Healing from sexual assault does not depend on whether or not your perpetrator was convicted for the sexual assault.

2. People Will Refuse to Believe You

I think this is the most upsetting aspect of being physically violated; the societal rejection stings quite a bit. It was only after seeking therapy that I realized how morally bankrupt some people are. Just because people are related to you, it doesn’t mean that they are good people with a good moral conscious. Some people care about their social currency in an area more than their own family members. Take your power back from people who deny your experience. You do not need anyone’s approval of your version of events to heal. And you really don’t need people like that in your life, anyway.

3. Whatever Happened, Forgive Yourself

As a victim of a sexual assault, you may feel partly to blame. You may think you should have fought. You may think you deserved to be assaulted because you drank too much or because you wore something revealing. No one has a right to violate you. You did not and will never deserve sexual abuse for anything you have done or have failed to do. People who commit sexual assaults are selfish and sick people.

4. You Don’t Have to Forgive

I hated that forgiveness was shoved onto me. I was already violated and then I was told that I had to forgive the person or that I would go to hell-basically. I was told that Jesus forgave our sins so we have to forgive the sins of others if we want to be Christ-like and go to heaven.

You don’t have to forgive anyone for anything if you don’t want to forgive them. It was only after I accepted that I can decide for myself, if I want to forgive or not, that I decided to forgive. This does not mean I want a relationship with my abuser. I just don’t care to think about him or his deserved punishment every day. I also don’t let his treatment of me determine how I view men, in general.

5. You are Stronger Than Your Abuser & the Deniers

You are resilient and you can overcome being sexually assaulted. You may have Post-Traumatic Disorder, but that doesn’t make you weak. Some of the strongest people in the world have mental health diagnoses.

6. Surround Yourself with Help

Don’t be afraid to talk with a therapist. There are even sexual assault therapy groups that you can join. Talking about the trauma, in a way that is comfortable to you, can help you. Surround yourself with people who care about your well-being and who want to help you overcome this very bad and painful experience.

7. Don’t Give up on Life

Don’t give up on your life. Life can still be a beautiful experience that you don’t want to miss out on. Ending your life prematurely will not heal the pain in your heart. You can wake up each day and finish the race at your natural pace. You are that strong!

You can heal from sexual assault. It doesn’t have to end your life or damage your ability to love and to be loved.

Photo by William Farlow on Unsplash

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