The following suggestions come from people who have lived through sexual assault and are doing well.
If you’ve been sexually abused or assaulted:
- Remember, you are not alone. Other people have been through this and made it out the other side. You can, too.
- Reach out. Tell someone what happened. Talk with a counselor, friend, teacher, parent or clergy person. Or call one of the confidential helplines now. Keep telling until you find the support you want and need.
- Don’t take on the blame. When a child is molested by an adult, the adult is responsible, no matter what the child did, said or felt at the time. If a person of any age forces sex on another, that is rape.
- Be kind to yourself. Accept that you may feel fear, rage, sadness, shame or guilt. Or not feel much at all. What happened can affect your thoughts about yourself, other people, or your own sexuality. These feelings and thoughts are normal after rape or abuse. Healing lets you work through them so that you can be in charge of your life and your future.
- Find ways to tell your story. Draw, write, sing. Putting your experience outside of yourself is an excellent way to help yourself heal.
- Get outside. Walk, run, ride a bike. Get in touch with nature. When you are physically active, you feel better.
- Know that you can heal. No matter when the assault occurred, even if it was years ago, healing is always possible. Look for a counselor who is trained to help sexual abuse survivors. Call your local Rape Crisis center or a national helpline for referrals.