How to recover from rape and sexual assault experience

It is important that we spotlight how to recover from rape given the rise in the curve of cases recorded every now and then. This is what this article is about: explore the common after-effect of rape and the healing processes.

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Taking into consideration the number of reported rape cases every year, we cannot overestimate the shocking rate at which sexual assault is becoming common in our society. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 1 in 5 women in the U.S. are raped or sexually assaulted at some point in their lives. The sad thing is, they are mostly victims in the hands of those who they know and trust. This figure is even higher in some Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries. However, sexual assault is not limited to only women as men and boys also suffer rape and sexual assault.

According to Wikipedia, rape is a traumatic experience that impacts its victims in a physical, psychological, and sociological way. Even though the effects and aftermath of rape differentiate among victims, individuals tend to suffer from similar issues found within these three categories.

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual assault, it’s necessary to understand that the feeling of helplessness, shame, defectiveness, and self-blame that comes after are only normal reactions to the trauma. They are never the reality as the case may be. And no matter how difficult it may seem, I guarantee that this article will provide you the answer on how to recover from rape, bring you to term with regaining your sense of safety and trust, then help you heal and move on with your life.

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How to recover from rape

Popular myths about rape and sexual assault

Before we delve further, let’s see some of the myths people create about rape, according to Help Guide. And for the record, please note that these myths below are unfounded and irrational on the side of those who believe in them. They are wrong in every sense of it.

  • You can spot a rapist by the way he looks or acts (myth).
  • If you didn’t fight back, you must not have thought it was that bad(myth).
  • People who are raped “ask for it” by the way they dress or act(myth).
  • Date rape is often a misunderstanding(myth).
  • It’s not rape if you’ve had sex with the person before(myth).

Rape is rape and it will never be justified by any excuse or reason anyone may try to give.

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Effect and aftermath of rape and sexual assault

I will love to highlight some common aftermath and effects of rape before we go deep in how to recover from rape. According to Wikipedia, the effects below are normal and can likely be faced by anyone who has been a victim of rape before.

Sexually transmitted diseases:

Research on women in shelters has shown that women who experience both sexual and physical abuse from intimate partners are significantly more likely to have had sexually transmitted disease

Pregnancy:

In 1982, Fertility and Sterility, the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, reported that the risk of pregnancy from a rape is the same as the risk of pregnancy from a consensual sexual encounter. In short, pregnancy most likely can result from rape.

Vaginismus:

This is a condition affecting a woman’s ability to engage in any form of vaginal penetration.

Anxiety:

After an attack, rape survivors experience heightened anxiety and fear. According to Dean G. Kilpatrick, a distinguished psychologist, survivors of rape have high levels of anxiety and phobia-related anxiety.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder:

Many survivors of rape have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, according to The National Victim Center and the Crime Victim’s Research and Treatment Center .

Depression:

A study found that women who were raped were more depressed than women who were not. The study measured the level of depression using the Beck Depression Inventory test, and concluded that forty-five percent of the women assessed in the study were moderately or severely depressed.

Self-blame:

Self-blame is among the most common of both short- and long-term effects and functions as an avoidance coping skill that inhibits the healing process and can often be remedied by a cognitive therapy technique known as cognitive restructuring.

Suicide:

Survivors of rape are more likely to attempt or commit suicide.

Note that the physical effects highlighted above (STDs, Pregnancy, Vaginismus) can be resolved by doctors and relevant health officials. Which is why it’s recommended to visit the hospital immediately for appropriate steps to be taken.

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How to recover from rape and sexual assault

With all honesty, one of the most difficult things about recovering from rape is that not every victim wants to talk about it. There is, one way or the other, a stigma attached, which is why a larger per cent of rape victims would never admit to it ordinarily. But when you stay silent, you deny yourself help and reinforce your victimhood. The highlighted solutions below are best recommended for every victim on how to recover from rape, sexual assaults and the after-effect phycological traumas.

Reach out to someone you trust:

It’s common to think that if you don’t talk about your rape, it didn’t really happen. But you can’t heal when you’re avoiding the truth. Find someone supportive, empathetic, and calm. to talk to.

Challenge your sense of helplessness and isolation

Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. Remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills by reaching out to others, volunteering your time and even giving blood.

How to recover from rape

Stay away from feelings of guilt and shame

You need to understand that you are not to blame for rape or sexual assault. Do away from wrong thoughts and misconceptions such as;

  • You didn’t stop the assault from happening
  • You trusted someone you “shouldn’t” have
  • You were drunk or not cautious enough.

Remember that you did not bring the assault on yourself and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

Get ready for flashbacks

Whenever scenes of the incidence flash into your head, accept and reassure yourself that this is a flashback, not reality. Although you can’t prevent flashbacks but always reassure yourself of what it is: mere flashbacks.

Participate in social activities

Even if you don’t feel like it. Do “normal” things with other people, things that have nothing to do with sexual trauma.

Reconnect with old friends:

If you’ve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect.

Make new friends:

If you live alone or far from family and friends, try to reach out and make new friends. Take a class or join a club to meet people with similar interests, connect to an alumni association, or reach out to neighbors or work colleagues.

Be smart about media consumption:

Avoid watching any program that could trigger bad memories or flashbacks. This includes obvious things such as news reports about sexual violence and sexually explicit TV shows and movies.

Avoid alcohol and drugs:

Avoid the temptation to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Substance use worsens many symptoms of trauma, including emotional numbing, social isolation, anger, and depression.

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Further help on rape and sexual assault:

You can download copies of these ebooks below, they give further insight on how to recover from rape:

Rape and sexual assault hotlines:

  • In the U.S., a confidential, free 24/7 hotline for one-on-one crisis support. Call 1-800-656-HOPE or chat online. (RAINN)
  • In England and Wales, call the rape crisis helpline at 0808-802-9999 or find your nearest facility (Rape Crisis)
  • In Australia, call the national helpline at 1800-737-732 or find services near you. (1800RESPECT)
  • In Canada, find a hotline or crisis centre near you. (Canadian Women’s Health Network)

Reference: Wikipedia, Melinda Smith, M.A. and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. from Help Guide

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