Recovering from rape: 4 ways for women to heal

It’s not uncommon for women who have been sexually assaulted to feel uncomfortable using the word “rape”.

There’s a stigma attached to it, which often makes the victim feel they’re somehow tainted or damaged if they say it aloud.

This is why it’s important to reiterate that rape is never, ever the victim’s fault. It’s a crime and one which requires a great deal of time and patience to heal if you’re the victim.

In this blog, we’re going to look at five ways survivors of sexual assault can move forward.

1. Acknowledgement

Say you’ve been raped. Say it aloud.

It can be a scary thing to do, but the more you say it, the more empowering it is likely to become.

You don’t even have to tell anyone – just tell yourself. Then, if you feel comfortable reaching out to others, be selective about whom you tell. For you, that might be a very close friend, one of your parents or a therapist.

A rape crisis centre like NRC is also a good choice, if you want to speak to an experienced, partial advisor.

2. Be kind to yourself

You’ll experience countless emotions after sexual assault. They may come in waves and will often be completely unexpected, but the more you allow yourself to feel those emotions, the quicker the bad ones will pass.

It’s also important to do things that make you happy. If that involves seeing certain friends more, or indulging in your favourite hobby more often – go for it. Be kind to yourself!

3. Learn from other people’s experiences

It can help to learn about the experiences of other women who have been sexually assaulted.

Your experience was unique, because there’s only one of you, but the feelings you’ve encountered since and the crime that was committed will have been experienced by others.

There are some fantastic books and support groups you can turn to, but also loads of online content to delve into. Go find it, and lean on the experiences of others.

4. Write a journal

Although it’s important to surround yourself with loved ones when recovering from sexual violence, it’s important to remember that this is personal trauma you’re dealing with.

For that reason, you might find it helpful to start writing a journal. A daily recap of your thoughts, feelings and emotions is a great way to let it out and discover how you feel about your recovery.

Final thought

This blog is intended for women who have been sexually assaulted, but it’s important to note that everyone’s experience following rape is different. The way in which you heal may differ from others, but the advice above will hopefully prove useful, no matter where you are in your journey.

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