Sexual Trauma Healing
In the summer of 2013, my life was changed forever when I was raped. The 2 years to follow were the most excruciating of my life as I pursued healing thru a counselor, books, leaning on God & those close to me.
Once I reached a place where I could help others, I began volunteer counseling survivors. Through my experience and helping others, I learned that sharing your story is the most powerful and healing thing you can do.
I also learned dealing with others' reactions and misconceptions, can be extremely painful.
Therefore I created a FREE resource for survivors and one for supporters of survivors.
Thankfully, there are so many great resources out in the world. Here are just a few to help survivors:
Online Chat or Phone Call
Click to access RAINN's (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) online chat or call their hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Both are available 24/7, confidential, and in English and Spanish.
The HERE Podcast brings stories and tools to help you reclaim your power & reconnect with your mind and body after abuse. Through interviews, resource sharing and more, host Felicia Conner gives people a platform to share their story.
Online Support Group
Journey to Heal Ministries helps women heal from past sexual trauma by leading them to hope and healing found in Jesus Christ. By providing helpful resources, Biblical mentoring, as well as life-giving support and community, they help women go from beyond merely surviving their past trauma to thriving in the abundant life they were created to live.
Information on a Sexual Assault Kit (aka Rape Kit)
A kit is something to seriously consider. The formal name of it is a sexual assault forensic exam. It is an invasive and emotionally difficult process, but the findings of a kit could play a significant role if you decide to press charges. Keep in mind, this is your decision, and you need to do what is right for you. RAINN has a lot of helpful information regarding kits here to help you with our decision. Also, you can check out this podcast episode where I interviewed a nurse who conducts these exams by clicking here.
For those in the USA, a great resource for navigating justice is located here on RAINN's website. You can also enter the state where the crime took place here, and it will provide the following details for that state: the state's definitions of rape and sexual assault crimes, mandatory reporting, the criminal statute of limitations, confidentiality laws, and more.
To avoid being triggered when watching movies, I use the IMDb website to see if there are scenes of sexual trauma in a movie I am considering watching. IMDb lets viewers detail the specific content in a movie that may be problematic for children to see. These details are also helpful for survivors not wanting to see triggering scenes. Not all movies have this information, but the majority do.
On the site, search for and click on the movie you want to watch. Then scroll halfway down to "Parents Guide." If there is a link entitled "View Content Advisory," then details have been written on the movie. Click the link to see the content detailed. FYI, be careful because the scenes are often described in great detail. One suggestion is to have a friend to read the descriptions and let you know if there is anything potentially triggering.
The following songs were of great comfort and/or hope to me during the most difficult times in the aftermath of my assault. Not every lyric of each song applies, but there were lyrics in each that did express what I was feeling inside, and usually would lead to a good and needed release of tears and emotions.
Be Still by The Fray - On the most difficult nights, I would play this song over and over again while crying myself to sleep. It portrays the image of being held, being known, and not being alone. Whether that image for you is God or someone else, I hope it will be of comfort to you too.
Sons and Daughters by North Point InsideOut - This song has a couple lines that really hit me when battling the mental struggles. It says "When the lies speak louder than the truth, remind me I belong to You. When I can't see the past the dark of night, remind You're always by my side." As survivors, we have to face such a difficult mental battle with lies swarming in our heads, so those lines became a prayer for me.
Praying by Kesha
Skyscraper by Demi Lovato
Warrior by Demi Lovato
Tell Your Heart to Beat Again by Danny Gokey
Broken by Lifehouse
Need You Now by Plumb
All I Can Say by David Crowder Band
Just Be Held by Casting Crowns
Held by Natalie Grant
The Hurt and the Healer by Casting Crowns
If We've Ever Needed You by Casting Crowns
Worn by Tenth Avenue North
Find You Here by Ellie Holcomb
Beautiful Things by Gungor
Airport Security can potentially be a retraumatizing experience for some. Years after being raped, I went through an airport scanner and was told they needed to do a "pat-down." The TSA officer asked if they could perform it here or if I wanted a private screening. I quietly told her I had been sexually assaulted before and would like a private screening. She, another TSA officer, and I went to a private room where she conducted the pat-down. The entire time she talked to me to help keep my mind calm. RAINN has a great webpage here with helpful information so you can know the options you have when going through airport security.
The following books are ones either I, or others helping survivors, have read and recommended. Most are Christian based, but they have a wealth of helpful information for anyone recovering from sexual trauma, regardless of their faith perspective. (Most of the book links will take you to Amazon where you can purchase the book. These are Amazon affiliate links. which means I get a small percentage of the sale, but it does not affect how much you are charged.)
On the Threshold of Hope by Diane Mandt Langberg, Ph.D - This book helped me the most. It is geared a little more towards survivors of child sexual abuse, but it still spoke volumes to me even though my assault occurred at the age of 34.
Sexual Abuse (Beauty for Ashes) by Robert W Kellemen - Although a tiny booklet, this had some really good thoughts for me to process through.
Journey to Heal by Crystal Sutherland - This is written by my friend whose non-profit Journey to Heal has helped numerous women around the world. She has book groups that meet in person at different times of the year in Wilmington, NC, as well as online groups.
I have not read the following books but I have heard they have been incredibly helpful: