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, reading books, leaning on God and those close to me.
Once I reached a place where I could help others, I began volunteer counseling other 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 that dealing with others' reactions and misconceptions can be one of the most painful things to face.
Therefore I created a resource for survivors and one for supporters of survivors to help navigate both of those areas.
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 here to access -> RAINN's (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network) online chat. You also can call their hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Both are available 24/7, confidential, and available in English and Spanish.
Online Support Group
Journey to Heal Ministries endeavors to help women heal from past sexual trauma by leading them to the hope and healing found in Jesus Christ. By providing helpful resources, Biblical mentoring, and life-giving support and community we help women go beyond merely surviving their past to thriving in the abundant life they were created to live.
The HERE Podcast is a weekly show that brings you stories and tools to reclaim your power and reconnect with your mind and body after abuse. Through interviews, resource sharing and more, the host Felicia Conner gives people a platform to release their stories, taking away the power it has had over their lives.
use the IMDb website to see if there are scenes of sexual trauma in a movie I am considering watching. To use it, go to www.imdb.com, search and click on the movie of interest. Then scroll halfway down to "Parents Guide" under the "Storyline" heading. If there is a link beside "Parents Guide" entitled "View Content Advisory," then details have been written on the movie. Click the link, and you will see a list of content in the movie that may be concerning for children to watch. This information is written by viewers, and therefore it only exists for movies where someone has taken the time to write this information. FYI, do be careful reading this information because the scenes are often described in great detail. One idea is to ask a friend to read the descriptions and let you know if there is anything that would be troubling to you.
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
Information on a Sexual Assault Kit (aka Rape Kit)
A kit is something to give serious thought to having completed. Unfortunately, it is an incredibly invasive and emotionally difficult process, but it if you decide to have one done, and if you decide to report the crime, then the findings of this kit could play a significant role in the court case. However, remember this is your decision, and you need to do what is right for you. As much as a kit can potentially help a case, it is not an easy decision due to how difficult the entire process can be. RAINN has a lot of helpful information regarding kits here to help you with our decision.
For those in the USA, an additional great resource is located here on RAINN's website. On their website, enter the state where the crime has taken place, 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. RAINN also has a lot of information on reporting and the criminal justice system here.
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 an online groups.
When a Woman You Love Was Abused: A Husband's Guide to Helping Her Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation by Dawn Scott Jones - I have not read either of these books but I have heard they are incredibly helpful to partners trying to understand and care more for a spouse who has been abused.
When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman's Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation and also Healing the Wounded Heart: The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation by Dan B. Allender - I have not read this book but it comes recommended by many survivors