In therapy, you may learn new coping skills, ways to deal with your feelings, and strategies for managing stress. You can also explore thoughts that you might not say out loud to a friend or family member. Look for a Therapist that has experience in the field of Sexual Violence. Ask about their experience working with survivors of sexual assault and how they’ve helped them overcome issues specific to this kind of trauma.
Call your insurance company to find out which therapy providers are covered by your insurance plan. Many insurance websites have a locator function to help find support near you.
Having someone you can reach out to for support can be an important part of staying safe and recovering. Find someone you trust who could respond to a crisis if you needed their help. Create several plausible reasons for leaving the house at different times or for existing situations that might become dangerous. Have these on hand in case you need to get away quickly.
Create a code word, It might be a code between you and your children that means “get out,” or with your support network that means “I need help.”
Pack a bag that includes all important papers and documents, If it’s discovered, call it a “hurricane bag” or “fire bag.” If you are escaping with children, include their identifying information as well.
How loved ones can help:
Avoid phrases that suggest they’re taking too long to recover such as, “You’ve been acting like this for a while now,” or “How much longer will you feel this way?”
It can be difficult to watch a survivor struggle with the effects of sexual assault for an extended period of time.
Check in with the survivor to remind them you still care about their well-being and believe their story. The event may have happened a long time ago, but that doesn’t mean the pain is gone.
Become familiar with resources you can recommend to a survivor, such as the National Sexual Assault Hotline 800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org. You’re a strong supporter, but that doesn’t mean you’re equipped to manage someone else’s health. Be careful not to interpret calmness as a sign that the event did not occur—everyone responds to traumatic events differently. The best thing you can do is to believe them.
It’s not always easy to know what to say when someone tells you they’ve been sexually assaulted, especially if they are a friend or family member. For a survivor, disclosing to someone they care about can be very difficult, so we encourage you to be as supportive and non-judgmental as possible.
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We also help Victims Nationwide throughout the United States.