After a sexual assault, the victim is left to pick up the pieces of his/her lives and often doesn’t know where to begin or what to do. It doesn’t matter if the assault, including childhood sexual abuse, occurred, one month ago, one year ago, or even 20 years ago! The pain can be raw, and you may wonder if you’ll ever feel better and if things will be normal again. Yes, you will feel better eventually, and yes, you will create a new normal for your life. There is hope after a sexual assault and childhood sexual abuse, especially if you are intentional in your healing. Here are a few strategies that will help to alleviate the pain you feel as a victim, and then take a look at the video which details each of these tips:

  • Don’t feel pressured to share your experience publicly
    • If you do share, be mindful with whom you disclose this information.
  • Consider speaking to a counselor, someone in a sexual assault or sexual abuse support group
  • You may feel compelled to file a report with your local law enforcement agency or contacting the Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673
  • Stay connected to your social support or village. It’s easy to isolate, but spend time with positive, supportive people that you enjoy.
  • If you find yourself being overwhelmed by news coverage or are easily triggered, give yourself permission to disconnect from social media, the news, documentaries, or other outlets where the emphasis is on sexual assault.
    • Change the notifications on your phone or social media outlet
    • Schedule 10 minutes a day to scroll, or turn away all together.
  • After an assault, your power and control was taken away from you. Control what you can now such as your eating, exercise, social connections, etc.
  • Engage in creative expression such as doodling, painting, making pottery or jewelry, cooking, sewing, etc.
  • Reduce stress through strength training, kickboxing, cardio, jogging, etc.
  • Practice relaxation through yoga, Tai-Chi, meditation, or taking a hot bath
  • Find a positive and healthy hobby
  • Write a letter to the perpetrator describing how you feel about what he/or she did to you or draw a picture about it. It’s up to you whether or not you give him/her the letter/picture.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings.
  • Remind yourself that you have survived, that you are a survivor, and that you are safe. Know that you will feel better and in control again. It may take some time, but you are resilient and will get through it. Remember, you are not alone, and you will get through it! Reach out and get the support that you deserve when you’re ready.