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The Survivor’s Guide To Developing Mental Strength To Recover From A Sexual Assault


The Survivor’s Guide To Developing Mental Strength To Recover From A Sexual Assault


Being sexually assaulted can be devastating for anyone. The gruesome feeling of being robbed, sinking feeling of being ruled by some perpetrator that kills you from inside. And you become fragile in the constant fear of getting assaulted again.

Also, there’s this dilemma of whether or not to talk about the horrific act to someone. And who to talk it out to. There might be people who would support you from the front, while many would do it passively.

You may also come across people who would refrain themselves from talking to you, fearing they might say something that may add more to your sorrows.

But during all this while it is YOU who has to be your biggest supporter. Standing tall and firm. Physical pains recuperate their way out. The only thing that you strive a recovery for is the mental state of mind.

How do you recover from sexual assault?

Proper counselling and time can help recover to certain extent, but the horror of the assault might still stay with the survivor like a scar of xenophobia. But remember that you are NOT alone. You are NEVER alone. And that a sexual assault can happen irrespective of your gender.

This post is attempted to guide you through the orifice of gloom to the sunniness of a vivacious life.

What is a Sexual Assault?

You know you have been sexually assaulted, if you have been involuntarily forced to be involved in a sexual act by one or more persons. This may include rape, groping, child abuse, forced kissing and more. Any applied sexual persuasion is sexual assault.

What do I do immediately after being sexually assaulted?

Go see a doctor even before washing yourself or cleaning your body with a shower. Make sure that you don’t allow the physical evidences to vanish. The proof will help you to turn the accuser into a convict under the court of law. Even if sometime later. This will help. Preserve your clothes as an evidence.

This sounds much easier than it actually is. We understand. It is important for you to undergo a medical check up. You do not have to go alone. It would take a one time courage for you to tell this to someone you could trust. As it is, having a supporter when you go see a doctor makes you feel a lot more at ease.

You may interrupt the doctor during any medical procedure to inquire about the process. Your doctor would understand your situation. You have all the right in the world to stop any medical procedure to be undergone.

Get yourself checked for any sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Like HIV/AIDS. It is very important to get STD’s diagnosed at an early and initial stage.

Never refrain yourself from talking anything you wish to tell to your doctor about your medical condition. Believe this, discussing can escape you off anything more disastrous.

What if I’m being a victim to the same abuser?

There are cases where the victim is abused sexually over and again by the same abuser. In this case, there is a possibility that the victim is for any reason suppressed by the abuser. The one abused is afraid/weak to fight for his or her own self and is threatened by the accused for some personal or other reason.

Here it is very important to learn that the accuser’s will to abuse you is fueled only by the way the victim reacts. If at the very first attack, you revoke, it will for sure affect the abuser. Acting passively or not reacting at all will only reinforce the accuser to repeat their actions again.

Am I to be blamed, since I failed to protect myself?

Once and for all, remember, it is only and only the fault of the accuser. You are absolutely not the one to bear the guilt for someone else’s deeds. It is not you who failed to defend yourself. Its the accuser who lost their moral and ethical conscience.

How do I manage myself emotionally after a sexual assault?

1. Talk it out

More than anything else, talking out can help you the most. Talking to a person worth trusting or family members, help you the most. Telling them all that happened will not do you any benefit. It will only refresh the harsh memories of the unfortunate day. Talk about how you feel post the assault. Thee feelings of fear. The fear of getting night mares. The feeling of not being alone. Never feel ashamed of asking someone to get your chores done. Never feel ashamed for asking a person to accompany you to the grocery shop. It is absolutely human and natural to be possessed by such feelings.

Talking to someone mature enough would be an added asset. Experiences of the elderly accounts to your benefits at such sour moments of life.

2. Chalk it out

Writing down the most pathetic feeling doesn’t sound pleasant. So you can write a blog post expressing the feelings overpowering you instead. Do not hesitate from doing so.

3. Seek Help

Check out for any police assistance. Check out what all aid you may seek for your justice, in case you decide to press charges against the accused.

  • Try and join a support group. To be amongst those who have been through the same trauma understands well, how you feel. Talking to the rape victims who recovered from sexual assault, helps. Benefit yourself from their experience. Talk to them about some specific feelings which you feel can not be comprehended by anyone else.
  • Try and contact individual assistance from a counsellor. They can judge your condition by the way you express to them. That’s their job. Do not worry. Do not keep yourself from telling them anything.

Do not rush any recovery process. Never compare your recovery time with others. Every one has a different recuperating time. You might take time but you will evolve as a survivor.

What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

PTSD is an extreme condition where the victim may experience terrifying feelings after being physically or sexually assaulted.

How do I know I’m suffering from PTSD?

You are suffering from PTSD if you:

  1. Get interrupting flashbacks of the assault or continuous dreams of the event.
  2. Get the feelings of being:
    • Irritated
    • Intense distress
    • Anxiety
    • Panic attacks
    • Stress
    • Sleep disturbance
    • Fear
    • Indecisive
    • Lacking concentration
  3. Feel you are a different person all together.
  4. Avoid people and places connected to the assault.
  5. Feel as if you are still being assaulted.

Talk to your doctor if you experience these feelings for a prolonged period of over a month or so.

How can exercising or dietary suggestions help me recover sexual assault?

Talking literally, it is your health that is assaulted. Be it mental or physical. Lay the most emphasis on taking care of your health.

Design a healthy eating plan as it helps to recover:

  1. Eat healthy. Plan your food right.
  2. Do not include sugar or coffee to your diet – they only deteriorate your stress level[1].
  3. Alcohol intake delays any medical treatment you would be undergoing. Avoid alcohol strictly. Don’t get addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you do, seek medical assistance immediately.
  4. Relaxing your mind and body is very important for you. Go for a massage. Read inspiring books. Listen to good music.
  5. Practice deep breathing and tap the power of “OM” in meditation and yoga.
  6. Daily physical exercise is a great stress busters. Follow an exercise regime or yoga to benefit you.
  7. Don’t get isolated. Stay social with friends and happily. And stay cheerful.
  8. Life is not black and white and not always colourful either. Therefore, what you require is a terrific fighting spirit. If you bounce back, you’ll be called a “Survivor” (and not a victim) and people around you will look up to you for your strength. Show them that you’re tough and you’re their inspiration.

[1] Sudano I, Spieker L, Binggeli C, Ruschitzka F, Lüscher TF, Noll G, Corti R. Coffee blunts mental stress-induced blood pressure increase in habitual but not in nonhabitual coffee drinkers. PubMed PMID: 16103273.

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