Sexual Assault Awareness

sexual assault awareness

April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Coping with sexual assault is a difficult process, and it can be hard to deal with to say the least. We want to address this subject with some suggestions, compassion and support.

Sexual Assault Awareness

Sexual assault can be defined as any sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the victim. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men experience sexual violence at some point in their lives. So the reality is, you or someone you know has been a victim of some form of sexual assault.

Assault of this nature can take one of many forms. Some include:

  • Attempted rape
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex
  • Rape—penetration of the victim’s body

Force does not always refer to “physical force.” Psychological force, such as coercion or manipulation, may also be used to force victims into non-consensual sex. Perpetrators may use threats or intimidation as well, and this can add to the trauma.

women and sexual assault

What if you have been a victim of sexual assault?

So many victims don’t ever seek treatment. Some individuals think of their assault as “too minor” to matter. Or maybe that it happened “too long ago”, and there are others who are embarrassed or ashamed to tell their stories. Additionally, some individuals don’t think they need help.  Or even know how to get it if they do.

What is the psychological impact of sexual assault?

Psychological impact of an assault varies from victim to victim. Individuals assaulted by a stranger may experience excessive fear, and victims attacked by someone they know may experience ongoing trust issues.

Whatever you are feeling is ok and normal for you. Also, there is no specific timeline for when you should feel better. All victims’ experiences are unique.

There are often feelings of confusion, shame, and guilt. A survivor of sexual assault may feel guilty for not stopping the assault. Individuals may worry about what others will think.  They may possibly blame themselves. We are here to remind you that it is NEVER the victim’s fault.

coping with sexual assault

How can I cope with sexual assault?

Victims of assault are at a much higher risk for depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and more because whether the assault happened yesterday or decades ago, it hurts. Counseling can assist you in coping with sexual assault.

We have therapists on staff at Waters Edge Counseling that are experienced and trained in working with victims of sexual assault. Therapy is a confidential, non-judgmental place to work through this situation. Our counselors can help you deal with your feelings because identifying new coping skills, and managing your stress and anxiety can benefit you.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, please reach out to us for help either at 912.319.5552 or at Waters Edge is here to help.