Recovering from Rape: Surviving the “Aftershock”

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Tips for healing

Rape is more than simply a trauma; it is a life long ordeal with continual distress.  The forced sex takes away control, forces extreme violation, causes physical pains, and creates severe emotional trauma.  Recovering from such a traumatic incident can be challenging and life altering.  Some people find themselves reaching out to others for support and comfort.  Others may hold things in, shut down, numb-out, or even become self destructive.  All of which are ways in which the body is saying, “I am hurting. I need to feel safe. I need to heal.”

recovering from rapeThe aftermath can be painful, lonely, and overwhelming.   The body remembers trauma and needs to heal by regrouping, reorganizing, and gaining a sense of control again.

The rape happened, now what?

You may not have had control for what happened, but you have the choice to gain control now and heal! You can…and will take control.

Here are a few things to help you gain control when recovering from rape:

  • Make a Rape Recovery and Empowerment Box: Here you can learn about making a box for your recovery.  Take steps to say goodbye to the trauma, process your emotions, and visually see the steps occurring.
  • Start therapy: I believe no one should go through recovery alone.  The rape can not only hurt you as an individual, it can also get in the way of having a healthy relationship emotionally and sexually.
  • Encouraging Music: One of my favorite musicians, Jack Pryor, wrote a song about encouragement and taking victory from sexual abuse.  He has kindly offered this song to be downloaded for free to help you and others through the healing process.
  • Journal: Many thoughts may run through your mind.  Take a proactive approach and put your emotions onto paper.  Dump it there…and start to make sense of it.
  • Get your partner on board: Your partner needs to understand the emotional impact the rape had on you.  Find ways to share your thoughts, feelings, and fears.
  • Self defense class: Take a self defense class where you feel confident in defending yourself.

About Jennine Estes, MFT

Think of me as your relationship consultant, I'm your neutral third party that can help you untangle the emotions and help you figure out what's really going on. I am a Marriage and Family Therapist in San Diego, CA. Certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy for Couples. Supervisor. I write relationship and self growth advice for my column Relationships in the Raw. Creator of #BeingLOVEDIs campaign. MFC#47653