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Recovering from rape and sexual trauma

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Open up about what happened to you

1.

Reach out to someone you trust

2.

Challenge your sense of helplessness and isolation

3.

Consider joining a support group

Cope with feelings of guilt and shame

Even if you intellectually understand that you’re not to blame for the rape or sexual attack, you may still struggle with a sense of guilt or shame. These feelings can surface immediately following the assault or arise years after the attack. But as you acknowledge the truth of what happened, it will be easier to fully accept that you are not responsible. You did not bring the assault on yourself and you have nothing to be ashamed about.

Prepare for flashbacks and upsetting memories

To reduce the stress of flashbacks and upsetting memories:
1. Try to anticipate and prepare for triggers
2. Pay attention to your body’s danger signals
3. Take immediate steps to self-soothe
4. Accept and reassure yourself that this is a flashback, not reality
5. Ground yourself in the present

Reconnect to your body and feelings

Once you’re back in touch with your body and feelings, you will feel more safe, confident, and powerful. You can achieve this through the following techniques:
1. Rhythmic movement
2. Mindfulness meditation
3. Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong
4. Massage

Stay connected

Having fun and laughing with people who care about you can be equally healing. Some ways to connect with others include:
1. Participating in social activities
2. Reconnecting with old friends
3. Making new friends

Nurture yourself

1.

Take time to rest and restore your body’s balance

2.

Be smart about media consumption

3.

Take care of yourself physically

4.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Help someone recover from rape or sexual trauma

1.

Let your loved one know that you still love them

2.

Allow your loved one to open up at their own pace

3.

Encourage your loved one to seek help, but don’t pressurise

4.

Show empathy and caution about physical intimacy

5.

Take care of yourself

6.

Be patient

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