Nothing more painful

There is nothing more painful in this world then having to deal with it. The pain I feel cannot be described in words. It’s been 11 years since it happened, yet I still hear that voice, yet I still feel the touch. A woman who was not a human but a monster, no not a […]

DISSOCIATIVE IDENTITY DISORDER

Most mental health practitioners believe that dissociation exists on a continuum. At one end of the continuum, are instances of dissociation that many people experience such as daydreaming or highway hypnosis. At the other end, though, is chronic and complex dissociation which may impair an individual’s ability to function in the “real” world. According to […]

EATING DISORDERS

Eating disorders are complex conditions that arise from a combination of long-standing emotional, psychological, interpersonal and social issues. People with eating disorders often use food and the control of food as an attempt to deal with or compensate for feelings and emotions that may otherwise seem overwhelming.1 Sexual assault or abuse can have an effect on […]

BODY MEMORIES

These maladies are often called “psychosomatic symptoms” which does not, as many people think, mean that it is “in your head.” Rather, it means that the symptoms are due to the connection between the mind and the body. Physical problems that can come of these somatic memories include headaches, migraines, stomach difficulties, light headedness/dizziness, hot/cold […]

BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER

Borderline Personality Disorder, known as BPD, is one of many possible long-term effects of childhood sexual abuse. Research by the Psychiatric Clinics of North America indicates that 40-71% of BPD victims reported having been sexually abused when younger. i Adults with BPD are also considerably more likely to be the victim of violence, including rape […]

FLASHBACKS

A flashback is when memories of past traumas feel as if they are taking place in the current moment. Many survivors of sexual violence experience these emotional returns to the trauma, believing themselves to be back at the scene of the attack or abuse. Flashbacks are also a symptom of PTSD. According to the National […]

DEPRESSION

There are many emotional and psychological reactions that victims of rape and sexual assault can experience. One of the most common of these is depression. The term “depression” can be confusing since many of the symptoms are experienced by people as normal reactions to events in their life. At some point or another during one’s […]

SELF-HARM / SELF-INJURY

Deliberate self-harm, or self-injury, is when a person inflicts physical harm on himself or herself, usually in secret. Some victims of sexual assault may use self-harm to cope with the difficult or painful feelings, but it is only a temporary relief, not a healthy way to deal with the trauma of sexual assault. Self-harm can […]

STOCKHOLM SYNDROME

Described as a victim’s emotional “bonding” with their abuser, Stockholm Syndrome was given its name following a hostage situation in Stockholm, Sweden when, following the end of a bank robbery, the hostages identified with and supported their captor. Dr. Joseph Carver, a clinical psychologist, describes emotionally bonding with an abuser as a survival strategy for victims of […]

POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

After a traumatic event, it is typical to have feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, making it difficult to adjust or cope for some time afterwards. In particular, survivors of sexual violence may experience severe feelings of anxiety, stress, or fear, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While it is natural to have some of […]

SLEEP DISORDERS

Many survivors of sexual assault suffer from depression and/or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). As a result, they may also experience sleep disturbances and disorders. Inability to sleep can result of trauma victims being unable to feel secure and unthreatened. Nightmares can result when an assault is replayed mentally and when there is a fear that it will reoccur. Nightmares typically […]

SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Victims of rape or sexual assault may turn to alcohol or other substances in an attempt to relieve their emotional suffering. In the U.S., victims of sexual assault report higher levels of psychological distress and the consumption of alcohol than non-victims, in part, to self-medicate. Some victims use substances to cope with the reality of what happened […]

EXPERIENCES OF SURVIVORS OF CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE

Understanding the Impact  Survivors of childhood sexual abuse experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings. These may include feelings of fear, guilt, and shame. Abusers have been known to tell children that it is their fault that they are abused, shifting the blame away from themselves, where it belongs, and placing it on the […]

ADULT SURVIVORS OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ASSAULT

Caveat: The following descriptions are meant to serve as a general guideline for how a victim of sexual assault might react in a time of pain or crisis. It is important to recognize, however, that each victim of sexual assault will have his or her own life experiences and personality that will influence how he […]

SUICIDE: IF YOU ARE HAVING SUICIDAL THOUGHTS

If you are currently thinking about suicide, please reach out for help! Talk to someone you trust. – Do you have a friend or relative that you can talk to? Do you have a counselor or therapist that you can call? Is there someone else in your life that you can talk to (a religious leader, coach or […]

IF SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS THINKING ABOUT SUICIDE

How will I know if someone is having suicidal thoughts? People who are thinking about suicide often give clues that they are having suicidal thoughts. They might: Stop doing activities that they usually enjoy Start pulling away from people that they are close to Give away treasured possessions Start preparing for death, which might mean […]