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Understanding, coping, and seeking help with sexual trauma is not an easy task.
This page discusses this topic in detail, including a sensitive description answering the question “what is sexual trauma?”. We also explain Northwest EMDR’s approach to helping clients who are victims of sexual trauma.
The contents of this page are highly sensitive in nature. Readers are encouraged to be aware of potential triggers if they read on.
What Is Sexual Trauma?
Sexual trauma is a traumatic experience that occurs when an individual is forced into unwanted sexual contact or advances.
It can include experiences like:
- Sexual assault
- Non-consensual sexual activity
Sexual trauma can happen to anyone. It does not matter how old you are, what your gender identity is, or your background.
What is Military Sexual Trauma?
Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is a form of sexual trauma that occurs during involvement with the military.
MST can include assault, coercion, or any unwanted sexual attention from fellow military personnel. Survivors have reported that this can occur from fellow service members or superiors.
Survivors of MST often face unique challenges in reporting the incidents and seeking support due to the hierarchical and structured nature of the military. Seeking treatment and healing can be difficult due to these complicating factors.
Sexual Assault Trauma & PTSD
Sexual trauma can result in the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) over time.
Victims of sexual assault or trauma may experience nightmares, vivid flashbacks, intrusive memories, heightened arousal, and/or emotional numbness.
Understandably, PTSD can impact a survivor’s overall well-being. Daily life, relationships, and self-image can be negatively impacted and lead to long-term struggles in life.
How to Heal From Sexual Trauma
Learning how to heal from sexual trauma is a complex and emotional endeavor.
Healing requires time.
It takes support.
It requires deep emotional work that touches and addresses physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of trauma.
While all healing journeys are unique, we want to provide a look at some key themes that our clients have shared in their own healing journey:
- Support and Community: Friends, family, and support groups can sometimes provide understanding and empathy during the aftermath of sexual trauma.
- Physical and Emotional Safety: Ensuring your physical and emotional safety is paramount. This may involve seeking legal protection or restraining orders.
- Therapy: Trauma-focused, evidence-based therapies can empower victims to reprocess and heal from sexual traumas. Our clinic utilizes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) to help survivors process and develop coping strategies.
- Self-Care and Love: Emphasizing self-compassion and self-care helps us engage in activities that promote relaxation. Some report that mindfulness, yoga, or meditation can lessen symptoms over time.
- Expanded Support Networks: A strong support network of people can help you navigate the healing process. This may include friends, family, support groups, or fellow survivors.
Reporting: If you feel safe doing so, consider reporting the incident to appropriate authorities. Reporting can be challenging and not all victims choose to report. Those who choose to take this step often hope to help prevent further harm to others.
Our Sexual Trauma Therapy
Northwest EMDR’s sexual trauma therapy services aim to provide a safe, compassionate, and healing environment. We emphasize trauma-informed care and offer evidence-based therapies that are tailored to an individual client’s needs.
Healing from sexual trauma is a journey. Northwest EMDR is committed to providing the support and resources necessary to facilitate recovery.
Make an Appointment with a Sexual Trauma Therapist Today!
You don’t have to face the challenges of sexual trauma alone.
Seeking help is a courageous and essential step towards healing.
Northwest EMDR’s team of dedicated therapists is here to listen, support, and guide you on your journey to recovery. We offer a confidential and judgment-free space where you can explore your feelings and experiences.
Reach out to schedule an appointment with a sexual trauma therapist.