Minimizing Trauma after Sexual Assault for Families
Knowing that a loved one has been the victim of sexual assault can take a terrible emotional toll on a family. As a spouse or a parent it can be heart wrenching to know that your loved one has experienced the unthinkable. Even if you go through all of the right motions, extend the right type of support, and ensure that your loved one receives post-traumatic therapy, sexual assault trauma will not simply remain in the past.
Your loved one may give the appearance of coping with trauma experienced months or years ago, but the stark reality is that it is the very rare person who will be able to truly evade the symptoms of trauma without intensive therapeutic solutions. Sexual assault victims often feel such a deep sense of shame over the situation that they put up a front of appearing to cope in order to get the attention over the issue to come to a halt. They typically express a strong desire to move on with their life and simply forget that it ever happened.
The nature of sexual assault trauma is that it will find a way to creep back into the life of the victim. The victim may find him or herself dealing with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Addiction after sexual assault is also likely, and this can make an already challenging situation downright impossible to cope with.
Recognizing When Help Is Needed
Doing your part to step in and offer the physical and emotional support that is needed can help the person you care about. Recognizing when outside assistance is needed is a key part to ensuring your loved one receives real and effective help. Keep in mind that the symptoms of trauma may not be immediately recognizable. The symptoms of PTSD can be subtle, and they may include some of the following:
- Feeling emotionally numb and disconnected
- A loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Opting to stay home instead of going out with friends or family
- Depression accompanied by thoughts of or attempts at suicide
- Overwhelming feelings of guilt
- Flashbacks and night terrors
- Panic attacks and high levels of anxiety
- Substance abuse
If your loved one is starting to display signs of PTSD after sexual assault, step in and offer confidential, professional resources for help.
Sexual assault trauma has a terrible way of lingering just below the surface so that the victim may appear to be coping with trauma. All it takes is one event, one moment, one sound or one sensation to trigger a flashback and an emotionally volatile family member. It is never too late to help your loved one get rape trauma help.
An unfortunate reality of untreated sexual assault trauma is that addiction can enter the picture. The victim may turn to substance abuse or addictive behaviors after sexual assault in an attempt to self-medicate or mask the symptoms of trauma and memories of the event. While drug or alcohol use after sexual assault may provide temporary reprieve for underlying trauma, it can lead to a spiral of shame, embarrassing experiences and risky situations.
Professional Help for Sexual Assault
Your loved one does not need to struggle silently with PTSD and addiction. There are many facilities that are ready and able to offer trauma help. There is no wrong time to help your loved one get professional treatment for sexual assault trauma or PTSD, and there is no wrong moment to help your loved one receive professional care for numbing behaviors, addiction, anxiety or more.
Getting the right help for your loved one at the right moment in time is crucial to his or her recovery. Our compassionate counselors are wholly aware of just how sensitive this issue is, and they will handle your call with the utmost confidentiality. Our toll-free helpline is available around the clock, and we are here for you when your loved one is ready to accept help or information.