Dear PostSecret: A Letter To An Assault Survivor

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Dear postsecret,

You are experiencing so much pain, anger, and hurt after hearing the phrase “it could’ve been worse.” Assault is horrible, wrong, and a violation. You do not deserve what happened to you and it was traumatizing. The cutting phrase “it could’ve been worse” devalues your experience. Your rights were stolen in that moment and that is that. It hurts me to even read that this was your experience. You deserve better.

Facts and Effects of Sexual Assault

1 out of every 6 American women have been a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime according to the rape abuse and incest national network (RAINN). Look around the room and start counting. 1 and 6 American women. In addition, an American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds. After learning how high the statistics, you maybe feeling some shock. Or, you feel numbness because you are a survivor.

Sexual assault or attempted/completed rape strips a person of every bit of power and control in one moment. A survivor may feel a variety of emotions in the aftermath. Assault is a devastating occurrence and many survivors feel at blame or disgusted with themselves. Every bit of them wants to forget and wash the incident away like dirt off their hands but it is not that easy.

Many survivors have physiological or psychological effects in the aftermath. They may be on high alert and jumpy to any noise or movement. They may feel overwhelming anxious and scared. Or, they battle constant negative thoughts like “it was my fault” or “how/why did I let this happen.” Other times, survivors can be highly irritable and emotionally explosive. These prolonged feelings can lead to a downward spiral and depression.

A survivor’s memory of an assault are often ingrained into their brain. In order to function, survivors may ignore and shut the memory out. However, they are still reeling from its effects such as having difficulties trusting people or opening up to partners/friends

How help your loved one

One of the best things you can do is to just listen without judgement. Empathize and imagine what it would be like if you had your rights stolen in one moment. Comfort and encourage them by stating you are here for them. It is important to not push their limits. At the same time, lovingly encourage them to seek assistance from a counselor when they are ready.

Healing and Recovery

Seek assistance today if you are a survivor and are struggling. Part of the process of moving forward is dealing with past hurts in a safe and non-judgmental environment. You are strong and amazing because of your endurance through a terrible incident(s). Take the next step to add to your strength and growth. Contact your local counselor or support group if you or a loved one has been affected by sexual assault. The national sexual assault hotline is a 24hr and confidential hotline at 1-800-656-4673 available for those in need. Or, call today at Life Counseling Solutions, 407-622-1770, for a free 15-minute consultation or a counseling appointment with me. You are not your circumstances and you can break free from this incident.heal, grow, recovery, assault, freedom, peace, calm

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anxiety, stress, depression, affairs, betrayal, cutting, abuse, self-esteem, blended family, divorce, angerAbout Colleen: Colleen values the importance of a safe space for people to be open and honest while working through tough situations. Her specialty is working with women and adolescents struggling with anxiety, trauma, and self-compassion. Also, she enjoys assisting those facing multicultural or race-related issues. Colleen is dedicated to equipping clients with practical skills, so they can better manage and reduce symptoms to live a happier and healthier life.  See Colleen’s full bio.