Road to Healing From Sexual Assault
The following are the five main tasks that make up the healing process for a survivor of sexual assault regardless of how long ago the assault may have occurred.
1. Acknowledging the impact that the assault has had on your life.Whether your experience of sexual assault, (rape, attempted rape or molestation) occurred last week, last month, or years ago, the first task towards healing is to recognize and name the ways in which the assault has affected you and your life.
2. Making a commitment to yourself to heal and to gather your resources around you.This is the step in the healing process in which you prepare to confront the effects mentioned in step one. Ways to prepare for this are by educating yourself about sexual assault, arranging your life so that you have time to nurture yourself during the healing process, deciding who will be a part of your support network through the healing process and finding the right person to whom to "tell your story" and work with you through the healing process.
3. Re-experiencing the assault and understanding its meaning for you through the telling of your story.This part of the healing process is painful and requires courage. This is why step two, preparation, is important. It is through confronting the feelings associated with the assault that healing emerges.
4. Making new decisions about your life and relationships.Often as a result of insights and understandings gained in step 3, survivors find that they have outgrown some old ways and patterns of being and relating. They find that they need to reassess their lives and to make some changes to accommodate the ways in which they have grown.
5. Letting go of the pain and moving on. This is the stage where it is necessary to let go of the pain, anger, depression, and other effects of the assault that limit your continued growth. Holding on too long to these feelings can keep you stuck and bitter. It is in the letting go that you truly pass from victim to survivor.