Proven Sexual Abuse Counselling for Survivors
Sexual abuse includes any form of sexual violence, including rape, incest, child molestation, sexual assault and other forms of non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual abuse is never only about sex, but is really an attempt to gain power over somebody. It can rob us of our sense of safety and self-sufficiency and shatter our trust in others.
Sexual abuse is sadly very common, with one in six women in America having experienced a rape. 90 percent of all rapes are committed against women. When somebody has experienced sexual abuse, it can result in complicated feelings of anger, sadness and shame, often leading survivors to consciously or unconsciously accept some level of blame for the situation that led up to their attack.
If you have survived through sexual abuse, it is important to know that it was not your fault. It is never acceptable for somebody to engage in sexual contact with us without our explicit consent. Regardless of how complicated a situation becomes, our privacy and ability to choose with whom we share our intimate moments is a basic human right that cannot be taken away.
Our intensive therapy retreats offer proven sexual abuse treatment to support your ability to rapidly process your trauma and the negative emotions associated with it, allowing you to regain a sense of safety and confidence in your body and with others.
Sexual Abuse Therapy That Achieves Results
Sexual abuse can shatter our confidence and comfort in our own body and our sense of safety and trust in others. It is imperative that we work with a trained therapist to process our traumatic experience in order to let go of the fear, anger, guilt and shame that often accompanies it.
We utilize proven sexual abuse counselling techniques to help you rapidly work through your trauma. Our intensive retreats offer the incredible opportunity for you to get your life back on track in only one week.
Types of Sexual Abuse and Assault
• Rape: Forced sexual contact with someone who does not or cannot consent. Forcing sex upon someone who does not want it, who is intoxicated or who is not legally old enough to give consent all counts as rape. Some states limit the definition of rape to forcible sexual intercourse. Regardless of how it is defined, any form of forced and non-consensual sexual contact can be an incredibly traumatic experience. It is important to note that sexual abuse can still occur in the context of a marriage or committed relationship and it is distinct from consensual sexual activity between partners. It was not until the 1970s that marital rape became a crime.
• Incest: Incest is described as sexual contact between family members who are too closely related to legally marry. While incest may occur between consenting adults, this is very uncommon. Most reported cases of incest occur as childhood sexual abuse. Over a third of American sexual assault survivors under the age of 18 are abused by a member of their own family. Incest is sadly a very under-reported crime and so the actual number of survivors may be much higher.
• Non-consensual sexual contact: This includes any unwanted sexual touching, such as groping or pinching. Attempted rape also falls into this category.
• Non-contact sexual abuse: Not all sexual abuse fits into the common definitions above. There are many situations in which sexual abuse can occur without direct touching, including parents having sex in front of a child or making sexually inappropriate comments to children. Revenge pornography sites, which publish nude photos of people without their consent, are also considered another form of non-contact sexual abuse.
Laws governing sexual abuse and assault are always changing. It is important to remember that if you were subjected to sexual abuse of any kind, you need to talk to the police and also to a professional who can help you work through the trauma you just experienced. We offer intensive sexual abuse treatment to survivors, helping them to process the negative emotions surrounding the abuse so they can regain a sense of trust and safety in themselves and others and ultimately move on with their lives.
Sexual Abuse in the LGBTQ+ Community
The rates of sexual abuse against homosexual, bisexual and queer individuals is higher than for heterosexual people. Hate crimes account for many of the sexual assaults reported against LGBTQ+ people. About 64 percent of transgender people of all sexual orientations and gender identities will experience sexual abuse at some point in their lifetimes. Sadly, 12 percent of trans youth have reported that peers or educational staff have sexually assaulted them while in a school setting.
Sexual abuse in the LGBTQ+ community often goes unreported due to the fear of survivors having to reveal their sexual orientation or gender identity. There is often a lack of trust in the legal system and its willingness to protect people in the LGBTQ+ community. Survivors may also fear inciting additional violence. They may avoid sexual abuse therapy because they are concerned about privacy and sharing such sensitive information with another person.
Fortunately, mental health professionals who specialize in sexual abuse counselling are legally bound not to share any information about their clients, except in very specific situations. It is important to reach out to a potential therapist for a phone consultation prior to an in-person meeting to ensure that you feel comfortable speaking to them. This can go a long way towards helping you decide who is the right fit for you.
Mental Health Issues from Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse can shatter the trust that survivors feel towards themselves and others. After an assault, a survivor may not feel like their body is really their own. They may feel terror, guilt or shame. Many survivors blame themselves for the assault. Below are some of the most common symptoms experienced by survivors of sexual abuse.
• Anxiety: Many survivors fear that the attack will happen again, or they may develop panic attacks. Some develop agoraphobia and become afraid to venture outside of their homes. It is also common for a survivor to develop an intense fear of the type of person who assaulted them. If you were raped by a tall, blonde-haired man with green eyes, you may instinctively dislike, distrust or fear anybody who fits the same description.
• Depression: Survivors of sexual abuse can often feel depressed. The loss of autonomy over our own body from such an intense violation can be very hard to cope with. Survivors often report feelings of hopelessness or despair, or a reduction in their sense of self-worth.
• PTSD: Invasive memories of the assault commonly plague survivors. Flashbacks can be so intense as to cause survivors to lose track of their surroundings. Survivors may also develop a condition called complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD), which includes a chronic fear of abandonment in addition to the traditional symptoms of PTSD.
• Attachment issues: It is very common for sexual abuse survivors to fear attachment to others. This is especially true for children who have been abused. Often survivors struggle to maintain intimacy or become desperate to form close attachments to others.
• Addiction: Survivors are 26 times more likely to use drugs after a sexual assault to cope with the intense negative emotions associated with it. Chronic drug usage eventually becomes its own problem that can destroy the life of a survivor.
• Physical trauma: Sexual abuse survivors may sustain injuries from the attack or develop chronic pain that does not seem to have an obvious cause. Some survivors experience sexual dysfunction and fertility problems. Sexually transmitted infections can be passed during a rape as well as the risk of a survivor becoming pregnant.
All of the above issues can be extremely distressing and result in chronic symptoms that are lasting and debilitating. It is imperative that you seek sexual abuse treatment from a professional counselor if you are a survivor. Our mental health counselors have learned from our clients that even after such an intense violation, it is possible to heal.
Our intensive therapy retreats offer multiple days of treatment using methods that are scientifically proven to rapidly process and resolve trauma. Each day at our retreat is equivalent to two months of weekly therapy, allowing you to go much deeper and make much more progress than with weekly sessions alone.