For survivors trying to recover from sexual violence, embarking on a healing journey can be a lonely endeavor. Having been implicitly or explicitly blamed by others, survivors may feel responsible for their victimization. They often grapple with intense feelings of shame and fear. Understandably, many survivors conclude it is just too risky to disclose their abuse, and attempt to recover alone and in silence. This lonely path tends to reinforce survivors’ feelings of isolation. They may engage in behaviors – such as substance use and dissociation – that seem to offer short-term relief. Unfortunately, these strategies ultimately compound survivors’ suffering and may leave them vulnerable to re-victimization. In order to heal from sexual assault, a survivor’s road to recovery must be populated by accessible individuals and organizations that offer unconditional acceptance and long-term support.
The trauma of sexual violence turns survivors’ worlds upside down. A report by the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault suggests that sexual assault can affect every aspect of survivors’ lives, including physical, emotional and sexual health, daily routines, social relationships, and religious or spiritual practices. Given the scope of sexual trauma, survivors may need to access a variety of supports to assist them in their recovery. The following resources may be utilized by sexual assault survivors at any phase of their healing journey:
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN):https://www.rainn.org/
– RAINN provides extensive information and resources for survivors of sexual violence and the people who support them.
- National Sexual Assault Online Hotline: https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-online-hotline
– A service of RAINN, this secure online chat system connects survivors with trained specialists who offer support, resources and referrals.
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: https://www.rainn.org/about-national-sexual-assault-telephone-hotline
– A service on RAINN, callers to this hotline will be routed to their local RAINN affiliate. Trained specialists offer support, education, information about local laws, as well as place-specific resources and referrals.
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center: https://www.nsvrc.org/
– Offers an online search for resources that can be filtered by state or US Territory: https://www.nsvrc.org/organizations
– Resources include organizations committed to meeting the needs of survivors from marginalized communities.
- End Rape on Campus: https://endrapeoncampus.org/resource-list-soc
– List of organizations that support survivors from marginalized populations, including men and women of color, Native American and Alaskan Native women, and LGBTQ survivors.
- 1in6: https://1in6.org/
– Support and resources for male victims of sexual violence.
– Has partnered with RAINN to offer an online chat support service: https://1in6.org/helpline/
- MaleSurvivor: https://malesurvivor.org/
– Information and resources for male survivors of sexual assault.
- Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP): http://www.snapnetwork.org/
– Provides a search for US and international SNAP support groups: http://www.snapnetwork.org/support_groups
– Compilation of resources for survivors, including a guide to reporting abuse to police, recommended reading and tips for choosing a therapist.
- National Human Trafficking Hotline: https://humantraffickinghotline.org/
– Provides assistance to victims of human trafficking, accepts tips regarding suspected trafficking, offers referrals and resources.
- Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us
– Free search that connects users to support groups and therapists in their area. Therapist results may be further filtered by specialty.
– Group search: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/groups/sexual-abuse
– Therapist search: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
– Provides hotline, information and resources for individuals at risk of suicide.
If you would like to explore how the civil justice system can assist you or a loved one on the journey to recovering from sexual violence, please reach out to one of our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.