- Sexual Assault
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While there is not one way to respond to sexual assault, many survivors experience a range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral responses that are typical of any traumatic event. These responses might last throughout a lifetime, to varying degrees of intensity, as healing from trauma is not a linear process.
|Loss of Coordination||Sadness/Depression|
|Sleep Disturbances||Feeling Lost and/or Abandoned|
|Rapid Heart Rate||Numbness|
|Muscle Aches||Self Blame|
|Difficulty Making Decisions||Suspiciousness|
|Nightmares||Increased Alcohol/Drug Use|
|Disorientation||Overly Vigilant to the Environment|
|Difficulty with Calculations||Excessive Humor|
|Difficulty Concentrating||Emotional Outburst|
|Memory Problems||Missing Classes|
|Poor Attention Span||Changes in Appearance|
|Racing Thoughts||Changes in Usual Activities|
|Religious Confusion||Act Like Nothing has Changed|
Just like there is not one right way to respond to sexual assault, there's not one right way to cope with its impact. Here are some on-line resources that might help survivors cope with distressing emotions.
Guided Imagery helps people move to a more relaxed and focused state. These exercises are from a Kaiser Permanente self-help website.
Mandalas help people relax and improve concentration.
Sleepnet.com provides some helpful tips for improved sleep.
There's an App for that! The PTSD Coach app can help you learn about and manage symptoms that commonly occur after trauma. Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool which provides detailed information on the effects of stress on the body and instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing.
Different relaxation exercises can help soothe and calm the body, an important part of healing.
This free self-help tool can help you bring your life into balance.
People cope with trauma in different ways. Sometimes, trauma survivors can identify overwhelming emotions and cope with them in healthy ways (here is a list of some common strategies that people find helpful). However, sometimes a person might be so overwhelmed or distraught that they have a difficult time accessing healthy coping strategies. All coping, healthy and unhealthy, is an attempt to find relief from emotional and physical pain. Self-injury, including cutting, is common for many trauma survivors. If you or someone you know is coping with trauma in potentially unhealthy ways, avoid judgment and criticism. This site has some helpful information about self-injury.