A mental health guide for rape and sexual assault survivors.

Sexual violence is shockingly rampant these days. Every day, new allegations of rape and assault are leveled against preparators in the news. While there is a big movement to curb the menace, the profound impact it has on survivors’ lives cannot be overlooked.

Far beyond the physical injuries, rape and sexual assault can have both short and long-term effects on a victim’s mental health. For many survivors, it is a mixed feeling of shock, shame, confusion, and shock. This can further lead to a spiral effect of depression, isolation,  PTSD, substance abuse, and many more. We’ve compiled a list of self-care tips for those who have been affected or have loved ones who are survivors :

  • SURROUND YOURSELF WITH SOMEONE YOU TRUST:

It’s common to think this is not the right time to be with anyone. But you can’t heal by isolating yourself. You need a distraction. As scary as it sounds to open up, talking about how you feel to someone you trust is liberating. Find solace in their love and care. You can consider joining a support group, talking to a therapist, or staying with a loved one

  • TAKE A BREAK OFF SOCIAL MEDIA

With the overflow of sad news spreading on social media lately, it is easy to find a post or comment that can trigger you off. Put the phone down. Take a break from the world and focus on you. Engaging conversations with people in real life will put you more at ease than the overwhelming news circulating online.

  • IDENTIFY YOUR TRIGGERS AND TAKE IMMEDIATE STEPS TO BE CALM

Sadly, the triggers will come. Your mind will wander off to the experience. They could come in the form of a smell, a place, a word, or people’s reaction. If you’re aware of your triggers, you can anticipate your reaction, thereby, feeling less stressed and anxious all the time.

  • AVOID ALCOHOL AND DRUGS

Avoid the temptation to rely on drugs to take away the pain. It only worsens the trauma and interferes with the healing process along with other health damages. Rather, take control of your body, exercise more, drink lots of water, and have enough rest.

  • PRACTICE MEDITATION

Practice calmly inhaling and exhaling as it comes. Focus on the present and how you feel at that moment.

Always remember, it only gets better. What happened is in the past. And you are allowed to rise above it. The ugly incident doesn’t define who you are or what you will become. Breathe in. Breathe out. One day at a time.

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