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Thursday, March 4, 2010

It's never too late for victims of sexual assault to heal

Jean Norman • • March 4, 2010

…According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, victims of sexual assault are three times more likely to suffer from depression; six times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder; 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol; 26 times more likely to abuse drugs; and four times more likely to contemplate suicide.

Additionally, sexual assault and rape victims commonly experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, difficulty sleeping, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, a mistrust in others and a hard time feeling close to other people, Smith said.

Though it is hard to ever feel safe again after sexual assault, the individualized counseling at the Rape Crisis Center is very effective in helping victims move toward that point.

Multiple indicators let the counselor know when someone has reached a high level of healing, including:

n When the person is reconnecting in relationships with other people and with life in general, and is able to feel secure in daily activities.

n When the person is beginning to find meaning in the suffering they experienced.

An estimated 60 percent of sexual assaults are never reported, and the number of victims who never receive help is staggering.

Even if the attack happened years ago, it is never too late to call.

It is never too late to heal…

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