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Sexual trauma is abuse in which one or more people forces, manipulates, or coerces another in order to gain sexual contact. It can include a range of sexual activities including rape, unwanted touching or pushing or coercing another to say "yes" after they have repeatedly said "no," also known as sexual assault. 

If any of this is sounding familiar, know that you are not alone and it's not your fault. 

After a sexual trauma, you may experience different symptoms ranging from guilt, shame, numbness, feeling "surreal," anger, and powerlessness to fear, never feeling safe, depression, shock, and self blame. You may have periods of time where you don't notice any of these symptoms and other times where it feels like they never leave you.

Just know that there is hope and there is healing in the aftermath. This is not a burden you have to carry by yourself and it's not a life sentence of pain. 

          "No matter what's happened to you,

                                  There is hope and healing." 

"But It happened so long ago"

I frequently hear this in my work with women who have been sexually traumatized. "That was in the past. I'm mostly over it. My depression and anxiety seems completely irrelevant to what happened to me." 

While it often seems like a panic attack has no rhyme nor reason or depression and anxiety seem more connected to our circumstances, these issues are often more connected to the past than we realize or want to admit. These symptoms are often an indicator that the past is still very much alive in the present.  Of course, it doesn't have to stay that way. I've worked with a number of women who have a history of sexual abuse and with EMDR treatment they have found healing from the past and relief in the present.

"I don't want to have to think about it"

It seems counter-intuitive to think about something that hurts you so much. The natural reaction is to shove it away and try to move on; avoid, avoid, avoid.

But research indicates that avoiding what happened to you makes you more likely to develop PTSD. 

Most of the women I've worked with have been terrified to encounter their past, even just the thought of it. No one wants to think about the worst thing that's happened to them. But if you work with me, and allow me to help you think about it in the right way, I can help you heal from it. With EMDR, you don't have to dwell on what happened. I'll just ask you to notice it and allow your mind to move on. Most commonly I hear women say, "I don't like it but it's worth doing" and "treatment sucked, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be."

Imagine facing it head on and then putting it behind you once and for all. Wouldn't your life be different?

If you are ready explore what it might be like to truly heal from what you've experienced, contact me today.

Charlotte Sexual Abuse Counseling