Sexual violence can cause unimaginable damage to the lives of the women and girls who live through these experiences. There are innumerable adolescent girls and adult women survivors of sexual abuse trauma and sexual assault.
Living through sexual abuse trauma can change the way a girl or woman views and interacts with the world, making it difficult for her to experience healthy intimacy and relationships. Without the help of professional sexual abuse trauma treatment, it may become challenging for a girl or woman to function in daily life.
What is Sexual Abuse Trauma?
The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) says there are many types of sexual violence that can cause sexual abuse trauma. However, it’s important to understand that a perpetrator does not need to touch a woman or adolescent girl to sexually abuse her or commit sexual violence against her.
Examples of sexual abuse trauma include:
- Sexual harassment
- Child sexual abuse
- Military sexual trauma
- Intimate partner violence
- Drug-facilitated sexual assault
- Sexual abuse by a healthcare professional
- Sexual exploitation by a service or helping professional
- Harassment, or unsolicited or non-consensual sexual interactions through technology
Sexual Abuse Trauma Statistics
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that around one in five women have been raped or experienced attempted rape.
- One in three women to survive rape were between the ages 11-17 when raped for the first time.
- One in eight girls are raped before age 10.
- The YWCA reports that approximately 93% of children who suffer from sexual abuse trauma know the perpetrator.
- Survivors of sexual abuse trauma are more likely to experience rape or intimate partner violence as adults.
Signs & Symptoms of Sexual Abuse Trauma
When a young girl or woman starts to act out in certain ways or has specific physical symptoms, these might be warning signs that someone is sexually abusing her or that she has been sexually assaulted. If you notice these sexual abuse trauma symptoms or warning signs in a woman or adolescent girl, it may be time to reach out for professional help.
- Frequent nightmares
- Frightened or upset by thoughts and memories
- Easily irritated and has angry outbursts
- Suddenly avoids certain people or places
- Seems on edge and easily startled
- Struggles to get a good night’s sleep
- Develops a negative outlook on life
- Feels misplaced guilt or shame
- Growing sense of low self-esteem
Importance of Getting Help for Sexual Abuse Trauma
The destruction that sexual abuse trauma can inflict on a woman’s or adolescent girl’s life can be devastating. The stigma associated with sexual violence can make it even harder to reach out for help, but supporting survivors of sexual violence is essential to ensure that young girls and women know they’re not alone.
When women and girls don’t get professional help for sexual abuse trauma, the effects can include:
- Development of various behavioral health concerns
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Unplanned pregnancy
- Low self-esteem
- Difficulty setting boundaries
- Trouble feeling safe in relationships
- Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
Finding the Right Sexual Abuse Trauma Treatment
Healing from sexual abuse trauma is a personal journey that looks different for each woman and adolescent girl. It is essential that you find the path to healing that aligns with your needs and recovery goals.
At Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center, we understand just how important it is to identify the level of care that meets you where you are in your recovery from sexual abuse trauma. This ensures that you truly benefit from the sexual abuse trauma treatment experience in order to build a long-lasting healing foundation.
The sexual abuse trauma residential treatment we provide offers women and adolescent girls a safe, secure space to gain the coping skills they need to experience long-term healing, while women can benefit from the structured, trauma-informed approach of our partial hospitalization program (PHP).
When you seek care at our sexual abuse trauma treatment center, our expert team evaluates your needs and goals to identify the level of care that best meets your needs.
Therapies to Treat Sexual Abuse Trauma
It is important to remember that what happened to you was not your fault. You deserve to make healthy connections with others, feel safe in your relationships, and enjoy healthy intimacy.
With professional sexual abuse trauma treatment, you can start healing from the sexual violence you survived. You’ll benefit from an individualized sexual abuse trauma treatment plan based on an assessment of your medical history, needs, and recovery goals.
Depending on that plan, you may experience elements of dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). You may also take part in experiential, individual, group, and family therapies based on your progress and goals.
When you choose Timberline Knolls, you also benefit from an alumnae network that offers continued support long after your time at our sexual abuse trauma treatment center ends. This community can uplift and motivate you to stay on the path to healing long into the future.
This content was reviewed and approved by the clinical staff at Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.