For most survivors, rape is probably the most traumatic event to ever touch their life. How you react and recover will be dependent upon many factors including: the relationship between you and the perpetrator, the level of violence and time duration of the attack, other life crisis experiences, your support system, your self-esteem, and your ability to ask for, and receive, appropriate professional help.
Recovery involves time. strength. and courage. Recovery is believing in your future goals and your day to day achievements. Recovery means celebrating the “positive” aspects of your life. Recovery is being able to enjoy sleeping, eating, and sexual pleasures as you did before the assault. Recovery is being able to trust and believe in your choices and own judgments. The road to recovery can be long and emotional. You may at times want to quit the fight. You may want to bottle everything up inside or stop going to counseling or your support group. Please be patient with yourself.
Remember that no one is born with the knowledge needed for recovery. You must learn by working either with someone who knows or by trial and error on your own. Whatever you choose, be gentle and understanding with yourself. Know that recovery takes time and persistence. Recovery takes commitment. The decision to begin a recovery process will be one of the most important decisions you ever make. Please remember that you will be better able to deal with this process through the acceptance, support, and comfort of friends and/or family members. Counselors, Turning Point Advocates, and other community professionals can also be of great benefit throughout the days, months, and even years following the assault. Talking to someone who will listen, support you, and offer other information will help you far more than remaining alone and silent. Allow people to help you. Believe in your goodness and your strengths. Look to the future with hope.
YOU ARE NOT ALONE
It is our hope that this site will support you, in some way, throughout your recovery process. Please remember the information that we have presented is very general. Your life, your victimization, and your recovery will be very personal and individual. Do not expect to think, feel, or act as other people tell you that you should. Do not expect to feel the exact feelings of any other rape survivor. You are an individual and will move through stages and feelings at your own pace and when you are ready. If you are a co-survivor, do not allow yourself or others to tell you that you are only a co-survivor. Stages of recovery are not unique only to the survivor; loved ones also need and deserve support and patience.
Although this may seem like a very difficult time to think about family and friends, you should try to develop or identify your support network. Which members of your family or friends can you talk with and trust? Do you have roommates, co-workers or significant others in your life to whom you can turn with safety and confidence? Think about the people who love you. They probably want to help but do not know how. Recovery will be an ongoing part of your life and if you can identify people who will share in the process, it can seem somewhat easier. If you truly do not want to confide in a family member or friend, that is fine. That is your decision. However, you still need a support network. Make an initial contact Turning Point if you have not already done so at the hospital. The crisis center has a 24-hour crisis line with victim advocates who are prepared to answer your questions or give you information regarding service agencies within the community. All services are free of charge. As feelings and emotions surface, use your support network. You may want to read and re-read sections of this website or you can go to the library or local bookstore to find other supportive material. Share this information with your support network.