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8 steps to healing after sexual trauma

Sexual assault is a deeply traumatising experience, leaving wounds that often run farther than the eye can see.

Two people holding hands [Photo: Pixabay]

As a person grappling with the aftermath, you might find yourself enveloped in a myriad of emotions: fear, anger, shame, and despair. More often than not, these emotions could end up affecting your mental wellness.

Here’s a guide to help navigate the challenging journey towards healing after sexual assault.

First and foremost, know that your feelings are valid. Every emotion you're experiencing, be it anger, sadness, or confusion, is a natural response. Don't suppress them; instead, allow yourself to feel, process, and gradually heal.


Therapy can be a lifesaver in such situations. A trained therapist can guide you through your emotions, helping you regain your sense of self.

Remember, seeking help isn’t a sign of weakness but a testament to your resilience and determination to heal.


One of the most challenging outcomes of a sexual assault is the mistrust you might feel towards others. Understand that your feelings of caution are valid and are your mind's way of protecting you. However, remember that the actions of one individual don't define an entire gender.

Engage in group therapy or support groups where you can meet people with shared experiences, helping you slowly rebuild trust.

Whether it's taking a self-defense class, joining a support group, or immersing yourself in arts and crafts, find activities that make you feel strong, empowered, and in control.


It's vital to internalize one truth: what happened was not your fault. Avoid self-blame, and when the thoughts sneak in, counter them with positive affirmations.

Lean on friends, family, or support groups that can empathize and uplift you. Surround yourself with positive, understanding, and supportive individuals who can help you in your healing journey.

Trust your instincts. As you navigate the world post-assault, set boundaries that make you feel safe. It's okay to say 'no,' and it's essential to prioritize your comfort and safety.


Healing is not linear. Some days will be better than others. Celebrate the small victories, and on tough days, remind yourself of the strength that has brought you this far.

Overcoming the trauma of a sexual assault requires strength, patience, and support. While the journey might seem overwhelming, remember that you're not alone.

With professional help, like that from Mindful Kenya, and a strong support system, you can rebuild, rediscover, and reclaim your life. Your story doesn't end with this trauma; it's just a chapter, and with time, support, and self-love, brighter days lie ahead.


Editor's Note: Mindful Kenya offers mental health services on short USSD code *702*30#. By following the prompts a person seeking professional mental healthcare is linked with a specialist under guarantee of anonymity.


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