Sexual Assault Awareness/Prevention Month
Every 73 seconds, an American is sexually assaulted. And every nine minutes, that victim is a child, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
As sobering as these facts are, there are things we can do as individuals to support people in our lives who have experienced sexual assault:
Listen. Be a listening ear that allows the person assaulted to tell their whole story or as much of their story as they are comfortable with.
Resources. Locally the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center can be reached at 1-800-841-8371 or here for live chat. Nationally the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network RAINN can be reached at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online here. Both are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Physical. Encourage the person to consider accessing support that utilizes physical health such as exercise, healthy eating, and sleep. A primary care provider or therapist can also give them ideas for physical health activities.
Emotional. Urge the person to access activities and people who bring the person joy, appreciation, and validation such as talking to others, doing activities that bring meaning, or doing something fun.
The topic of sexual assault is a heavy one to hold. It may bring up hard feelings or memories or even stir you to take action to advocate for those who have been sexually assaulted. As you’re comfortable, talk to your therapist after reading this. Your therapist can be a great ally and resource navigating this blog post and what it brings up.
Lou Lim, LMHC, REAT is a licensed mental health counselor and registered expressive arts therapist (REAT) with a master's degree in Expressive Therapy and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. He is a member of the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association and on the committee for REAT credentialing. He has 13 years of experience in counseling and expressive therapy working with children, adolescents, teenagers, adults, and retirees.
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