After being a victim of sexual abuse, it is not over even if the actual violence is over. Sexual abuse affects a person for a long time after the actual incidence with negative impacts on most aspects of a person’s life. There is no disputing that for a victim of sexual abuse, dating, and marriage relationships matter. Abuse is a betrayal of trust and affects the way that a person feels about sex, getting intimate or marriage. Things such as kiss, hugs, sex, and touches require trust and vulnerability. Sexual abuse involves getting hurt, and this can make it hard to allow someone to get close to either emotionally or physically.
So, what is sexual abuse? This article follows the American Psychological Association’s definition of sexual abuse as a non-mutual sexual intimacy that involves using force and threatening the victim without their consent. According to the American Psychological Association, the short-term outcomes after sexual assaults are shock, fear, and disbelieve. Later, the victim experiences anxiety, fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Sexual assault is a criminal offense, and people should treat it as such. The assault can also happen in marriage whereby your husband forcefully has sex with you without your consent, which may lead to divorce.
How Can One Build A Healthy Relationship After Sexual Assault?
After going through a sexual assault, the first step you can take to develop a healthy relationship with your partner is to seek professional help. Make sure you see a therapist who will help with cognitive-behavioral therapy. At times, knowing the abuser is behind bars helps one to move on in life and appreciate intimacy. Even if it is a husband that you love, you may have to report him after the act to have some peace of mind. Many law organizations assist victims of rape, such as Abajian Law firm works with the community and victims of crime, including rape.
Next, realize that it is not your fault, and sexual abuse does not define you; it is something that happened to you. Sexual abuse can happen to anyone and is not something that you should take personally. You should realize that it is not your fault but an unfortunate occurrence that you can’t change. It is normal to have feelings of discomfort, disgust, embarrassment, and shame. However, do not focus on these feelings, but the more you learn about how this affects you, you will begin to heal. Being a victim of sexual assault is not anyone’s fault.
Survivors of sexual assault should integrate the mind and the body to lead a happy and healthy sex life. The trauma happened in the past, and there is an opportunity for a new healthy sexual life in the future. It is imperative for the survivor to process the trauma so that it does not interfere with her daily life without focusing on what happened. Attempting to focus on painful memories can lead to the disconnection of the mind and body as well as depression, anxiety, and other psychological issues. Therefore, survivors should learn to unpack the trauma healthily to enjoy various facets of life, including sex.
Establishing healthy boundaries is also key to building a healthy relationship after a sexual assault. This means you must know your limits and stick to them. When you enter into a new relationship, the relationship, as well as intimacy, progresses gradually, beginning with hand-holding, to kissing, and leads to sex and even marriage. It may not be an excellent choice to tell every person you are dating that you are a victim of sexual assault. Instead, you can put limits by saying that you are not comfortable with certain things. When the relationship progresses to marriage, it is a good time to tell your spouse about the ordeal. After a sexual assault, you may struggle with some aspects of intimacy, and it is okay to tell your spouse to stop doing something that you are not comfortable with now. If the assault happened in your previous marriage, you can learn to take things slow and tell yourcurrent husband when you are ready or not ready to have intimacy during the marriage.
Learn to trust. Sexual assault is a violation of trust, and it may take time for you to re-establish trust. All intimate relationships require trust, and to build a healthy relationship; you have to learn to trust again. It may take time to build trust again, but it is worth it. Your partner needs to feel that you trust them and do not compare them with your abuser. In her blog, Hayley Rose writes how she could not trust anyone, including herself, after sexual assault. Rape is a crime, and it is common not to trust anyone who wants intimacy with you. However, with time, you will learn to trust again after knowing the person very well.
Sexual assault is a crime that influences the whole life of the victim. Victims should learn to let go of painful feelings and learn to trust others again. To establish healthy relationships, victims of sexual assault need to seek help, set boundaries and learn to love and trust again. It is imperative not to make the ordeal personal and understand that it is not your fault that the assault happened to you.