Being intimate with your significant other is supposed to be a comforting and safe experience. This sometimes is not the case with sexual trauma survivors, and it isn’t their fault. Being intimate may become especially triggering and it’s important for the partner of the survivor to understand that it wasn’t something they did wrong, but it was the wrongful doing of someone else.
Being in a relationship with a survivor of sexual trauma can sometimes leave an individual at a loss of what to say or do. Its important not to push the survivor past what they may be comfortable with, as the definition of what intimate means has totally changed. It’s also important to listen to them and give them the chance to open up (if they are willing) about their experience.
Trust has an extremely huge role in a sexual trauma survivor’s life. Because of the trauma that the survivor endured, trust may be hindered in the relationship. It may take time and patience for them to be willing to let their partner in on their lives. If your partner is going through this, it is important to let them know that you are there for them and be patient with them in this process.
A relationship doesn’t always mean physical intimacy, and by being in this situation with a survivor, being intimate may not be first priority. Its essential to build trust and a safe environment between one another, and by doing other activities, it may give the chance to learn more about each other.
Being a victim of sexual assault is a traumatic experience. Many survivors struggle to cope in the wake of their assault, and may suffer from depression, anxiety, or even post-traumatic stress disorder. It’s hard to trust anyone after you have been the victim of a crime. This makes it extremely difficult for some sexual assault survivors to maintain healthy relationships—in all areas of their lives, but sometimes particularly in romantic relationships.
Intimate partners of survivors have to learn how to gain or regain their trust and how to make them comfortable. Some survivors may have triggers to flashbacks of their assault, or generally be uncomfortable around things that remind them of the experience. This could be anything from a color to a type of fabric, to a song or a tone of voice. It’s important for intimate partners to be willing to learn these triggers and be careful to avoid them whenever possible. Because victims will have to explain their needs to their partner, they also need to know that they can trust their partner with any details they are willing to share and be met with empathy and understanding.
As a partner of someone who has been sexually assaulted, whether it was before or after you began your relationship, there are several things you can do to help your partner cope and to strengthen your relationship. Be respectful of their boundaries, give them space or time when they need it, and make sure they know that you are available if they ever need help. Don’t ever try to rush intimacy; let them set the pace. Try to be open to communication, and understand that sometimes you may not be able to help, but that you are not at fault for that. Sometimes survivors need more than just a friend or a partner to talk to.
Above all, trust they know their own limits and that they’re still a person—capable of taking care of themselves and making decisions for themselves. In order to earn someone’s trust, you must be a person worth trusting. That includes being tirelessly supportive without expecting anything in return. If you care for someone who is a survivor of sexual assault, always be mindful of their needs and wants, and really put effort into being a good partner and friend. It may not feel like you’re doing much, but sometimes it can make all the difference.
July 4th brings fireworks and fun but it can also bring on some anxiety from crowds and loud noises. One way to handle the anxiety is to repress, but there are some other ways that may be more beneficial.
Take this site, which reviews ten different yoga moves to help relieve stress but also to just recharge and focus for the day ahead. The “chair corpse pose” I actually have done before, and believe it or not, this just may be the best use for a chair other than sitting on it.
Better yet, why not eat something? Here is a helpful overview of the top ten foods for stress relief, and do not include devouring potato chips or a decadent dish of ice-cream. Avocados and green tea would be my personal favorites of this list.
Ever heard the saying that if you repeat something enough it will ring true? One of the easiest methods is to develop a mantra to refocus. My personal favorite on this site would be the mantra: “Let It Go”, but change the Go to Goat and watch this video.
If all else fails, take a cue from the wise goats and release whatever is bothering you in a healthy way.