Healing and Recovery

Everyone responds to sexual violence differently, and there is no right or wrong way to react. People may connect with a range of experiences - as a victim who sometimes feels violated and powerless, or as a survivor who sometimes feels empowered and connected. It's important to honor all experiences and recognize the wisdom of our body's authentic response to trauma. There is no timeline for healing; everyone's journey looks different, but recovery is possible, and things can get better. 

Survivors utilize a variety of resources, supports, and coping skills throughout their healing journey. And often, a little bit of patience, time, and support from others, can make a big impact on recovery. Explore the resources below to learn more about coping strategies that may be helpful to you in your healing journey. 

Resources for Coping

  • Learn more about Common Reactions to Trauma & Coping Strategies (PDF) to manage some of those common reactions 

  • There are many ways to cope, sometimes it can be helpful to distract yourself, but other times it may be helpful to look within, and feel your feelings. Utilize this Coping Skills Worksheet to create your own personalized coping skills plan.

    Coping Skills Worksheet (PDF)

  • Some survivors may struggle with thoughts of suicide. If you are having thoughts of suicide please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. If this is a life threatening emergency, or you are unable to keep yourself safe, call 911 or go to the nearest hospital. Creating a safety plan to prepare for times when you might be in crisis can be helpful. Using a Safety Plan template can be helpful in creating your own crisis safety plan. 

    Safety Plan Template (PDF)

  • Flashbacks, dissociation, and feeling triggered are normal responses to trauma, but they can be uncomfortable and scary, too. Using the 5 senses (sight, touch, taste, smell, sound) can in grounding you to the present moment and calm your body. Review some examples of Grounding Techniques.

    Grounding Techniques (PDF) 

  • Can’t sleep? Sleep is an important part of overall wellbeing, but trauma can interfere with our ability to fall asleep or stay asleep. Learn more about the impact of trauma on sleep, tips for healthy sleep habits, and coping with nightmares here.

    Sleep After Trauma (PDF) 

  • Breathing, relaxation, guided imagery, and meditation can help to move your body out of a trauma response, and can help you to self-soothe, and become more present and centered.

  • People find this Guided Meditation (and many others) from the QuietMindCafe helpful.

  • Different relaxation exercises can help soothe and calm the body; an important part of healing. This Relaxation Exercises handout (PDF) has several different exercises that might be helpful.

  • Learn about different breathing exercises on Dr. Weil's website

  • Explore different audio meditations on the Kaiser Permanenta website

  • Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy, and self-compassion can be a helpful tool for when we might be judging and criticizing ourselves. Review this the Self-Compassion meditations and exercises on the Self Compassion website

  • Overall self-care is an important part of the recovery journey. Learn more about self-care after trauma on the RAINN (rainn.org) website

Regardless of where you are in your joureny to recovery, here at the Center for Survivors we are here to help. Do not hesitate to reach out for therapy or advocacy services or utilize our Crisis Hotline or Crisis Chat. You are not alone.