Rape: It’s not your fault. These are some of the first words you need to hear if you have been raped or sexually abused. You’ve gone through a traumatic experience.  The aftermath of this experience while invisible can last for a long time after the experience occurred.

If you have been a victim of rape or sexual abuse, you might begin to believe that the rape was partially your fault. As a result you now  might dress differently, share fewer opinions, question yourself, become more fearful of leaving your house, or begin to establish other negative patterns which have a negative impact on the overall quality of your life.

Again, rape is NOT your fault. Realizing that rape is not your fault is the first step towards overcoming your anxieties. Re-playing what occurred, wondering what you could have done to prevent this horrible experience will not be helpful. You are not responsible for someone else’s actions.

After you have accepted this fact, you are on the path to a healthier life. Remember, the experience was out of your control, and although you were a victim before, do not let the experience, and the person, influence your daily life negatively. Seek help if you are struggling to accept that this wasn’t your fault. After rape, many people feel a combination of shame, guilt, embarrassment, depression, sadness, confusion and regret.  Give yourself permission to stop blaming yourself.  Bad things happen to good people.  Healing takes time. Your only job is to find a way to acknowledge your past, live in the present and open yourself up to possibilities of the future.

Your family and loved ones also have to understand what happened to you, and possibly overcome their own mixed feelings as well. It will be a rewarding experience when your loved ones are able to support and understand you. Not everyone can do that immediately.  Some people need more time than others.

Take the initiative to tell your partner when you feel uncomfortable, and don’t allow yourself to become involved with a partner who is too controlling, or brings back negative emotions associated with your traumatic experience. With the necessary support, and through your own inner strength, you can achieve  a healthier mindset and lifestyle.  

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