There Is Hope

There Is Hope

Surviving Adult Sexual Assault

Everyone needs to rest and recover after trauma, and sometimes this does mean trying to escape from difficult feelings. However, the natural process is that post-traumatic stress manifestations do tend to slowly reduce over time. Feelings don’t last forever. They tend to come, go, come back, and go again, until they are fully processed. The only feelings that stick around for long periods are feelings you are putting off because of fear.

For most people, this process will only take a few weeks or months to move past the acute stage, although this may take longer if there is pre-existing trauma or the assault was particularly violent, terrifying, or involved betrayal. There are no rules to this work. It will take as long as it takes, and the pace is in your control.

In broad terms, the process of counselling for sexual assault trauma will go something like this:

  1. If you are having real difficulty managing your anxiety about the memories and feelings, or having strong flashbacks or intrusive memories, you will first learn basic skills for managing these phenomena and for managing anxiety as it comes up.
  2. Once the fear of the memories/feelings is manageable, in a safe environment (such as counselling), you can carefully begin directly facing the memories and feelings of the assault. This will involve sadness and probably anger, however they are only feelings and you will cope.
  3. Over time, your memory of the abuse will no longer trigger these intense and terrible feelings. It will become a ‘normal’ memory – tragic and sad, but no longer triggering of extreme emotions.
  4. Once the feeling are processed, any strategies which have led to problems will become much easier to deal with. They may even melt away without much effort.


Important note – This site not will give you all the information you need to do this work. We would encourage you to at least think about talking to a counsellor or a person experienced in working with trauma to help you in this process. Difficult memories should only be confronted in a safe environment. Give us a call on 02 6247 2525 to see how we can help.