It can be especially helpful to talk with a trained counselor or a therapist who is knowledgeable about the trauma of rape and knows how to assist victims. Many sexual assault victims find that therapy is an empowering experience.
Therapy provides a safe, private place where you can deal with your feelings and reactions. A person trained to assist sexual assault victims will understand the unique concerns you have and know ways to help you cope with the physical and emotional effects of the assault. A counselor can also help you deal with the reactions of family members and friends.
Some sexual assault victims feel that if they avoid talking about the assault, they will be able to forget about what happened to them. Most victims who try this approach eventually find that they need to deal with the assault and its aftermath. If they don't, their unresolved feelings and fears hold them back from enjoying their lives and participating fully in relationships.
You can find a therapist by contacting a rape crisis center, a hotline, or a counseling agency in your community. Look in the yellow pages under rape or women's services or call Directory Assistance. You can also call RAINN, a national victim assistance organization, at 1-800-656-HOPE. RAINN will connect you with a rape crisis center in your area. Most rape crisis centers offer free services to sexual assault victims.