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The Mental Health Challenges of Sexual Trauma Survivors

Updated: Nov 29, 2022

Sexual trauma is highly traumatic, and its scars stay long. The shock from the sexual trauma often causes the survivors confusion, numbness or even dissociation. Survivors of sexual trauma often experience PTSD, flashbacks, anxiety, depression and relationship challenges caused by the highly traumatic experience.

Many sexual trauma survivors blame themselves for the sexual trauma even though it was never their fault. Sexual trauma survivors whose families dismiss and minimise their traumatic experience feel confused, alone and isolated. They feel guilty for seeking help and wonder if they have the right to feel violated, leading them to suffer the traumatic experience in silence. Trauma survivors frequently numb their painful emotions to cope with daily living. Still, the unprocessed trauma continues to persist and often manifests through:

  • Body dysmorphia and eating disorders

  • Suicidal ideation and self-harm

  • Somatic symptoms such as pelvic pain, gastrointestinal problems, and headaches

  • Severe anxiety, tension and panic attacks

  • Emotional numbness and repression

  • Amnesia

  • Difficulties with trust and establishing healthy boundaries

  • Fear of intimacy

  • Vulnerability to abusive relationships

  • Addictions

Therapy to help sexual trauma survivors overcome their scars includes Psychodynamic Therapy, Trauma-Focused CBT and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR).

Sexual trauma is traumatic and life-altering. The mental scars stay with the survivors for a long time. Recovering from sexual trauma takes time and patience. Seeking help from empathetic and experienced trauma therapists is essential to support sexual trauma survivors in their healing journey. Restoring Peace Counselling & Consultancy provide counselling and psychotherapy for survivors of sexual trauma. For more information, visit us at or Whatsapp us at +65 8889 1848.

Keywords: Singapore, mental health clinic, trauma, sexual trauma, PTSD, therapy

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