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This article will extensively discuss sexual trauma. If you are triggered, consider moving away from this article. If you are currently experiencing sexual violence of any kind, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.

Half of women who experience sexual assault experience symptoms of trauma long-term, reports Brit + Co. The first two weeks after the incident, up to 94 percent of survivors can experience symptoms of trauma. Interestingly, around half of cases of PTSD developed in the United States are the result of sexual violence of some kind.

The effects of sexual trauma are significant. Women, or men, who experience sexual trauma don’t just experience psychological trauma, but trauma of their body, their idea of safety, and their idea of safety within their body.

Sexual Behavioral Changes

Trauma manifests in many different ways, at different stages throughout someone’s life. In the case of sexual assault, trauma symptoms can manifest through sexual behaviors. Typically, sexual trauma manifests one of two ways. Sexual assault survivors may become hypersexual or they may become completely uncomfortable with any and all sexual activity, triggered by any hint of sexuality.

Judy Crane defines trauma as any life event or series of life events that create a negative impact on someone’s life. Such a negative impact distorts the way that someone sees themselves and their place in the world. Sexual trauma distorts someone’s sexual identity and the way they see themselves in their sexuality, as well as any kind of sexual engagement, which can include basic forms of intimacy like hugs or other physical proximities.

Feeling Unsafe and Realizing Safety

When trauma disrupts the nervous system, it creates a constant state of apprehension due to the chronic inflammation of the fight or flight response system, operating out of the sympathetic nervous system. Constantly feeling in danger means constantly feeling unsafe. Chemically, feeling unsafe correlates with the reality of trauma and it’s emotional experience. All the safety that someone feels in their knowledge of themselves and their world is uprooted when they face trauma like a sexual assault. Trauma teaches someone to expect the unexpected and that the unexpected can be as traumatically volatile as sexual assault.

Coming to the realization that safety is real, and that an individual is safe, and that safety can be obtained, is a monumental moment for sexual assault survivors. Creating safety is essential in PTSD recovery, especially for those who have experienced sexual trauma. Multiple therapeutic approaches and healing modalities contribute to the cultivation of safety both physically and psychologically.

We’re proud to call Florida our home state. At The Guest House Ocala, everyone with an experience of trauma is welcomed to our estate to heal in mind, body, and spirit. Our treatment programs are customized on a concierge level of care. Each client’s treatment program is tailor fit to their specific needs and experiences. For information on life at the estate or our approach to trauma care, call us today: 1-855-483-7800