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You Are Not Alone: Self-Care Tips and Resources for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Here at NEDA, we find it vital to recognize the unique experiences of individuals from different communities who are affected by eating disorders and sexual assault. In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, we've compiled a list of helpful resources, support posts, and self-care tips catered to those who have been affected and/or have loved ones who are survivors. 

Self-Care Tips:

Surround yourself with others. Now is the perfect time to be aware of your surroundings and distract yourself with the help of friends and loved ones. Do something with a group and keep your mind active and distracted. Surround yourself with people who build you up and who have similar interests as you. 

Remember that your experience is your own. Everyone’s story is different and there is no need to compare and contrast what makes you unique to everyone else. There is no right way to be a survivor and you do not owe anything to anyone. This month, and more importantly your life, is for you to be the best version of yourself. Do what is best for you in terms of self care.

Take a step away from media. With the topic spreading like wildfire on social media lately it is in everyone’s best interest to put down the phones and computers and take a second to be in the now away from all the news and media as they can be triggering. The flood of posts that may be available on Sexual Assault Awareness Month may be overwhelming so focus on engaging with people in real life and distract yourself from the media. Preserve your mental health by taking a step back!

It is okay to be alone. Although it is good to surround yourself with others, it’s okay to take a moment to yourself as well. It is easy to get overwhelmed with others around you and working on self care on your own is great too! 

Surround yourself with other individuals affected by sexual violence. It is easy to feel alone when you are struggling, so surround yourself with people who are also going through something similar and help each other grow. Staying in touch with compatible people can be very soothing. 

Be creative! Use your creativity to work on something other than your body. Whether it be writing, drawing, making music, etc. There are millions of creative outlooks that can be very healing and help distract you from whatever struggles you may be going through. Be mindful and put your expressive energy into your artwork. 

Find support within your community. If you or a loved one has experience with sexual assault, look to your community for support groups. You can also look at the list of support options below! 

Resources: 

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline

RAINN’s telephone hotline provides confidential support from trained staff members. The hotline offers support finding a local health facility trained to care for survivors of sexual assault, local resources that can assist with your next steps towards healing and recovery, information about laws within your community, and referrals for long term support.

Safe Horizon

Safe Horizon is the nation’s leading victim assistance organization. Their mission is to provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims of crime and abuse, their families and communities.

24 hour hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE(4673)

Not Alone: Together Against Sexual Assault 

This project from the University of Texas provides students with rights, instructions, and guidelines for when a sexual assault happens on campus, from how to file a complaint against a school to how to help bystanders.

Domestic Shelters 

Domestic Shelters makes finding information about domestic violence easier. They have verified information on shelters in LA to shelters in NY. They have free services to help you or a friend who may be suffering from physical abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, or verbal. Find 24-hour hotlines in your area, service listings, and helpful articles on domestic violence statistics, signs and cycles of abuse, housing services, emergency services, legal and financial services, support groups for women, children and families, and more.

National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233

International Rape Crisis Hotline 

World wide / International abuse and crisis help lines. Are you in crisis right now? You can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline, operated by RAINN, 24 hours a day at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) in the USA. You can also search for your local rape crisis center. 

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence 

The National Center has an award-winning website, initially funded by Altria, that provides direct access to information for local, state and national professionals and volunteers. The National Center collaborated with the Avon Foundation for Women to produce educational materials for the Speak Out Against Domestic Violence Campaign and works with many individuals and organizations to address violence in the military community. The National Center consults with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on DELTA (Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancements and Leadership Through Alliances), a program involving 14 state coalitions to advance the prevention of domestic violence. 

NOVA 

Founded in 1975, Nova is the oldest national victim assistance organization of its type in the U.S. and is the recognized leader in victim advocacy, education and credentialing. Their mission is to champion dignity and compassion for those harmed by crime and crisis. 

Victim Assistance Helpline at 800-879-6682 (800-TRY-NOVA)

9am-5pm every Monday-Friday

Support posts:

Over the years, NEDA has had some amazing guest writers who have been willing to speak about their experiences with sexual assault and eating disorders. If you are looking for pieces to identify with, we would recommend these posts.