Recovery is a gradual process of healing and empowerment. Since violence causes you to feel a loss of control, healing can occur when you begin to regain a sense of power. Reflecting on the following points can help you move through the healing process:
- The violence was not your fault. Myths about violence against women get expressed in destructive ways: "It must have been her behavior, she must have provoked him somehow, it must have been what she was wearing, where she was. . . ." These things have nothing to do with the responsibility for the assault. You did not ask to be hurt and violated, and you do not deserve this. You made the best choices you were able to. You may have been forced to make life-or-death decisions before, during, and after the assault.
- There is no right way to feel or heal. Your reactions and healing process are connected to who you are as individuals. Your culture and economic background can influence your healing process in both positive and negative ways. We all take different paths to healing, and we must respect the choices made by each survivor.
- You deserve support. You need to reach out to people who will believe you, provide support, and help you find the strength and capacity to heal. Rape crisis centers and domestic violence hotlines are available and will often help without regard to immigration status. A family member, a friend, a clergy member, or a counselor is also an option. You may decide to find a support group or try other kinds of healing support based on art, music, writing, physical activity, or meditation.
- You need to give yourself time to heal.
Find out more about this book:Our Bodies, Ourselves: A New Edition for a New Era