Sexual trauma is a type of relational trauma and includes anything from a single incident to prolonged abuse. The effects of the trauma depend on the way the survivor perceives the event(s). Sexual trauma is experienced verbally, physically, or witnessed.
Sexual Abuse encapsulates various unwanted, forced, or pressured sexual behavior. Sexual abuse looks like rape, molestation, touching, bullying, and harassment. A person has been sexually abused when they are unable to give consent, but someone has made sexual contact with them. This happens when a victim is a child, developmentally delayed, has a cognitive impairment that keeps them from understanding what consent means, or when someone’s conscious awareness is incapacitated in any other way.
Those who have suffered from sexual abuse are likely to experience symptoms of PTSD, a limited ability to connect with others, and often feel deep shame in response to the abuse. It is common for survivors of sexual abuse to suffer from addiction like eating disorders and substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and dysfunctional relational patterns.
Sexual Bullying and Harassment:
Sexual Bullying and Harassment are types of abuse and discrimination inflicted on someone based on their gender, sex, sexual orientation, physical body, and perceived or actual sexual activity. The abuse can be perpetrated verbally, emotionally, and physically. It often takes the shape of rumors about someone’s sexuality/sexual life, unwanted touching, verbal and written attacks and threats, pressure to perform sexual favors, and spreading photos, videos, texts, and emails targeted at an individual.
Sexual Bullying and Harassment is more often perpetrated on girls and women but happens across gender. Victims of sexual bullying and harassment often feel isolated from their peer group, dysphoric, often engage in self-harm behaviors, and are likely to experience suicidality.
The effects of sexual bullying and harassment are lasting and can impair a survivor’s self-concept and ability to form healthy relationships.
I provide my clients with a safe, non-judgmental space to explore their experiences and help them find skillful and healthy ways to heal from the effects of abuse.
A life of purpose and joy with meaningful and intimate connections is possible.
I am a licensed mental health professional serving Portland, OR. 97205.