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  San Diego Therapist Specialties:

Rape and Sexual Assault
Therapy and Treatment

Rape Trauma Syndrome is a common and normal set of reactions to rape or sexual assault, which may include the following symptoms:

  • Crying, anxiety, agitation, or hysteria
  • Shock that appears as calmness
  • Disbelief, disorientation, difficulty in daily tasks
  • Poor concentration, Poor recall of the assault
  • Minimizing or trivializing the rape episode
  • Suppressing the memory as though nothing happened
  • Self-victimization through judgment or analysis
  • Escape by moving, changing relationships/jobs/appearance 

PTSD symptoms can include:

  • Continuing anxiety                      
  • Severe mood swings
  • Increased arousal (sleep difficulties, poor concentration hypervigilance, irritability, anger or rage.)
  • Helplessness
  • Persistent fear or phobia
  • Depression (can lead to suicide)
  • Problem eating
  • Denial
  • Withdrawal (from family, friends, activities)
  • Disturbing memories of the event (flashbacks which can include body memories)
  • Also see Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Rape or sexual assault is violent sexual activity forced upon another person, female or male, without their permission and against their will. The sexual activity is a way to hurt, humiliate, or control another person. Perpetrators may be boyfriends, girlfriends, family members, lovers, partners, acquaintances, or strangers. 

A rape or another form of sexual assault takes place every two minutes in the United States. In 2007, there were 248,300 victims of sexual assault, with 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men becoming a victim of sexual assault in their lifetime. Though college-age women are four times as likely to be sexually assaulted, sixty percent of the incidents go unreported. Adults who were sexually assaulted in childhood may experience Complex PTSD. Adult survivors often have somatic symptoms that represent the psychological distress and, hence, may have an unusually high use of health care services.

EMDR treatment was first researched for dealing with trauma and PTSD from rape and molestation (or combat trauma). The purpose is to provide therapy in a calm, safe environment to decrease the intensity of the triggers that bring on the symptoms mentioned above. Our therapists are highly skilled, compassionate and understanding of the suffering borne from the kind of severe intrusion experienced through rape and other forms of sexual assault.

It is important to know what to do in the case of rape, and it is important to remember it is never, ever the victim’s fault. The one who chooses to rape is responsible for that choice. Feelings of shame can occur as a normal reaction to having been in a risky situation, not noticing the risk, or to having been violated, but it is in the victim’s best interest to report the circumstance. The City of San Diego’s Rape Crisis Center provides free and confidential services. This includes 24-hour hospital accompaniment (though you may want to bring your own trusted support person as well to help advocate for you), liaison for survivors, phone and in-person counseling. They also provide education and support in the courts. Temporary restraining orders are provided free of charge.

24-hour Toll Free Crisis Line:  1-888 385-4657
Coastal Location:  858-272-5777
La Mesa Location:  619 697 7477
North County Location:  760-747-6282
Nationally: 1-800-656-HOPE

We have much hope for you in recovering from the trauma of rape or sexual assault. Please call one of our specialists today, because they would be honored to assist you in getting yourself and your life back.

Please also see our Post Traumatic Stress Disorder information and specialists.

Back to Psychotherapy Specialties for San Diego

San Diego therapist, rape, sexual assault, molest, PTSD

San Diego Therapists Specializing in Rape and Sexual Assault Therapy and Treatment:

Melodee Arnold, RN, LMFT, CGP
San Diego

Dana Terrell, LCSW
San Diego



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Copyright 2009 Dana Terrell. and San Diego Trauma Therapy, San Diego, California 92104