Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Sexual abuse is defined as the unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. Unfortunately, domestic violence and sexual abuse are two things that often intersect and both are a lot more prevalent in the United States than one might think. On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence or stalking by an intimate partner in the United States — which equates to more than 12 million women and men over the course of a year (The National Domestic Violence Hotline 2018).
Victims who are both physically and sexually abused are more likely to be injured or killed than victims who experience one form of abuse. Abusers assault people of all genders, races, ages, social classes and ethnicities. Women who are sexually abused by intimate partners suffer severe and long-lasting physical and mental health problems, similar to those of other rape victims. They have higher rates of depression and anxiety than women who were either raped by a non-intimate partner or physically but not sexually abused by an intimate partner. Nearly 1 in 2 women and 1 in 5 men experienced sexual violence victimization other than rape at some point in their lives. The mental health effects that have been linked with intimate partner violence include neurological disorders, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (NCADV 2018).
Because of the influx of survivors coming out with their stories of emotional and sexual abuse - from famous people to maybe even someone you know, the impact that these stories have had on the public are immense. The #MeToo movement, as well as the Women’s March that happened both in 2017 and 2018 have caused many survivors to speak about their past traumas which has resulted in victims finally being able to seek the help that they need to move forward from their trauma. Most modern types of therapy to help heal these psychological traumas are: cognitive behavioral therapy, narrative therapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Mindfulness techniques such as meditation or experimental techniques such as incorporation art, journaling or equine-assisted activities are great therapeutic approaches for victims of domestic and sexual abuse (GoodTherapy, 2017). In a meta-analysis of randomized control trials with EMDR, eight studies met the criteria. EMDR therapy was superior to waitlist/placebo conditions and showed comparable efficacy to cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) in reducing post-traumatic and anxiety symptoms (PubMed 2017).
Acupuncture and massage are great alternatives to traditional trauma therapy. Studies like those conducted by Dr. Hollifield at Department of Psychiatry in University of New Mexico, show that acupuncture can be used successfully as natural treatment for PTSD symptoms like depression, anxiety, insomnia as well as pain originating from psychosomatic disorders. The healing effects of acupuncture last over three months post-treatment. Unlike other conventional psychiatric treatments that are exposure-oriented (in that they require patients to reconstruct traumatic incidents), acupuncture for PTSD does not expose the patient to such elements and hence is safer and non-intrusive (Pacific College 2015). Ear acupuncture has also helped many trauma victims and sexual assault survivors overcome sleep disorders originating from PTSD (Pacific College, 2015).
If you or someone you know has been dealing with past or recent trauma from domestic abuse or sexual assault, here at Liberated Spirit, we are more than happy to help you overcome and move forward from these experiences.
Please call or schedule an appointment online through our online schedule, found here: https://erinward.drchrono.com/scheduling/offices/dGhpcyBpcyAxNiBjaGFycxo_xg85esmcC17bNLp1-zE%3D.