If you’ve been sexually assaulted, it’s not your fault. Being under the influence doesn’t make you culpable, nor does it diminish the trauma of sexual assault. It’s a crime, whether or not substances are involved.
Unfortunately, the 2019 Global Drug Survey points to widespread under-reporting of sexual assault when alcohol and drugs are involved. 97% of victims do not go to the police. In this blog, we’ll look at the reasons why they aren’t getting the help they need.
For many of our clients, alcohol and drug treatment is the gateway to trauma recovery – including when they have experienced sexual assault in the past. If you don’t wish to call us for help, please speak to a trusted person instead – your GP, a counsellor, a close friend or relative. Recovery begins when you let the right people in.
Here are the main reasons why victims did not reach out for help
Victims are feeling responsible for someone else’s behaviour towards them. They are feeling ashamed rather than supported. They are fearing repercussions if they speak out. They are minimising or reframing what happened, taking the blame where they shouldn’t.
Additionally, some people struggle to remember exactly what happened, which can compound the trauma – 13% of sexual assault victims who were under the influence can’t recall events clearly and 3% say they can’t remember anything.
Given the complex picture around sexual assault and intoxication, it’s clear that much more needs to be done to encourage victims to seek help.
It’s also really important to say that trauma recovery takes time. If you’ve been sexually assaulted, you may feel ready to discuss it early in your recovery or after many months or years of therapy. There is no right or wrong way to recover. Some of our clients prefer to focus on their substance abuse recovery first before exploring their most painful experiences. Others find that residential rehab treatment, which includes 1-2-1 and group therapy, provides them with a very safe environment to start opening up.
The most important thing to know is that you are in charge of your recovery process. You decide what you want to talk about and when. You can speak in private to a counsellor of your choice. Or you can begin expressing your emotions through alternative therapies, without directly talking about specific events. The main focus of addiction treatment is your recovery from drugs, alcohol abuse, or any other addictive processes. Once this is achieved, the full healing process can begin.
Please contact UKAT for an addiction assessment and details on our CQC-rated addiction treatment programmes. We want to reassure all victims of sexual assault that you will be treated with dignity and respect.
If you successfully complete our 90-day inpatient treatment program, we guarantee you'll stay clean and sober, or you can return for a complimentary 30 days of treatment.