To help a rape victim deal with and reduce the number of flashbacks, the therapist often uses a technique called prolonged exposure. This is basically the process of confrontation in a controlled environment. The rape victim learns to trust that they are in a safe place and begins the journey of opening up the memory of the trauma in order to heal. This should also decrease any panic attacks the victim may have been experiencing. The victims are trained to cope with their own reactions as they repeat similar situations during therapy.
Developing the necessary coping skills is a key element since the healing process uncovers many layers of the abuse and high lights many unhealthy choices. For example, substance abuse could most likely be another issue needing to be dealt with in order for the victim to heal. If the parties involved have been self medicating with drugs in order to dull the emotional pain and distorting their reality, the treatment for healing will be lengthy.
It is good for the victim to have resources available and understand that rape is not really about the sex, it is the person’s frustration with power and control issues. A good support group can help the victim get back to normal sooner. They can help by including her in activities and give a little extra strength when she appears to feel a bit unraveled. They will be the ones to encourage the victim to seek out help. Rape is aggressive and degrading. A victim should not be made to feel intimidated after the assault by a group of family members that she can not trust and that do not support her.