Chapter Summary

Sexual violence or rape is a traumatic experience that can have a devastating psychological impact on women and men. The psychological symptoms can range from mild anxiety or depression to severe symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, PTSD, and/or alcohol/drug abuse or dependence. Most women will experience psychological symptoms after a rape, and while most get better, a certain percentage will not. Fortunately, two well-developed, effective therapies can help those with PTSD symptoms even years after one trauma or many traumatic events. These two therapies, Cognitive Processing Therapy and Prolonged Exposure Therapy, have had a tremendously positive impact on rape survivors and have created hope for healing. These two very different therapies tackle PTSD and offer reassurance to the rape survivor. Understanding the foundation of these two therapies is important because a survivor can choose the therapy that is most comfortable, and knowledge can set the stage for healing when the time is right to start treatment. The important message is that there is hope with two effective treatment options for healing the devastating effects of rape.

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