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Sexual Violence, Rape, & Sexual Abuse
Articles & Essays


Volunteers and members of Pandora's Aquarium have written and collected a number of articles for rape and sexual abuse survivors and their supporters. These articles are about rape, sexual assault, and child sexual abuse, as well as issues that survivors struggle with, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and eating disorders. We hope you will find these articles helpful in your healing.

Unless otherwise stated, the articles below are copyrighted by Pandora's Project. Feel free to print a copy for your own use. However, you may not publish, either online or in print, these articles without express permission from Pandora's Project. If you would like to reprint one of these articles in a way that benefits rape and sexual abuse survivors or those who work with them, please contact us to request permission.

If you were a victim of rape, sexual assault, or sexual abuse and want to share your survivor story or get support from other survivors, consider joining the online support group, message board, and chat room.


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Rape & Sexual Assault | Child Sexual Abuse | Relationship Violence | Self-Care after Sexual Violence
Recovering from Trauma
| Volunteering & Activism | Secondary Survivors (Friends and Family) | Stalking
Relationships, Sex & Intimacy
| Parenting after Rape and Sexual Abuse | LGBT Issues | Legal Action
| Eating Disorders | Misc. & General



Rape & Sexual Assault

Title Summary Format
What to Do If You Have Been Raped Tips on what to do after rape or sexual assault. HTML | PDF
Was it My Fault?
Self-Blame & Survivors
Rape and sexual abuse victims often blame themselves.
Please know that it was not your fault
Rape & Pregnancy If you are pregnant after rape, you are not alone. HTML | PDF
Grey Area Rape Is there any such thing as "grey area" rape? HTML | PDF
For Survivors of Gang Rape Gang rape is more common than many think. HTML | PDF
Real Rape What nobody's telling you HTML | PDF
Losing Your Virginity to Rape What does it mean if rape was your first sexual experience? HTML | PDF
Rape by a Member of Law Enforcement What if your perpetrator was a police officer? HTML | PDF
Surviving Oral Rape Being forced to give or receive oral sex can be part of rape HTML | PDF
Male Rape & Assault Dispelling the myths about rape and assault of men. HTML | PDF
Drug-Facilitated Rape & Sexual Assault How to protect yourself from drug-related rape. HTML | PDF
Aquaintance Rape: A Matter of Consent From A Gift Within (external link) HTML (link)
An Open Letter to Teenage Girl
Survivors of Sexual Assault
A moving affirmation from a survivor to other survivors, and those who care for them. HTML | PDF
Breaking Down Fears of Groups Survivors assaulted by somebody of a certain gender, ethnicity or other group can remain afraid. This article gives strategies for dealing. HTML | PDF
Sexual Assault Involving
Forced Animal Contact
If you have experienced this extremely dehumanising form of sexual assault, you are not alone. And you can heal. HTML | PDF
Healing from sexual assault when you have a disability A survivor shares her experience, challenges and encouragment HTML | PDF
For a Victim of Rape, Silence is No Benefit Donna L. Potts shares her experience of rape by a collge professor, tthe attempts by her university to silence her, and her healing. HTML | PDF
Rape Conception and Harmful WordsNew article about rape or sexual abuse The mother of a rape-conceived child shares her sadness at the language people can use when having opinions about rape conception. HTML | PDF

Child Sexual Abuse

Title Summary Format
Understanding Why You Didn't "Tell" Please don't blame yourself for not disclosing as a child HTML | PDF
Memories & Abuse Combatting False Memory Syndrome HTML | PDF
Revictimization When survivors of child sexual abuse are hurt as adults HTML | PDF
Child Sexual Abuse and the "Grooming" Process Help understanding the way an abuser grooms a child for sexual abuse HTML | PDF
Sibling Sexual Abuse & Incest During Childhood Information and recovery tips for those abused by brothers, sisters, or step-siblings as a child. HTML | PDF
Healing your Inner Child as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse Survivors of childhood sexual abuse often have conflicting feelings about the child they were during the abuse. HTML | PDF
Why Child Sexual Abuse Can NEVER Be Your Fault Many survivors blame themselves for CSA. This article explains why it is not the child's fault. HTML | PDF
Eight Myths about Child Sexual Abuse From The Leadership Council (external link) HTML (link)
Adult Survivors Continuing
Relationships with Abusive Family
Why would survivors do this? For many reasons. HTML | PDF
Older People Surviving Child Sexual Abuse Longer-term impact of child sexual abuse, what can trigger it and how to get support. HTML | PDF
Child Rape: For Survivors and Interested Others Were you raped as a child? This article will give you validation and hints for healing. HTML | PDF

Relationship Violence

Title Summary Format
For Women Survivors of
Intimate Partner Rape
Helpful information on intimate partner rape HTML | PDF
An Overview of Partner Rape Basic information on relationship violence HTML | PDF
Effects of Intimate Partner Sexual Violence This article covers short- and long-term effects HTML | PDF
BDSM Lifestyle and Domestic Violence The difference between the two HTML | PDF
Domestic Violence in Lesbian Relationships Abuse can occur in same-sex relationships, too HTML | PDF
The Hidden Side of Domestic Abuse Men abused in intimate relationships HTML | PDF
Falling into a Crevasse within the Crack: My Experience with IPSV One woman's story of intimate partner sexual assault.  Partner rape does not always involve physical batter. HTML | PDF

Caring for Yourself After Sexual Violence

Title Summary Format
Finding a Therapist Tips for selecting a therapist and beginning sessions. HTML | PDF
Sexual Violence & Grief Will the pain ever end? HTML | PDF
Confronting Your Abuser Should you confront your perpetrator, physically or mentally? HTML | PDF
Grounding Coping with stressful periods in your life HTML | PDF
The Importance of Self-Care A few suggestions for how to take care of yourself as you heal from violence HTML | PDF
Secondary Wounding Identifying and overcoming hurt from others. HTML | PDF
Making the Decision to Get Help What are your options when you decide to get support? HTML | PDF
Ten Steps to Fostering Gentleness
& Compassion in Yourself
How to care for yourself as you heal. HTML | PDF
Be Gentle with Your Pain Alternatives for those who are hurting HTML | PDF
Coping with Anniversaries The anniversary of your rape does not have to be traumatic HTML | PDF
Countering Self-Blame You are not at fault for someone else's actions! HTML | PDF
If you are Healing from Sexual Assault, Read this Every Morning A daily affirmation for survivors of rape, sexual abuse, and any type of sexual assault HTML | PDF
Having to See Your Abuser How to cope with having to see the person who abused you, and one survivor's story. HTML | PDF
Facebook and Survivor Issues Safety tips for survivors who use social networking HTML | PDF
Surgery Coping Tips for Rape and Sexual Abuse Survivors Having surgery can be intimidating for a survivor. This article has tips on how to cope. HTML | PDF



Recovering from Trauma

Title Summary Format
Accepting our Broken Bits: Never "Over It"  But Still Healing For some survivors, healing can mean accepting that they will never be "over" what happened to them HTML | PDF
Panic Attacks & PTSD The personal account of an abuse survivor's journey HTML | PDF
PTSD and a Sense of Foreshortened Future If you have experienced trauma, you may expect more of the same. A helpful article by Lorne Cansler (external link) HTML (link)
Dealing with Triggers Triggers can be hard to cope with; here are some tips. HTML | PDF
Common Responses to Trauma How you might react to sexual trauma, and how to cope. HTML | PDF
Reduction of Trauma-Based Maladaptive Behavior What one survivor has learned about recovery from trauma HTML | PDF
A Recovery Bill of Rights for
Trauma Survivors
Within your life and in therapy HTML | PDF
The Invisible Epidemic Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Memory & the Brain HTML | PDF
PTSD & Art Therapy How art can help with the effects of post-traumatic stress HTML | PDF
Managing Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder and School
Tips for survivors of sexual violence coping with PTSD as they go to school. HTML | PDF
Dealing with Negativity and
Learning to Counter Negative Thoughts
Survivors may feel negative about themselves, other people, or their healing. This article gives coping tips. HTML | PDF
EMDR EMDR can be an excellent treatment for the trauma of sexual assault. HTML | PDF


Volunteering & Activism

Title Summary Format
Speaking Out: The Benefits to Survivors of Sexual Assault Read this article if you are considering speaking out about rape or sexual abuse HTML | PDF
Volunteering for a Rape Support / Activist Organization The benefits of volunteering, and one survivor's story HTML | PDF

Secondary Survivors (Partners, Family & Friends)

Title Summary Format
Tips for Partners, Friends & Family of Survivors How to help someone heal from sexual violence: what to say and do HTML | PDF
Self-Care While Supporting a Survivors Supporters need to take care of themselves, too HTML | PDF
Helping a Survivor Heal Sexually Regaining intimacy after sexual violence HTML | PDF


Title Summary Format
Stalking: Facts & Resources Facts, causes, and what you should do if you are stalked. HTML | PDF
Coping with Stalking & Repeated Rape Recognize the signs, take action, & more HTML | PDF
Stalking: A Handbook for Victims [pdf] By Emily Spence-Diehl (external link) PDF (link)
Organized Stalking: A Target's View [pdf] By Eleanor White (external link) PDF (link)

Relationships, Sex & Intimacy

Title Summary Format
Reclaiming your Sexuality Sexual healing after violence HTML | PDF
Coping with STIs as a Result of Sexual Violence Having an infection after rape can add additional trauma to the healing process HTML | PDF
Feeling Guilty About Wanting Sex You can reclaim your sexuality after violence HTML | PDF
Sexual Arousal & Sexual Assault It's not your fault if your body reacted to the assault HTML | PDF
Overcoming the Fear of Saying "No" Forming healthy sexual boundaries after rape HTML | PDF
Dealing with Rape Fantasies Tips for rape and sexual abuse survivors coping with sexual fantasies about rape and abuse HTML | PDF
Low Self-Esteem & Relationships:
How to Reclaim Yourself
Rape and sexual abuse can change how you view yourself. Learn tips to cultivate healthy relationships. HTML | PDF
New article about rape or sexual abuseBDSM and Survivor Healing BDSM can be therapeutic for survivors in the lifestyle HTML | PDF


Parenting after Rape and Sexual Abuse

Title Summary Format
Some Tips on How to Protect your Child from Sexual Abuse Comprehensive article with helpful tips for parents on how to prevent child sexual abuse. HTML | PDF
Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Parenting as a Survivor Helpful tips for rape and child sexual abuse survivors as they enter a new phase of life: parenthood HTML | PDF
Breast-feeding your Baby as a Rape or Sexual Abuse Survivor Support for survivors on breast-feeding: choosing to do it, and coping with issues it might bring up. HTML | PDF

I Will Survive (Thoughts on Survivors Giving Birth)

Survivors who give birth may have special issues. Read this article by doula and survivor Katie Wise HTML | PDF

LGBT Issues

Title Summary Format
Coming Out to Family & Friends as GLBT Helpful tips if you decide to come out HTML | PDF
The Problem with the Belief that Child Sexual Abuse 'Causes' Homosexuality Is there a connection between abuse and sexuality? HTML | PDF
Dealing with Rape as a "Hate Crime" within the Lesbian Community How women can cope with rape perpetrated against them as part of a hate crime. HTML | PDF

Legal Action

Title Summary Format
Medical Information Rape Kit and Evidence Collection Procedures HTML | PDF
Reporting a Rape Helpful tips if you decide to go to law enforcement HTML | PDF
Testifying Information on appearing as a witness HTML | PDF
Deciding to Pursue Legal Action Weighing options to make the right choice for you HTML | PDF
Writing a Victim Impact Statement Tips for rape and sexual abuse survivors HTML | PDF
Surviving Jury Duty: Tips for Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivors Being called for jury duty can be stressful for survivors. Tips on what to expect and how to cope. HTML | PDF


Title Summary Format
Understanding Why You Self-Harm Understanding why can help you stop HTML | PDF
Learning to Live without Self-Harm You CAN give up self-injury HTML | PDF
Relapsing What to do if you relapse after quitting self-injury HTML | PDF
What Actually is Considered Self-Injury? Definitions of self-harm HTML | PDF
Disclosing Self-Injury: Tips for Sexual Violence Survivors Are you considering telling someone about self-harm? Read this article first. HTML | PDF

Eating Disorders

Title Summary Format
Eating Disorder Definitions Define anorexia, bulimia, & other EDs HTML | PDF
Eating Disorder Signs & Symptoms How to recognize if you have an ED HTML | PDF
Physical and Medical Complications Complications arising from EDs HTML | PDF
A Guide For Parents and Loved Ones For friends & family of those with eating disorders HTML | PDF

Misc. & General Articles

Title Summary Format
The Myth of Women's False Accusations of Domestic Violence and Rape and Misuse of Protection Orders Michael Flood's Factsheet HTML (link)
False Accusations of Rape By Jim Hines (external link) HTML (link)
Is it Wrong to Be a "Victim"? By Dr. Frank Ochberg (external link) HTML (link)
Suicide Risk Factors Factors to watch for if you're concerned about suicide HTML | PDF
My Journey From R.A.D. Student to
R.A.D. Instructor
Empowerment through self-defense HTML | PDF



Turn your wounds into wisdom.
- Oprah Winfrey