How To Stop Nightmares After Being Sexually Assaulted?

Mary was sexually assaulted by a neighbor when she was younger. Now, she has sleeping problems and has nightmares after the sexual assault. She wants to know how to stop them. She needs counseling because she’s covered over her issues for far too long.

Nightmares After Sexual Assault

MARY'S (EAU CLAIRE, WI) QUESTION:

Dawson: You were sexually harassed by a neighbor when you were young?

Mary: Yes, I can’t remember a lot of it. I remember one brief moment, and then I don’t remember a lot.

Dawson: So, how are you doing now?

Mary: I’ve had sleeping problems since 8th grade and whenever I do sleep, I get a nightmare about it. And a lot of times now, I’m waking up with panic attacks about my nightmares.

Dawson: What are you doing about it?

Mary: I don’t know what to do, that’s why I called you.

DAWSON MCALLISTER'S ANSWER:

Dawson: Whatever your plan is, it isn’t working, is it?

Mary: No. I told my parents about my neighbor, and they didn’t know what to do so they just left it. And then my little sister started playing over there. And so, I got nervous and told the police at my school. And then after that I started having sleeping problems.

Dawson: Why would your parents want your younger sister to play over there after what happened to you?

Mary: I don’t know.

Dawson:  What are they smoking…happy tobaccy? Well, Mary, this is real basic. You go back to that counselor at school again and you tell her what you just told me and say, “Recommend to me the very best person in my town that deals with these issues.” You’ve covered over, covered over, papered over these issues, but now they’re coming out screaming, saying, “Do something about this, Mary.” You have a responsibility to get well.

Mary: Okay.

Dawson: So, the sooner you get help from a professional, the quicker you will quit suffering.

If you are trying to cope with the aftermath of a sexual assault, like Mary, please visit our sexual assault topic page for blogs, podcasts, and stories from others for additional help and resources. 

Additionally, our partner, Rainn, offers 24/7  free, confidential support, information, advice, or referrals for help with sexual assault through their trained support specialist. 

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