Brookhaven Retreat Observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April

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Brookhaven Retreat, a unique residential treatment facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance abuse issues, recognizes the emotional challenges faced by sexual assault survivors.

Sexual Assault Awareness Month occurs annually in April and is organized by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center to raise awareness of and prevent sexual violence. Brookhaven Retreat observes Sexual Assault Awareness Month and participates in healing women from the mental effects of sexual violence.

The CDC reports that nearly one in five women in the U.S. have been raped and 45 percent of women have experienced sexual violence other than rape at some point in their lifetime. This translates into a large number of women currently dealing with the aftereffects of sexual assault.

Depression is common following sexual assault, The National Center for PTSD reports. Nearly one in three victims experiences at least one major depressive episode in their lives, and 17 percent of rape victims attempt suicide. A 2006 review found that sexual assault is the most frequent cause of posttraumatic stress disorder in women. As many as 94 percent of sexual assault survivors experience PTSD following their assault, with 30 percent still experiencing symptoms nine months later.

It is not uncommon for women to turn to substance abuse or other addictive behaviors in an attempt to relieve emotional suffering and control symptoms resulting from their trauma. However, self-medication is only temporary and women soon return to feelings of emptiness, worthlessness and anxiety.

There is a stigma associated with sexual assault that prevents women from asking for and receiving the help they need. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network reports that 54 percent of rapes are never reported. Women who do seek help relating to their trauma often experience feelings of anger, shame and guilt that interfere with the recovery process.

Brookhaven Retreat treats the emotional breakage resulting from sexual assault. It maintains an all-female facility in order to create an emotionally safe environment in which women may discuss sensitive issues such as rape and sexual assault. Women regain emotional health by working through trauma using a variety of therapies and find healing, self-esteem and love that create wellness. Its Poncho Program then helps women establish healthy life habits that create security and sense of safety after discharge from its facility.

Brookhaven Retreat supports the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s campaign to prevent sexual assault. It is dedicated to helping women recover from the mental effects of trauma and regain emotional wellness following sexual assault.

About Brookhaven Retreat
Brookhaven Retreat is a women's treatment center nestled on a naturally beautiful 48-acre site secluded in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. It has helped hundreds of women across the United States overcome depression, trauma, anxiety, substance use and a range of other behavioral health challenges. Brookhaven’s Founder, Jacqueline Dawes, has predicated its gender-specific treatment on “healing emotional breakage” for women. In this way, she has established a sanctuary and a place where women can feel safe, secure and cared for by a staff of highly trained professionals.

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Jessica Wirth
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