Brookhaven Retreat Recognizes Violence Behind Increasing Dropout Rates as Part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Brookhaven Retreat, a unique voluntary residential facility exclusively for women with mental health and/or substance issues, recognizes the vulnerability of college women to sexual assault and helps them heal from this devastating crime.

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development reports that only 46 percent of U.S. college students complete their degrees. The Department of Justice estimates that one in four college women reports surviving rape or attempted rape, and the assault rate for women of college age is four times higher than the assault rate for all women.

Rape is the most common violent crime on college campuses, and Brookhaven Retreat recognizes not only that these two numbers are inextricably linked, but also the devastating effect that these violent acts have upon the mental health of women.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month draws attention to the number of women experiencing trauma in their household, but does not often touch on the vastly under-reported numbers of college rapes.

Surviving trauma such as a sexual assault may lead to depression, anxiety, destroyed self-esteem, feelings of guilt or shame as well as thoughts of suicide. Women who are suffering from the aftereffects of sexual assault may become chemically dependent, or develop coexisting psychiatric diagnoses.

Trauma is extremely devastating. Nine out of 10 college rape victims report knowing their attackers, and in many cases, continue to see them on campus. In addition, numerous institutional barriers can make reporting campus rapes complicated for victims. This is very difficult for trauma survivors to cope with.

In many cases, women are unable to successfully continue with school, and admission to a private mental health facility that treats depression, anxiety and trauma may be beneficial for recovery from these damaging experiences. Coping with trauma is delicate, and requires a place where women feel safe. These issues cannot be openly, comfortably discussed in a co-ed setting. A women-only environment creates a safe haven to discuss and treat these issues.

A private residential treatment center will develop a unique path to wellness that includes careful diagnosis, medication management and individual and group therapy.

This month, Brookhaven Retreat celebrates the strength and courage of women who deal with mental issues resulting from domestic violence. This week, it pays special attention to devastating college rape statistics by spreading awareness to its staff and renewing its dedication to helping women cope with the traumatic effects of campus rape.

With help, healing is possible, and women may finish their degrees having achieved the wellness and self-confidence they lost.

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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Amy Massaglia
Brookhaven Retreat
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