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Trauma is easier to cope with when you have support, just like a broken bone is easier to set with a cast. We’ve compiled a list of resources for sexual assault and domestic abuse survivors, ranging from online group counseling to books, retreats, and peer support.
This list includes resources for women and men; young adults and children; disabled, trans, nonbinary, and LGBTQIA+ survivors; and survivors of color. Many of the websites linked here have their own lists of resources, so you can find even more options with just a few clicks.
Avoidance — one of the most common manifestations of PTSD — often makes it difficult for survivors to tackle their trauma head-on, particularly if the trauma is acute or recent.
As daunting as it may be to pick up the phone and call a hotline, inquire about group therapy, or attend a trauma-informed yoga class, taking an active role in your recovery will be the most empowering thing you can do for yourself.
The Anti-Violence Project (AVP) offers free, bilingual (English/Spanish), 24-hour, 365-day-a-year crisis intervention and support to LGBTQ+ survivors, as well as HIV-affected survivors of any type of violence.
It also offers support to people who love and support survivors, including those who have lost a loved one to violence. Callers receive immediate crisis counseling and safety planning, as well as access to ongoing counseling, advocacy, and onsite legal services.
AVP may also be able to accompany you to court or to the police.
Childhelp runs the National Child Abuse Helpline, and they can be reached 24/7. They talk to people of all ages who have experienced parental abuse and can help you report instances of child abuse. They also provide resources for prevention, intervention, and treatment.
Darkness to Light
Darkness to Light offers local information and resources about sexual abuse. You can also text “LIGHT” to 741741 for crisis support with a trained counselor. These services are available 24/7, free, and confidential, and will be answered by a trained information and referral representative.
Helpline availability varies according to state and call center. Darkness to Light also has resources for reporting child sex abuse and human trafficking.
If you’re 24 years old or younger and have experienced sexual trauma and/or domestic violence, you can call Day One’s free and confidential hotline, available in English and Spanish, or text 646-535-3291 to ask for help and resources.
Day One provides additional services, including legal services, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender-nonconforming, queer, and questioning youth who are struggling with intimate partner abuse.
If you live in New York, you can also use Day One’s Direct Services Program, which provides free and confidential counseling, case management, and legal advice, information, and direct representation.
Loveisrespect is a project of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and Break the Cycle. It is a fantastic resource for advice and info on healthy dating. Its mission is to empower youth and young adults to prevent and end abusive relationships.
Peer advocates can be reached 24/7 via phone and online chat. You can also text “loveis” to 22522. Loveisrespect offers help with safety planning, support systems, self-care, abuse on campus, calling the police, documenting abuse, and obtaining a restraining order.
It offers guidance for LGBTQ survivors and undocumented survivors as well.
The National Center for Victims of Crime
The center’s VictimConnect Resource Center is a place for victims of any crime nationwide to learn about their rights and seek resources, including legal aid, advocacy, and treatment.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
The National Domestic Violence Hotline is free, confidential, and available 24/7/365 in English and Spanish.
The website has a chat function that’s available all day, every day. You’ll also find a wealth of resources and info about state coalitions, counseling services, shelters, and legal aid.
In addition, there’s a library of articles about healthy relationships, boundaries, recognizing abuse, and talking to teens about domestic violence.
RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization, It operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is free, confidential, and available 24/7/365 in English and Spanish.
RAINN works in partnership with more than 1,000 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. You can also chat online with a counselor at hotline.rainn.org.
You can call RAINN for guidance and resources in crisis (call 911 if it’s an emergency), after recent sexual trauma, or to talk about sexual trauma that happened long ago. RAINN also has programs to prevent sexual violence, help survivors, and help bring perpetrators to justice.
RAINN can help you find support groups, group therapy, individual counselors, legal aid, emergency shelter, medical attention/accompaniment, crime victim assistance advocacy, and a number of other services in your area.
Safe Horizon has a free, 24/7/365, confidential national hotline in English and Spanish for domestic violence survivors; rape, incest, abuse, and sexual assault survivors; and victims of other violent crimes.
Counselors are available to talk about your situation (whether it’s recent or not). They can help you figure out the next steps, such as counseling, legal aid, safety planning, or finding a shelter.
They can also help you find in-person counseling, group therapy, legal aid, and other resources. If you’re based in NYC, you can access in-person services at their offices in Brooklyn and Harlem by appointment.
Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services
The community links page on the Abused Deaf Women’s Advocacy Services (ADWAS) website offers a list of services and centers across the country to help deaf and/or deaf-blind people who have experienced abuse.
The website includes information about domestic violence, abuse, and recovery, as well as inspiring survivor stories.
ADWAS is based in Seattle, Washington. If you’re local, you can visit the center for all kinds of services, including:
- short-term crisis counseling
- ongoing individual/family therapy related to domestic violence and sexual assault
- group counseling related to childhood sexual assault and domestic violence
- psychosocial assessments and evaluation of sexual abuse of children
- client advocacy and referrals
ADWAS also has a local crisis video call hotline, 24/7/365, which you can reach at 206-812-1001, or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies
On the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) website, you can search for a qualified provider of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), an evidence-based method for treating PTSD.
The website also has great information on behavioral and cognitive therapeutic approaches, so you can learn more about treatments that might be right for you.
Domestic Shelters may be the most comprehensive database for people seeking shelter from domestic violence. They offer verified information on shelters and domestic violence programs across the country.
This free service can help if you or a friend is experiencing physical, emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse. They can help you find domestic violence programs based on your location, service, and language needs.
Domestic Shelters provides:
- 24-hour hotlines
- service listings
- helpful articles on domestic violence statistics, signs and cycles of abuse, housing services, emergency services, legal and financial services, and support groups for women, children, and families
National Center for PTSD
This is a web resource provided by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. It has excellent information on PTSD, including the most effective treatments and what they involve. Although it’s geared toward veterans, you don’t need to be a vet to use the website.
Sisters of Color Ending Sexual Assault (SCESA)
SCESA is an advocacy organization working on policy change, collaboration with other social justice movements, and community awareness.
The organization’s website has an excellent resources page for women of color looking for treatment centers and organizations in their area dedicated to serving sexual assault survivors. It also offers music, film, and book recommendations.
This is the website of the magazine Psychology Today. You can use the Psychology Today support group search to find sexual trauma support group therapy near you.
SGU Tiwahe Glu Kini Pi
This is a mental, emotional, and spiritual health resource center for the Lakota nation, particularly for men, women, and children who have experienced trauma. It offers a number of programs and services based in Lakota traditions.
The Breathe Network
The Breathe Network connects sexual trauma survivors to practitioners who offer sliding-scale, trauma-informed, holistic healing arts and support.
It also offers a range of information for survivors of sexual violence to promote an understanding of how the holistic healing arts can facilitate healing.
Healing arts supported by the Breathe Network include:
- cranial-sacral therapy
- somatic therapy
- sound healing
- art, music, and color therapies
- feng shui
The Breathe Network provides a list of emergency resources available by phone or online. They also have a list of organizations and books for those pursuing alternative healing arts to complement their trauma recovery.
SomaticExperiencing Trauma Institute
This site is a great resource for evidence-based studies about how trauma affects the brain and body and for information on somatic therapy approaches to recovery. You can use the directory to find somatic therapists specializing in trauma recovery.
Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute
The founder and medical director of the Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute, Bessel van der Kolk, is an internationally recognized researcher and practitioner of somatic-based therapy for trauma survivors.
The center offers a number of outpatient medical services for clients seeking therapeutic treatment.
You can use their directory to search for a somatic therapy provider near you. The Trauma Center’s website also has a treasure trove of trauma and somatic-approach recovery research and offers somatic therapy trainings for therapists, counselors, healers, and yoga teachers.
Exhale to Inhale (ETI)
Exhale to Inhale uses yoga as a foundation to empower those affected by domestic violence and sexual assault to transform their lives.
ETI employs the healing practice of trauma-informed yoga to empower trauma survivors. It works within communities, especially at shelters and community centers. Its goal is to foster community skills and knowledge to support trauma survivors.
Exhale to Inhale provides free weekly yoga classes at domestic violence shelters and community centers in New York, Connecticut, and Los Angeles. It also offers trauma-informed yoga teacher training.
Transcending Sexual Trauma Through Yoga
Zabie Yamasaki, the founder of this organization, offers private and group yoga classes for sexual trauma survivors.
The programs include an eight-week “yoga as healing” series for survivors of sexual trauma, which can be done in person or online. The organization also offers trauma-informed yoga teacher training.
Zabie Yamasaki is known for her intensive and supportive retreats, which are held all over the country. Her website offers helpful information about trauma-informed yoga and how it can help trauma survivors.
You will also find information on her website about:
Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TCTSY)
This is David Emerson’s center for trauma-sensitive yoga. The website offers a search function to help you find certified trauma-sensitive yoga facilitators worldwide.
There are also links to resources, books, and research on this method of trauma treatment. TCTSY also offers trainings and a number of other events and workshops.
Assistance Dogs International
Assistance Dogs International is a coalition of nonprofit assistance dog organizations that help people find dogs to match their needs.
Alliance of Therapy Dogs
Alliance of Therapy Dogs is a national therapy dog registry and can assist you in certifying a potential therapy dog.
EQUUSOMA Equine-Assisted Trauma Therapy
If you like horses, or even if you’ve never touched one, this might be a useful approach to trauma therapy for you. (If nothing else, you get to hang out with a horse.)
Inspired by Peter Levine’s approach to somatic therapy and trauma recovery, EQUUSOMA works with human clients in equine-facilitated interventions. They guide equine-based activities and facilitator interactions so these activities don’t overwhelm or retraumatize clients.
Horses have a complex nervous system, much like humans, and are very sensitive to their human partners. Working with horses allows participants to be more aware of both their reactions and the horses’ reactions.
The idea behind the experience is to care for yourself and the animal and integrate compassion, healing, and self-awareness.
Freedom Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
While Freedom Farm doesn’t have a program specific to sexual trauma survivors, it does have therapeutic riding programs.
Freedom Farm describes its activities as “partnering with the unique attributes of the horse to improve mobility, build confidence, and encourage personal growth in children and adults with physical, mental and emotional challenges.”
Pawsitivity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing dogs and training them as service dogs for people with PTSD and other conditions.
The SheHerdPower Foundation is dedicated to providing free equine-guided empowerment services to women survivors of sexual trauma.
The foundation offers weekend-long programs providing a variety of personal development and somatic empowerment group experiences, including on-the-ground interaction with horses.
Art Therapy Blog
Art Therapy Blog is full of articles and resources for art therapy for adults and children and specialized projects and research for audiences ranging from trauma survivors to people with autism.
You can try these projects yourself or with a counselor, therapist, or group.
Last Battle is a creative space for sexual trauma survivors to share their artwork, stories, and poems in the site’s gallery. The program was created by Mary Ellen Mann, author of “From Pain to Power: Overcoming Sexual Trauma and Reclaiming Your True Identity.”
The website includes a blog for inspiration and recovery, Mann’s keynote speeches and talks, and a page of “ideas for living well,” which is filled with advice for advocacy, recovery, and support.
The site has a Christian tone and uses the metaphor of the “Princess Warrior” to explore recovery. It also includes exercises and articles on meditation and women’s empowerment.
1in6 is a resource for men who have had unwanted or abusive sexual experiences.
The website offers:
- recovery information for men
- men’s stories of trauma and recovery
- 24/7/365 online chat support with trained advocates
- anonymous online support groups facilitated by a professional counselor
Forge is a Milwaukee-based organization dedicated to advocating for and protecting the lives of transgender/nonbinary people and their loved ones.
If you are trans and a survivor of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or hate violence, you can email AskFORGE@forge-forward.org or call their hotline at 414-559-2123 for information, resources, and referrals to providers in your area.
Forge’s website also offers:
- a peer support listserv
- online Writing to Heal courses
Male Survivor is a collection of resources and articles for men who have experienced sexual trauma, as well as a forum for men to discuss trauma and recovery.
Resources on the website include:
- a therapist directory to locate therapists who specialize in treating male survivors of sexual trauma
- a support group directory
- a peer support guide
- a male survivor forum
- a resources directory
- notices of healing events
The website offers access to its HopeHealingSupport Team, who are available by email to answer any questions survivors may have.
National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)
The NSVRC offers up-to-date research and resources on sexual-violence recovery, including news, projects, special collections, publications, and a library.
It also offers a database for survivors seeking help in the form of individual or group counseling, support groups, community outreach, advocacy, and more.
According to the website, NSVRC “enjoy[s] strong partnerships with state, territorial, and tribal anti-sexual assault coalitions and allied organizations.” You can search by state to find resources near you.
Protect Our Defenders (POD)
Protect Our Defenders (POD) is the only national organization solely dedicated to ending the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military and combating a culture of pervasive misogyny, sexual harassment, and retribution against survivors.
POD supports survivors of military sexual assault and sexual harassment, including service members, veterans, and civilians assaulted by members of the military.
Resources on the website include:
- applications for free legal services
- directories for local services
- peer-to-peer support
- resource libraries
This resource is not a replacement for therapy but rather an online space for survivors of a very specific kind of sexual abuse or trauma to share and validate their experiences as peers. Survivorship has yearly conferences and video resources.
Membership is available on a sliding scale of “$75 down to what you think you can pay.” Benefits include updates every other month with news of the organization, national events, and news articles for survivors.
Members also have access to the members-only section of the website. Two times per year, members receive the journal, which contains many articles, poems, and artwork by survivors, therapists, family or friends of survivors, and other supporters.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP)
SNAP is dedicated to supporting survivors who have been abused by priests or other religious figures like nuns, religion teachers, or ministers.
The organization is run by volunteers who help survivors find therapists in their area who specialize in religious abuse and sexual abuse. They also offer assistance in reporting abusers and finding legal aid.
SNAP has a number of group therapy chapters, and you can use their directory to find one near you. They also have information about annual conferences and a collection of survivors’ stories and related news.
Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health
Kripalu (“krih-PAH-loo”) is a yoga and healing arts retreat center and school. While Kripalu is not dedicated specifically to trauma recovery, many of its retreat programs deal with trauma issues and treatments, such as:
- body awareness
- trauma-informed yoga
If you don’t want to sign up for a full program, book an R&R retreat, which allows you to attend a selection of spirituality talks, concerts, events, and yoga, meditation, and YogaDance classes.
You can also book healing sessions including massages, energy healing, Ayurvedic consultations, and more. The Kripalu center, located in the Berkshires in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, offers:
- vegetarian food (with a couple of daily meat options)
- beautiful trails
- a labyrinth for walking meditations
Siddhayatan: A Place of Siddhas
Siddhayatan Tirth & Spiritual Retreat uses the Purnam Yoga System, developed by yogi Acharya Shree Yogeesh. It incorporates yoga, meditation, breathing, and spiritual practices to help you manage PTSD symptoms in conjunction with your regular therapy and/or meditation.
The center is located in Windom, Texas, and offers a number of specialized retreats ranging from stress relief to a PTSD healing retreat. The retreats offers ashram living with home-cooked vegetarian food and lots of lovely nature for you to enjoy, in addition to the program.
Break the Silence Against Domestic Violence (BTSADV)
BTSADV offers an annual Survivor Sister Retreat for women who are affected by domestic violence.
The retreat is an opportunity to immerse yourself in activities, workshops, and classes focused on holistic approaches to healing and to forge friendships and supportive relationships with other survivors.
This retreat best suits women who are not currently in an unhealthy relationship or suicidal. BTSADV suggests seeking crisis help first and then attending the retreat when you are in a stable place to begin a lifelong journey of loving awareness and healing.
The Refuge: A Healing Place
The Refuge offers a Rape-Related Trauma Treatment and Rehab Center for rape and sexual assault survivors.
This residential treatment center, located in Florida, offers a number of therapeutic approaches to healing sexual trauma, including:
- exposure therapy (specifically, recalling painful memories in a safe environment with a professional)
- interpersonal therapy
- cognitive behavioral therapy
- mindfulness-based cognitive therapy
- intensive family therapy
Experiential therapy is a large part of their approach. It can include:
- dramatic experiencing
- art therapy
- a ropes course
- equine therapy
- creative expression
- group sharing
- music therapy
The Refuge is surrounded by 90 acres of the Ocala National Forest. Clients are welcome to spend leisure time playing sports, fishing, hiking, and enjoying the grounds.
“Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft
If you’ve ever known that a relationship didn’t feel right but you weren’t sure if it was abuse, then this book could help you sort out the facts.
Bancroft looks at the many types of abuse and the ways someone can be gaslit into thinking they are somehow responsible for or capable of changing the abuser’s behavior.
“Writing Ourselves Whole: Using the Power of Your Own Creativity to Recover and Heal from Sexual Trauma” by Jen Cross
This is a book of essays, encouragements, exercises, and stories for sexual trauma survivors who “want to risk writing a different story.”
This book is geared toward people who would like to write about their experiences without retraumatizing themselves. It aims to help those who would like to use writing as a joyful and transformative healing tool.
“Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence — from Domestic Abuse to Political Terror” by Judith Herman
Judith Herman’s research on trauma, particularly sexual trauma and healing, was groundbreaking when it was new on the scene in the 1990s and has remained relevant and insightful since.
This book is an excellent tool for understanding the social context of trauma. Herman shows parallels between the trauma of war and the trauma of childhood sexual abuse and what people need to heal.
“Shattered Assumptions: Towards a New Psychology of Trauma” by Ronnie Janoff-Bulman
This book is for the survivor who wants to understand how perceptions about the self, the world, and other people are formed after trauma and how to change them. Think of it as real-life applied psychology.
“Surviving a Cyberstalker: How to Prevent and Survive Cyberabuse and Stalking” by Alexis Moore
Moore is a survivor of domestic abuse and cyberstalking who became a leading lawyer and cyberstalking authority. She has written this practical guide to help people prevent and escape cyberabuse and cyberstalking.
“The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse” by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis
This book is often referred to as the Bible of childhood sexual abuse recovery. It is a manual of healing, much loved through all of its 20 editions by survivors and therapists alike.
The latest edition contains:
- up-to-date research about trauma
- healing tools and methodologies
- voices of a diverse array of survivors, some of whom have been healing for 20 years
- a comprehensive resource guide
“Victims No Longer: The Classic Guide for Men Recovering from Sexual Child Abuse” by Mike Lew
This is one of the classic resources for male survivors of sexual abuse. It has now been updated to include:
- current research on trauma and recovery
- an examination of cultural attitudes toward male sexual abuse and incest survivors
- practical and compassionate advice for healing
- personal narratives
“Queering Sexual Violence: Radical Voices from Within the Anti-Violence Movement” by Jennifer Patterson
This is a collection of racially diverse voices across the gender spectrum from within the anti-violence movement.
This book moves beyond dominant narratives of sexual violence, centers the experiences of queer people, and spotlights 37 deserving stories of trauma, activism, and empowerment.
“The Queer and Transgender Resilience Workbook: Skills for Navigating Sexual Orientation and Gender Expression” by Anneliese Singh
This workbook offers advice and exercises to help the LGBTQI+ reader work through:
- the trauma of discrimination
- violence/sexual violence
- family rejection
It is the author’s hope that in these pages readers will find healing, resilience, and confidence within themselves.
Books specific to people of color
“The Beginning and End of Rape: Confronting Sexual Violence in Native America” by Sarah Deer
This book is a searing account of colonialism, how sex trafficking and abuse of Native women continue, and ways for the tribal nations to seek redress.
Deer is a powerful activist and writer addressing ongoing issues of sexual violence against native women.
“Decolonizing Trauma Work: Indigenous Stories and Strategies” by Renee Linklater
By looking at colonization as the first wound, Linklater contextualizes native trauma and speaks with 10 indigenous healthcare practitioners to discuss indigenous wellness, mental illness, and recovery.
This book offers practical measures for individuals and communities who have experienced trauma and draws on the indigenous cultural knowledge and worldview.
“I Will Survive: The African-American Guide to Healing from Sexual Assault and Abuse” by Lori S. Robinson and Julia A. Boyd
This self-help guide is intended as a resource for African-American survivors of sexual assault. It offers:
- strategies for coping
- prayers from Black spiritual leaders in a variety of traditions
- first-person accounts
“Mejor sola que mal acompañada: para la mujer golpeada / For the Latina in an Abusive Relationship” by Myrna M. Zambrano
This book is a practical and compassionate bilingual guide for surviving and leaving an abusive relationship. Zambrano has a lot of experience working in Latin communities and helping Latinas leave domestic violence situations.
The book deals with the many challenges of exiting abusive relationships, including:
- navigating prejudiced and unsympathetic police officers
- documentation issues
- the need for translators
- how to get to a shelter and protect yourself and your children
- what the church might say
Books about reclaiming your sex life
“The Art of Healing from Sexual Trauma: Tending Body and Soul Through Creativity, Nature, and Intuition” by Naomi Ardea
Ardea uses her experience of childhood sexual trauma and her healing journey as a guide. She has developed this workbook for readers to experiment with their own healing through:
- art therapy
- accessible self-care ideas
“Healing Sex: A Mind-Body Approach to Approaching Sexual Trauma” by Staci Haines
This is a sex-positive, somatic approach to sexual abuse and incest recovery. It is geared toward the reader who is ready to embrace sexual healing and reclaim their sex life, whether they are single or partnered, heterosexual or LGBTQ.
This book teaches the reader that it’s OK to say “no” to unwanted sex and “yes” to their own desires and needs on their own terms.
“The Sexual Healing Journey: A Guide for Survivors of Sexual Abuse” by Wendy Maltz
This is a classic self-help book for men and women who have survived sexual abuse and would like to reclaim their sex lives and sexuality. This book has exercises, advice, and stories to help readers enjoy safe, compassionate, loving sex.
Books about the somatic method and yoga
“Embodied Healing: Using Yoga to Recover from Trauma and Extreme Stress” by Lisa Danylchuk
Danylchuk connects trauma theory and yogic philosophy. She focuses on the foundations of yoga and their applications toward healing, rather than just the physical forms of yoga.
This book will teach you about how your nervous system works and reacts to trauma and stress. It demonstrates how you can affect your nervous system through breathwork, yoga, and other practices.
“Overcoming Trauma through Yoga: Reclaiming Your Body” by David Emerson and Elizabeth Hopper
This book explores a somatic approach by using trauma-sensitive yoga techniques to help trauma survivors recover and reconnect with their bodies. Emerson is one of the current leading trauma-sensitive yoga researchers and trainers.
“Trauma-Sensitive Yoga in Therapy: Bringing the Body into Treatment” by David Emerson
This book, also written by Emerson, focuses on how to use trauma-sensitive yoga to treat survivors. It also discusses the research supporting the yoga methods and explains how they help.
This book is especially helpful if you want to take an informed, active role in your treatment or if you’re considering becoming a trauma-sensitive yoga teacher or provider.
“Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma” by Peter A. Levine with Ann Frederick
Peter Levine, founder of the SomaticExperiencing method of trauma therapy, walks the reader through the research and theories of his methods. He gives plenty of exercises for the reader to try on their own or in a therapeutic setting.
Levine normalizes trauma responses and creates exercises to help heal them using body-based (somatic) approaches.
“The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk
This has become a touchstone text for understanding trauma, its effects on the body, and methodologies of healing.
Van der Kolk examines a number of evidence-based treatments for trauma recovery, such as expressive therapies, yoga, meditation, and sports, all of which activate the brain’s natural neuroplasticity.