As I’m writing this, sexual violence has been very much in the media. A woman was raped by a Stanford student, and public outrage followed when he received a brief 6-month prison sentence. Then a leaked video showed Donald Trump bragging about his sexual exploits. Within hours, thousands of people shared personal stories on social media of being sexually assaulted, many using the hashtag #NotOkay. Many have talked about the prevalence of a ‘rape culture’ in our society.
By any measure, there is an epidemic of sexual violence here in the US. It is estimated that one in every six women will be the victim of an attempted (or completed) rape; and 43.9% of women and 23.4% of men will experience some form of sexual violence (other than rape) in their lifetimes.
A recent documentary, The Hunting Ground, tells the stories of several women who were assaulted on college campuses, and how major universities have attempted to cover this issue up.
There are numerous centers and organizations doing excellent work in raising public awareness and supporting women (and men) in recovery from sexual abuse/assault. Their focus is on education, providing safe shelter, job skills training, raising awareness of these issues, and social and political advocacy.
FREA's focus is different. We envision a world where people honor, respect, and support each other in expressing their full potentials and being all they can be. While abuse, violence and trauma occur, they need not wound or limit us forever. We believe that human beings are strong and resilient, and capable of healing and recovery. There are many resources for healing available, and we are here to support you in your Journey of recovery and transformation.
We chose our name, Finding Recovery and Empowerment from Abuse (FREA), because we believe it is possible to ‘rise from the shadows’ of sexual assault and abuse into the Light of recovery and empowerment. We are here to share our years of ‘experience, strength and hope.’ Our hope comes from our own experiences of recovery from sexual abuse, as well as those of many folks we’ve treated over many years.
Many folks who’ve been abused have beliefs such as “I’m damaged goods,” “I’m scarred permanently,” or “I’ll never get over this.” They may feel like victims, traumatized beyond repair, and believe that they will never feel joy or love or happiness again. Many have done talk therapy for years, and feel disappointed with the results.
We know that it doesn’t have to be this way
Humans are survivors! We are strong, flexible and resilient, and we're capable of healing and full recovery. Psychologist Peter Levine has shown that animals release the imprints of trauma by shaking, trembling and stamping their hooves. Humans also have, deep within us, the means for self-healing hardwired in our systems.
We have all healed from cuts and sprains and wounds, injuries and illnesses. Our bodies have their own inner wisdom, and know how to heal. Our bodies and minds can heal themselves --- and will do that for us --- given a safe space, the proper tools, and a little support.
Emotional Self-Care: A Key to Healing and Recovery
We believe that one of the keys to healing and recovery from abuse is emotional self-care. Many of us were abused or neglected by our caretakers, and so we never learned to care for ourselves. There are self-help tools to help us reduce stress, calm the nervous system, and restore balance and clarity. In our experience, folks who use these self-help tools recover faster, and build a deeper foundation of resilience and self-reliance than those who don’t.
Info, links and resources for survivors of sexual assault and abuse;
Support from a community of survivors and caring professionals. It’s important to remember that you are not alone. There are many who have also been abused, and who have walked this path to Healing and Recovery. If they did it, then perhaps so can you.
Tools and techniques for pro-active self-care. Just as plumbers and carpenters need tools to build and repair homes, so also we offer tools to rebuild our lives, relationships and careers ---- from the inside out.
Relief that’s fast --- and lasts! While everyone is an individual, our experience is that using these tools helps people recover faster and more deeply than traditional talk therapies.
The Promise of Recovery and Empowerment
We offer the promise of a new Life, rooted in somatic self-awareness and self-compassion, of sharing and caring and healing for yourself and loved ones.
Please browse through our blog, case studies, self-care section and videos to see what is possible and the tools for achieving it.
We are here to connect, communicate with and support you! Please feel free to be in touch, via the discussion form below, our contact page, or on Facebook.
John Freedom is a counselor, educator and trainer in private practice in Santa Rosa, California. The author of Heal Yourself with Emotional Freedom Technique, he serves as research coordinator for ACEP, the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology; and director of FREA, Finding Recovery and Empowerment from Abuse. He holds certifications in EFT, NLP, EMDR and auricular acupuncture, and specializes in helping people experience greater success, happiness and high-level wellness in all areas of their lives. As a survivor himself, he brings an awareness and understanding of these issues to the challenges that survivors of sexual abuse face.