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Categories of Sexual Trauma

Sexual abuse is prevalent in our communities, and helping clients navigate towards healing from sexual trauma can be more common in our work than we would like. Knowing the different ways that clients can experience sexual trauma can be helpful in quickly identifying instances of sexual trauma as well as being prepared to assist clients navigate through their healing journey.

There are several different types of sexual trauma that clients can experience. Below, we will share those categories to include a brief description of each.

Verbal Sexual Trauma

This is the use of written or verbal expression to communicate something related to sexual content. This can be done covertly or overtly. Some examples of verbal sexual trauma might include comments about physcial characteristics, sexual jokes, unwanted messaging or phone calls, name calling, etc.

Ritualistic Sexual Trauma  

This sexual trauma involves some type of spirtiual, religious, or ritual practices. In many cases, the perpetrator will state that their actions are related to some form of worship, ritual, or belief.  

Covert Sexual Trauma

This sexual trauma is done without the other person’s knowledge. It could include the perpetrator peeping at someone while they are bathing or being intimate, taking photos, stalking an individual, etc. for their sexual pleasure.

Sexual Assault Trauma

There are a number of different types of sexual assault, but it is the use of force or power to get someone to do something sexually against their will. It could include rape, kissing, oral sex, sodomy, fondling, groping, sex trafficking, etc.

Intimate Partner Sexual Trauma

This sexual trauma involes the perpratrator being someone that the victim considers an intimate partner. The victim is forced to do something sexually against their will with or for this partner’s sexual pleasure.

Child Sexual Trauma

This sexual trauma happens to an indvidual who is considered a child.  A child cannot consent to any type of sexual activity and so, when a perpratrator engages with a child, they are using that child for their own sexual pleasure. There are a number of different types of child sexual traumas such as incest, molestion, rape, sex trafficking, etc.

Helping clients identify their experience as sexual trauma and also knowing what type of sexual trauma they experienced can be empowering to the client in their healing journey. It can also be helpful to you in helping clients make sense of their experience and present day symptoms.

If you have a client that is in the healing process of sexual trauma and you could use some support as you help them heal, consider professional case consultations. We would be happy to walk alongside you as you support your client. You can learn more here.

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