According to the Center for Disease Control, two in five women in the United States experience some form of sexual trauma in their lifetime. Although these statistics make it seem relatively common, everyone experiences it differently, which makes it difficult to make generalizations about how to talk to survivors. #MeToo is a powerful statement, but it is not always reassuring for young girls who have experienced trauma. Starting conversations about PTSD can be hard for both parents and their daughters. Parents can use these strategies to help their daughter who has experienced trauma feel validated and supported.
Wait For Your Daughter Who Has Experienced Trauma to Reach Out
Between 60 and 90% of teens who have experienced trauma seek help informally from friends and family members. The most common barrier to reaching out for help is the perception that it is a personal issue and that their experience is too unique for others to understand. As they may not know what kind of support to ask for, they are often hesitant about sharing their experiences with others and sounding like a victim. It can be frustrating to take a step back and wait for them to approach you, but inserting yourself into the situation can make them feel more overwhelmed.
Let Them Take the Lead
Many parents struggle with knowing the right thing to do or say to their daughter who has experienced trauma. They want their daughter to feel comfortable trusting them with details and coming to them for advice, but their daughter may not be ready to speak openly about what they’ve been dealing with. When they do reach out, their thoughts are often scattered and they may disclose things in pieces. Be patient. The most important thing to say is “I believe you.”
Acknowledge that sometimes it can feel just as painful to share their experience with others as it can to hold it in. There is a lot of fear associated with being judged, invalidated, or blamed for a situation. It is an honor to be trusted as a safe person to go to and process their experience.
Give Them the Power to Take Action
Teens are more likely to avoid the subject if they feel like it is someone else’s goal to talk about it, not theirs. Our trauma-informed model offers a variety of treatment modalities to heal the effects of trauma that allows teens to explore what works for them. Our treatment team collaborates with students to come up with individualized treatment plans based on their needs. The healing process begins when they are ready. We take a relationship-based approach to building trust, confidence, and empowerment that emphasizes community support. Your daughter is not alone.
Solstice East Can Help
Solstice East is a residential treatment center for young women ages 14-18 who are reclaiming their sense of self after experiencing traumatic events, depression, and addictive behaviors. We help young women heal from emotional pain by reintegrating healthy habits into their lives. Students learn to build healthy relationships, cope with emotions, and effectively communicate with others. Through adventure activities and creative expression, we encourage girls to explore their passions and strengths and empower them to make healthy choices.
For more information about how we help girls cope with trauma, call 828-484-9946.