Women and Trauma

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Understanding the Effects of Trauma in Women

According to the American Psychological Association (APA.org) traumatic events include any of the following:

  • Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse
  • Witnessing violence against others
  • Accidents, natural disasters
  • Domestic violence
  • Terrorism and war

Roughly half of individuals will be exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. While some people are able to recover from trauma on their own, not all can. Some individuals suffer lifelong problems from the trauma they endured without proper treatment.

Women are more at risk for developing long-term effects from trauma. They are twice as likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), experience a longer duration of symptoms and show more sensitivity to stimuli that reminds them of the trauma. Sadly, many women never receive treatment and end up going through their whole lives suffering physical and emotional pain.

Furthermore, trauma is likely to go unnoticed by health professionals due to a lack of time and resources. The good news is that there are many treatment options available to help these individuals. Researchers show that women who have survived traumatic events respond well to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), experiential therapy, group and individual counseling, family therapy, pharmacotherapy and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

A Disturbing Reality:

1 in 5 women are

sexually assaulted

Even though advocacy groups work hard to reduce violence against women, the numbers are still startling. Every day, women are sexually assaulted, raped and even murdered by both intimate partners and strangers.  Ninety percent of adult rape victims are female, and 82% of all juvenile victims are female. Women between the ages of 16-19 are four times more likely to be assaulted than the general population.


Furthermore, victims of sexual assault are more likely to use drugs than the general population. They also tend to have trouble at work or school, get into more arguments with friends and family and feel they can no longer trust those around them.

Sexual violence has long-term effects on women. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network RAINN.org reports that:

  • 94% of women who are raped experience symptoms of PTSD during the first two weeks after the assault
  • 30% of women still have PTSD symptoms nine months after the assault
  • 33% of women who are sexually assaulted contemplate suicide
  • 13% of women who are sexually assaulted attempt suicide
  • 70% of women who are sexually assaulted experience moderate to severe distress, which is more than than any other crime

We realize that the women who come to us have different backgrounds; some have suffered sexual assault while others were physically abused or neglected. This is why we focus on evidence-based treatments tailored to our clients’ unique needs.

La Ventana’s residential mental health facility offers a number of treatment interventions for women who have suffered traumatic events in their lifetimes.

Our women-only program is safe, supportive, and designed to promote long-term recovery from mental health disorders, psychiatric disorders, and dual diagnosis.

For more information about this program, please call our admissions team at 800-560-8518.