Arriving at readiness: how women deal with sexual assault




Symes, Lene

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Few sexual assault survivors seek the resources developed to help them with recovery from emotional consequences of sexual assault. A lack of knowledge of helpseeking endeavors hampers nurses' efforts to develop strategies for delivering care to survivors. The purpose of this study was to discover the evolving behaviors and processes as women survivors seek help. Using the methods of grounded theory, the process model Arriving at Readiness was developed from data collected during semistructured interviews with eleven women survivors of sexual assault and three other expert informants. Arriving at Readiness illustrates a differing, often lengthy, and potentially beneficial process women survivors of sexual assault follow to heal. Many survivors keep silent to avoid the risk of further hurt unless a Triggering Experience occurs. Responses to calls for help are harming or helping. Hanning responses may begin a cycle of increasingly more dangerous behaviors. Nurses should develop and test protocols that support survivors through the process of arriving at readiness. Education programs are needed to disseminate information about behaviors that may indicate sexual assault and about sources of help for survivors.



Adjustment(Psychology), Sexual abuse victims, Rape


Recommended citation: Symes, L. (1997). Arriving at readiness: How women deal with sexual assault (dissertation). The Repository@TWU. Texas Woman’s University. Retrieved from This item has been deposited in accordance with publisher copyright and licensing terms and with the author’s permission.