This presentation will introduce an empirically established model of rape-specific peritraumatic responses, their consequences and the implications for EMDR treatment. The first half will present findings from our 2013 research (Moor, et al., 2013) in which we examined the pathogenic role of rape-induced peritraumatic dehumanization, and subsequent humiliation and “freezing.” A causal model linking these rape-related peritraumatic responses to symptoms was established while simultaneously distinguishing rape from other types of nonsexual trauma in relation to this particular model. Structural path analyses identified dehumanization and humiliation as highly prevalent and almost invariably predictive of a freeze response in rape; and, in turn, of elevated self-blame and post-traumatic stress disorder in its wake, while concurrently showing a poor fit of this model to other traumas.
The second half of the presentation will focus on the ways in which EMDR can facilitate the recovery from these particular aspects of sexual trauma. I will begin by stressing the necessity of addressing this inevitable injury to rape survivors’ human dignity, while showing how the practice of dual awareness can play a significant role in countering the sense of dehumanization, above and beyond the provision of safety. Next, I will delineate the types of therapeutic interweaves that can be used to further the resolution of these specific elements of the trauma of rape, where indicated. These interventions are to aid survivors place their responses, both during and following the assault, in the framework of the experienced dehumanization, so as to free them from the consequent symptoms.
Avigail Moor, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in the study and EMDR treatment of survivors of sexual violence. She heads the Gender Studies program at Tel Hai College in Israel, and is also on the faculty of the Psychology and Social Work Departments. In addition she serves as a psychological consultant to several rape crisis centers in Northern Israel. Her past and present research focuses primarily on the social context of sexual violence against women and its psychological sequelae. She has also written many articles on the treatment of sexual assault survivors.