In this counseling answer:
• Seek counseling from a therapist in your area, preferably one who specializes in childhood sexual abuse.
• Join a support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse
• Do not disclose to other females that you are attracted to them.
As Salamu ‘Alaikum dear sister,
Thank you for writing to us. I am so sorry to hear you were the victim of sexual abuse. Sadly, it is a common horrific act of violence with 20% of females reporting that they were sexually abused as a child. In fact, it is a widespread global epidemic.
Many women who were sexually assaulted experience the same you have been experiencing. They have trust issues with men; they often feel hatred, shame, guilt, and anxiety. Some women develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
You did describe many symptoms such as sleep problems, headaches, fatigue, issues with concentration, and “trembling, sweating, rapid heartbeat” when you see your female friend. While it is hard to determine how severe these symptoms are in relation to your everyday functioning, I would suggest, dear sister, that you seek counseling from a therapist in your area, preferably one who specializes in childhood sexual abuse.
Additionally, I would suggest joining a support group for survivors of childhood sexual abuse as it can be a great source of strength and support for healing. It appears that the longer you wait for treatment after such a traumatic experience, the worse the symptoms can get until you begin therapy – your journey of healing. Based on some of your symptoms, you may be experiencing anxiety or panic disorder, along with possibly other emotional disorders as well related to the abuse.
Concerning your attraction to other women, it is my feeling that these are misplaced sexual desires due to the rape. However, a clinician would have to evaluate and diagnose you as I cannot. As you were violated by a man as a child, perhaps subconsciously you have displaced your sexual urges and desires towards females as that is “safer” for you. But I don’t think you are gay.
What is most important right now is that you get the help you need to begin to heal from the childhood rapes. That is the first thing, dear sister. After you begin to sort through and heal from that trauma and become more stable in your emotions and sense of self, and you feel safe again, then I would suggest examining your sexual preferences in a definitive. I think by that time, however, you will feel quite different.
I would also suggest, in sha’ Allah, that you do not disclose to other females that you are attracted to them. As you stated, you lost a few friends that way, and I don’t want you to lose anymore. I believe what you feel may be an identity crisis regarding your sexuality as a result of the rapes. Please, dear sister, get the help you need so you can begin to heal. Keep close to Allah (swt), make du’aa’ that He (swt) grants healing and ease. Know that Allah (swt) loves you and sees everything. No harm comes to us which He (swt) does not deal with.
You are in our prayers,
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.