Alternative Therapies for Survivors of Sexual Assault Survey

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Alternative Therapies for Survivors of Sexual Assault Survey


We are thrilled to announce that we have partnered with Dr. Chris Einolf, faculty in the School of Public Service at DePaul University and Chair of the Master’s in Non-Profit Management department, to design a research study exploring the use of alternative therapies for survivors of sexual assault.

In 2015, we began this undertaking. Initially, we collected and reviewed existing research about alternative and complementary healing methods for survivors of various forms of trauma. Determining what we need to learn about survivors’ experiences navigating healing, and what can not only serve our organization, but the larger anti-sexual violence movement we then designed questions for the online and in-person interviews. The next piece was to test their accessibility with a small group of survivors. Most recently, we have officially launched the online survey, “Alternative Therapies for Survivors of Sexual Assault”. This survey has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) to ensure the highest ethical standards and the least amount of harm for participants.

The research project consists of the literature review, designing and implementation of the online survey, design and implementation of in-person/phone interviews with survivors, and then working on a formal publication that summarizes our findings.

Below you will find more information about the study, the kinds of questions we are asking and how you can participate or share this study with others. While we do not ask any questions about what happened during the sexual assault, answering the questions about treatments may remind participants of those events, and this experience may be unpleasant, disturbing, or potentially re-traumatizing. We recommend exploring our resources page prior to participation in the survey so that you are clear about the support systems available for you – this can include considering the support people and practices you already utilize. Our resources page lists emergency hotlines that are available over the phone or through a website. It is important to have support systems in place in case the survey is upsetting for you.

Please know participants are welcome to stop the survey at any point and that we value any level of participation. 

The following survey description has been written in a manner that fulfills the best practices outlined by the IRB. You will find contact information for Molly Boeder Harris and Dr. Einolf listed below for any inquiries you might have about this project. We invite you to share this research information and associated survey link with your networks so that we might reach the widest survivor audience possible.


Are you a survivor of sexual assault and/or rape? Have you ever used alternative therapies like yoga, acupuncture, massage or Reiki for healing? Have you considered using these therapies but decided not to? If so, please help us with our research project, “Alternative Therapies for Survivors of Sexual Assault.” We are asking people to complete an anonymous 15 minute online survey about your opinion of and experience with alternative healing therapies. The information we gain from the project will help provide enhanced services for sexual assault survivors.

To find out more about the survey and participate, please click here.

*Please note this survey is now closed.*

This survey is being sponsored by Molly Boeder Harris, Founder and Executive Director of The Breathe Network which serves survivors of rape and sexual assault, and Chris Einolf, PhD, of DePaul University.

About the survey: If you have used a specific therapy, we will ask whether it helped you and in what way, and what the therapeutic practitioner did that was helpful or not helpful. If you have not used a specific therapy, we will ask your perception of it and whether you might consider using it. We will also ask you whether there are any barriers to seeking alternative therapies, and we will ask your race, ethnicity, age, and gender.

While we will not ask you any questions about what happened during the sexual assault, answering the questions about treatments may remind you of those events, and this experience may be unpleasant, disturbing, or traumatic for you.

At the end of the survey, we will ask you if you are willing to participate in an interview about your experiences. If you choose to identify yourself and be interviewed, your responses to the survey will be kept confidential but will not be anonymous.

Access the survey here.

If you have any questions, please contact Molly Boeder Harris at or Dr. Chris Einolf at