How sexual violations and the #Metoo movement has complicated my life.

Anxiety, upset stomach, difficulty sleeping, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, depression, dissociation, feelings of disconnection from others and lack of libido are a few of the symptoms reported.

With more and more sexual assault allegations occurring in the media, an increasing number of people are being negatively impacted.

Just days before the Senate Judiciary Committee was set to vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation, Christine Blasey Ford publicly came forward to accuse the federal appeals judge of sexual assault decades ago.

Bill Cosby, once known as “America’s Dad,” was sentenced Tuesday, 26th September to three to 10 years in a state prison for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand at his home 14 years ago.

Let’s not forget the cases of child sexual abuse by Catholic priests has been widespread and has led to many allegations, investigations, trials and convictions, as well as revelations about decades of attempts by the Church to cover up reported incidents.

Clients are reporting being triggered by this surge of sexual assault disclosures to the authorities. I am receiving increasing calls from men and women who were sexually assaulted as children and are just now feeling capable of addressing what occurred in their past. People who have undergone treatment and thought they “were over it” find themselves involuntarily revisiting their past. Intrusive memories haunt them.

Sexual Assault in the United States

Here are some startling statistics regarding Sexual Assault in the United States, according to the national society of violence and resource center (https://www.nsvrc.org/statistics)

  • One in 3 women and one in 6 men experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime
  • One in 5 women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their
  • 51.1% of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance
  • 52.4% of male victims report being raped by an acquaintance and 15.1% by a stranger
  • Almost half (49.5%) of multiracial women and over 45% of American Indian/Alaska Native women were subjected to some form of sexual violence in their lifetime

 

The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement)

The Me Too movement (or #MeToo movement) is a movement against sexual harassment and sexual assault. #MeToo spread virally in October 2017 as a hashtag used on social media in an attempt to demonstrate the widespread prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, especially in the workplace. Now more than ever before, women and men are speaking up about their experiences, and in some cases perpetrators are being called upon to account for their actions.

I specialize in trauma, especially sexual trauma. I have counseled men and women who were victimized as children, teenagers, and adults. There is no age limit when it comes to sexual boundaries being violated. Such violations can affect one’s ability to trust others and negatively impact the ability to secure intimate relationships. Alcohol and drug abuse/dependency are often used to numb and self-medicate the trauma. Trauma manifests in many ways: anxiety, upset stomachs, difficulty sleeping, intrusive thoughts and memories, dissociation, body image issues, depression, feelings of disconnection from oneself and others. How one is impacted is unique to each individual. Please know that disclosing to and confronting the perpetrators is not necessary for your healing.

If you find yourself upset, angry and sad as you become increasingly aware of the prevalence of sexual assaults. You are not alone and these are perfectly normal feelings you are experiencing.

However, if you find your day to day life impacted and you are exhibiting any of the symptoms mentioned above, please seek help. Give yourself the gift of disclosing to a trusted professional who is equipped to assist you in healing the trauma from your past.