For this part of my story, I will be focusing on the climax, resolution, and falling action. Within these sections, I am focusing on how victims of sexual abuse and assault have to deal with the trauma and PTSD of these horrific incidents.
According to the study, female victims are also more likely to engage in “…self-mutilation, risky sexual activity, abuse drugs and alcohol, experience more lifetime traumas, fail to complete high school…[and] as parents, they [may] place their children at increased risk for abuse and neglect…” (2)
It can be extraordinarily difficult to admit that you were raped or sexually assaulted. There’s a stigma attached. It can make you feel dirty and weak. You may also be afraid of how others will react. Will they judge you? Look at you differently? It seems easier to downplay what happened or keep it a secret. But when you stay silent, you deny yourself help and reinforce your victimhood. (1)
Reach out to someone you trust. It’s common to think that if you don’t talk about your rape, it didn’t really happen. But you can’t heal when you’re avoiding the truth. And hiding only adds to feelings of shame. As scary as it is to open up, it will set you free. However, it’s important to be selective about who you tell, especially at first. Your best bet is someone who will be supportive, empathetic, and calm. If you don’t have someone you trust, talk to a therapist or call a rape crisis hotline. (1)
Challenge your sense of helplessness and isolation. Trauma leaves you feeling powerless and vulnerable. It’s important to remind yourself that you have strengths and coping skills that can get you through tough times. One of the best ways to reclaim your sense of power is by helping others: volunteer your time, give blood, reach out to a friend in need, or donate to your favorite charity. (2)
When I finished my likely incoherent story, I looked up between sobs expecting a “did you ask for it?” or, “but what were you wearing?” Instead, when I met her gaze she said, “I believe you.”
Those three words would change the next days, months and years for me. No evidence, no rape kit, no witnesses — only my word. – Jaqueline Mills
Globally, approximately 18–19% of women and 8% of men disclose being sexually abused during their childhood