Rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse - - 2003-11-30 12:51:44
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until
it is faced."
Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse are sexual activities involving a person who does not or cannot consent.
Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse are serious and devastating crimes. Sexual violence often causes emotional scars that can last for years, and fears that, if not addressed, can last for a life time. For many survivors rape and sexual abuse are a defining moment that divides their life, life before the abuse and life after.
The aftermath of any kind of sexual abuse is a challenging and difficult journey. The violence does not end with the rape, the sexual abuse, the assault, the insults and the humiliation. Sexual violence keeps repeating itself in a time that seems endless. It can be hard to understand how much pain remains after a rape, mostly because the trauma imprisons you from the inside and it's often misunderstood. Rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors are left feeling vulnerable, angry, betrayed, frightened, violated, dirty, embarrassed and powerless.
Yet, there is the tendency to think that sexual violence needs to be hidden, particularly when it take place within familiar doors. A large percent of survivors are haunted by feelings of guilt, self-blame and shame, mostly due to the fact that in our society the common response to rape and sexual abuse is still embarrassment. Sadly, despite their epidemic proportions, rape, sexual assault andsexual abuse are still considered unspeakable crimes, something people prefer not to acknowledge. This unspoken statement suggests that rape and sexual abuse survivors should not speak about their experiences and spare others from an unpleasant issue, which as a result contributes enormously in increasing their isolation and pain. People who are mugged and robbed don't feel ashamed and no one treats them differently, but when the crime is linked to sexual violence suddenly everything changes. We have to ask ourselves what it is that makes people want to look away.
The possible consequences of a sexual assault are uncountable. Each person reacts in a unique way, sexual abuse survivors might experience some, none, or even all of the following:
Fear of Intimacy
Inability to Sleep
Rape trauma Syndrome
And many others....
The denial of chronic feelings, such as depression or frustration, it's very dangerous and can leave survivors in a perpetual state of needing to live a lie. As a result, often survivors feel cut off from the world and negatively affected in the way they interact with others. If survivors are too afraid or ashamed to face their true feelings and keep maintaining a false image, they will not be able to deal with their grief.
Seeking professional help can be one of the hardest things to do. Survivors may be scared that counseling will open a can of worms they don't want to see unopened, however, pain is a sign that something needs attention; counseling is a gift survivors can give to themselves - an expression of self caring. Being haunted by the past has a serious impact on a personís emotional and physical well being. Therapy can help survivors of rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse to understand, accept and overcome.
Please remember that asking for help is a sign of maturity and strength and not of weakness. It takes a lot of courage.
This site is offered for support of other survivors, it is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help. I don't have any qualifications or training in therapy, I am by no means a professional. I claim no responsibility for the use of this web site, use of content, or content of any links leading from this site. If you are in a crisis situation I urge you to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.