Ok so this isn’t a political post and I don’t plan to share how I am voting in the next few days. But I am going to talk about something serious that this election and the media have been discussing over the last few months. I wanted your attention and I hope I have it, because this is serious.
Trauma and sexual assault are a big deal. Like a really big deal. Like a life changing, altering big deal. I hear people say, “I was traumatized by such and such” or “I have PTSD after seeing or witnessing such and such”. I hear this out of sarcasm and frustration. I have been guilty of dramatically exclaiming I have PTSD from time to time.
The problem with this is saying we have PTSD minimizes the disorder. Because generally after experiencing stress or witnessing something dramatic or unwanted, we can move on and live our lives. We are not haunted or bothered by the thing we said caused us to have PTSD. People cannot just get over PTSD. They remain stuck in the stressful and traumatizing event over and over. When we say “I have been traumatized” or “I have PTSD” and then move on we send a message to those with PTSD to “get over it” and “move on”.
We also down play and minimize that women, and men, are sexually assaulted daily. I get it, no one likes to feel unsafe. You don’t want to go throughout your day worrying about someone violating your body. So the way we convince ourselves that we are safe is to tell ourselves that we do make the same decisions as someone that has been sexually violated. We believe we make safer and better choices to avoid being put in a situation to be harmed.
I don’t want you walking around feeling scared, but this type of thinking causes us to shame victims. We think, or say, that so-and-so should not have drank so much, so-and-so should not have been out so late at night, or that so-and-so should not have been flirting with or engaging with this person that hurt them. This must stop.
No one asks to be sexually assaulted. No one wants this to happen to them. Being sexually assaulted is a violation of your body, your control…your power. You own your body and control you body and when someone else decides to use your body as they wish violates your inner being.
Here is what you can do:
Learn to keep yourself safe. Not be in fear, but education leads to awareness. The more aware you are the better you make decisions to benefit you.
Look out for each other. If you see something wrong. Say something!
Stop rationalizing and start sympathizing. Do not ask someone “why?” Ask them “what can I do to help you?”
Recognize that someone can not just get over and move on from a traumatic experience. They need patience, support, and compassion to overcome.
Respect others. Do matter what “signals” or “signs” you are getting from a person, you do not have the right to impede on their personal space until that person agrees.
If you have been traumatized you may be feeling a lot of shame and guilt. You question what you did wrong and blame yourself. You do not have to feel this way. There is hope. There is help. Contact me to learn how.