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Sexual Assault: Me Before, Me After

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Let me just say this- I get overwhelmed with awareness campaigns. And they’re easy to ignore. There’s too many of them. This one is important.

I’m not here to bore you with platitudes: “It gets better.” “(He/she) can’t hurt you anymore.” “You’re not alone.” They’re all true. But you’ve heard them. Over. And over. And over. Because nobody knows what to say on this subject.

I have something to say: This doesn’t have to keep you stuck.

Again, I won’t bore you with statistics. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’ve already googled them. They’re all wrong anyways. We like to lean on numbers. Those numbers are so low that they aren’t even useful.

All I can say is that there is little trauma that is more invasive, more heartbreaking, more Earth-shattering, more before-and-after-change-your-existence painful than sexual assault.

Moving from victim to survivor is doable. You can do it on your own, but you don’t have to.

When you are ready, we (therapists) are here.

Your friends and family probably want to help and don’t know what to say. Go easy on them. They don’t know better. They don’t know how much it hurts. How much you die a little inside each time the memory (ies) comes back. How you feel like you are used, or damaged, or like everyone can tell. How “I don’t want to talk about it” really means “I’m dying inside and I want to talk about it but I also don’t because it hurts, and it reminds me that I am no longer that person anymore. That (he/she) stole something from me. How there is now only before and after.” Most people don’t realize there’s a distinct before and after. Like BC and AD. If you’re not careful, life becomes “me before” and “me after.”

So, I’ll say it again: When you are ready, we are here. But I’ll add to it this time: Be ready sooner than later. Find someone who can help guide you through the before and after and save yourself the agony of many stolen years. Talk to someone.

I won’t tell you to not be ashamed. In fact, I won’t tell you any dos or don’ts except please get help sooner than later. This stuff can and will absolutely put your life in a blender for a while if you don’t get some help.

If you are reading this because you have been sexually assaulted I want to say that I am so sorry that this blog is speaking to you. At the same time, I really want it to. I want you to save yourself from accidentally allowing your abuser to steal years from your life. So, please, come see me. Or if you don’t want to see me, see someone. We have ways to help you through the trauma without retraumatizing you. It doesn’t even necessarily mean long term therapy. I’d love to be your guide and I know the other counselors would too. Let us help you take your power back. The after doesn’t have to be the dark story it has been. The after can be so much more.

 

And now, because I feel like it’s irresponsible not to offer some resources, here are a few of my favorites (and yes, you can always call me if you need help finding resources):

Rape Abuse and Incest National Network:  www.rainn.org  1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center: www.nsvrc.org

Twloha: www.twloha.com , https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/