The trauma response model and clinical diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD has helped to acknowledge the significance of the harm caused to people who have been sexually assaulted, and the extent of the violation they have experienced. However, the concept of trauma has some limitations:. Depression followed, as did lack of any self-care or self-worth. Though I am ashamed to admit this, yes, suicide did enter my mind on many occasions and thankfully I was blessed in my life by daughters because they were my reason for surviving and pressing on even when I could barely stand my existence.
I am still frequented by many of these emotions and am now just beginning, through therapy and strong support system, to work through them. For example:. PTSD "stresses the abnormal nature of the stressor that causes the mental health symptoms, not individual pathology" Walker, , p. The primary reason for this is that PTSD, as a psychiatric diagnosis, implies that the individual survivor suffers from a medical problem, and that her "symptoms" are signs of a disorder, rather than reasonable responses to a lived experience.
Also, the symptoms included in the diagnosis of PTSD do not include all the effects of sexual assault on women's lives. PTSD is also criticised for seeing the event of rape as the cause of trauma, thereby not fully accounting for the gendered and cultured context in which rape occurs Wasco, To this day I will never know whether my back problem was actually caused by the force of the rape or me trying to push him off me. I have permanent damage to my back.
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I bled for weeks and future sexual experiences were extremely painful and caused more bleeding. Not all women who are sexually assaulted experience physical injuries or medical problems. However, a range of physical injuries and health consequences can be associated with sexual assault. Injuries can be sustained as a direct result of the assault itself, from later complications, or from its psychological impact.
The on-going violence throughout my years of marriage was mental and sexual. My urethra was so battered I became incontinent; my psyche was so battered I became a mental cripple. I finally got out and changed my name and city, and found myself again. I can't stand men. I live alone and don't go out. I hate them. You don't have to believe me, though.
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But it's true. I wish I was dead. Most male behaviour when I go out - the way men openly stare and leer at women - makes me feel very threatened. Women have to be made aware that they are not to blame I wish I was able to report this at the time it happened. Dealing with 7 years of emotions almost sent me insane. I am very lucky that I had the support of family and friends when I felt I was able to deal with this. I was emotionally distraught, but was made to feel it was unimportant by male police. These include:. Financial compensation may be available through the appropriate body in each state and territory.
Sexual assault also has an effect on economic issues at a national level.
The following can promote resilience and the healing process:. Survivors experience diverse negative impacts of sexual assault; there is no list of typical "symptoms" they should exhibit.
More than this, the impacts of sexual assault go beyond the individual, to have a collective impact on the social wellbeing of our communities. Astbury, J. Melbourne: AIFS.
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Real Rape, Real Pain: Help for women sexually assaulted by male partners
Real rape, real pain: Help for women sexually assaulted by male partners. Melbourne: Hybrid Publishers. Morrison, Z. Boyd, C. Copyright information. This paper discusses some of the widespread effects of sexual assault on families, professionals and society as a whole. Paper aims to provide an overview of complex trauma as a concept for classifying a varying range of symptomatology.
This paper is about vicarious trauma, a normal response to repeated exposure and empathetic engagement with traumatic material. It can be challenging to recall the details of the assault in any logical order, which can be frustrating.
I was the 'perfect' rape victim but still I didn't go to police
Although every experience is different, many survivors feel a sense of guilt over their assault. When something so unjust happens, it is normal to try to figure out a reason why it happened. We live in a rape culture that tells us that we, as survivors, did something wrong and that is why we were violated.
It is nearly impossible not to internalize this myth to some degree. None of this is your fault. Let me say that again- None of this is your fault. Regardless of your story, someone chose to harm you, and that decision sits firmly on them. No matter how your healing unfolds, know that this is not your shame to carry. I know that the impact of trauma can feel unbearable at times.
It is likely that at some point you may feel rage, depression, numbness, agony, heartbreak, or grief over what has happened to you. While these emotions are unbelievably painful, they are also signs of progress. Whenever you feel these emotions, you are processing your survivorship. The only way out is through. While you never deserved to experience trauma, you do deserve so many wonderful things that life has to offer.
You deserve happiness. You deserve to heal. You deserve safety.
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You deserve rest. You deserve care. You deserve justice in whichever way you conceive of it. You deserve love, support, and folks who will sit with you through the pain and the joy.
Patricia Easteal - Wikipedia
Throughout your healing journey, know that every success, no matter how small it may seem, is progress. Getting out of bed is a success. Listening to your body, and staying in bed, is a success.