I read a touching story among many stories from “Pandoras Project”, support and resources for survivors of rape and sexual abuse(http://www.pandys.org/survivorstories.html).
When I was a young child I was sexually abused. I dealt with it by never telling anyone, and eventually forgetting it myself. After high school I was date raped, and again I dealt with it by keeping it a secret. Throughout high school and college, I strived to make sure people only saw perfection in me-I was an Honor student, sports captain, hung out with the “good” crowd. But hidden away where no one else could see, there was shame, fear, and guilt. I coped with these feelings by running away from home, abusing drugs and alcohol, sleeping too much or not at all, and engaging in self-injury.
I went through severe depression. I first began thinking about suicide as a young child, and later on I acted on these urges. Beginning in college, I was hospitalized several times. After the first hospitalization, I began receiving therapy. We worked on all of the negative coping mechanisms I used, but I was never able to open up about my past. When asked in therapy, I would lie and say I had never been abused. I just wasn’t able to face that part of me.
I graduated college and obtained my national certification for my profession. But my depression only continued deeper. I continued to be hospitalized and eventually was unable to work. After my last hospitalization, I started with a new therapist. While it was quite evident that I struggled with PTSD, I was still never able to open up about what happened to me. After a couple of years, my therapist suggested that it might be helpful for me to look for online support.
Out of frustration I did a search, and Pandora’s Aquarium came up. I gathered up the courage and checked out the site a few times, but it was very difficult for me to register. My shame and guilt were so strong, and I didn’t feel like I could ever be considered a “survivor”. It was terrifying to think about registering at a place that would identify me as one. Eventually I gathered up the courage to register. I remember shaking so much. It was the first step I took towards healing.
While scary and overwhelming at first, it eventually became such a relief to be able to read other members’ posts and realize that I wasn’t alone
I began to use my voice here and break my silence. No matter what had happened to me, what struggles I had, or what feelings I experienced, there were people here who understood. Reading their posts and seeing their courage gave me the courage to begin posting myself. I received support and understanding, and was slowly able to realize that I didn’t deserve to carry the shame any longer. I began to use my voice here and break my silence after so many years.
All the support and understanding I received at Pandy’s continued to give me courage, and finally, after working with my therapist for years, I was able to tell her what happened to me and begin to work through my past.
I joined Pandy’s two years ago, and it continues to play an instrumental role in my healing journey. With the help of this site, along with my therapist, I have been able to work through much of the shame and fear and guilt. I’ve replaced negative coping mechanisms with healthy ones. I’ve returned to working full-time in a profession I love. I still have my struggles and continue to work on healing, but I’m not alone with them anymore. Pandy’s has given me a place where I can go and let my guard down. I can admit that I’m not ok. I can talk about my struggles, as well as share my victories.
Volunteering as part of the chat mod team has only added to my healing, allowing me to continue to use my voice to help others and give back to a community that has given me so much. I continue to work towards healing, but because of all the support I’ve received, I’ve learned that I’m more than just the pain and shame I held inside for so long. I’ve become a wife, mother, professional, friend, and finally, a survivor.
This extracted story with the statistics given in the last article show the serious need to address the emotional consequences of abuses. Allow me to start by saying that negative emotions are real and we must admit the reality that it is important we deal with it adequately. Negative emotions can result from different factors, but for the purpose of this article, I will attempt to address the possible implications resulting from an abuse and the next article will be on helpful tips on how it can be handled.
Emotions represent the internal expression of a changed tonus of neuropsychological activity which is reflected in all aspects of the human psyche and organism (Lebedinsky and Myasishchev, 1966, p. 222). Emotions do not exist only in psychological terrain but also in the physiological state of an organism. Forgive me for going into psychological and physiological terminologies.
When you are sexually assaulted, it means someone has violated your sexual dignity. And as such inflicts emotional pains which can play out in many ways depending on the person’s personality and the ability to handle the nightmare.
Also, making a wrong choice of getting sexually involved before your marriage and the feeling of shame and guilt that come with it also have a similar, though lesser impact on an individual.
The story we read is very instructive on the reality of such a painful experience, the implications on how we go about dealing with this ugly monster and the fact that it is possible for you to be healed. The source of the abuse could be from your relations, lecturer/teacher or colleagues and it usually starts from a tender age.
The experience this trauma leaves the affected person has serious negative implications. Let us run through some of these effects and how best one can get off its hook.
Scientific description of what emotion means: http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2F978-1-4899-0591-8_2/lookinside/001.png
According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network(RAINN), victims are:
3 times more likely to suffer from depression.
6 times more likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder.
13 times more likely to abuse alcohol.
26 times more likely to abuse drugs.
4 times more likely to contemplate suicide.
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