Words from the lady herself about the memory and trauma after watching the Kavanaugh Hearing and Dr Fords testimonial about the alleged rape that took place and speaking on The Late Show;
If someone is assaulted, or experiences trauma, there is science, and scientific proof, it’s biology, that people change. The brain changes. And literally, what it does, is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box, and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain.
This is what happens, the brain changes, it effects your memory because your brain was saving your life not making memories. Fragments may come back, or not. The science behind this is done with brain imaging and MRI scans.
Childhood Sexual Abuse (csa)
Have you suffered sexual abuse whilst you were a child. If so the chances are it still affects your day to day life. Perhaps your relationships break down and you feel unable to function at work? Maybe you are feeling frightened because you are pregnant or have just given birth and the feelings are becoming to much for you to deal with.
Without therapy CSA can continue to shape the way you have to live your life - the triggers, flashbacks, mood swings and complete confusion and anger at what happened to you, can start to overwhelm you. The effects can be devastating. Perhaps you are left with the feeling that it was all your fault. It was not your fault, no matter what you did.
Were you groomed by someone older? It does not have to be much older, maybe a few years. This can lead to a confusing feeling and lead on to sexual abuse. It is a little known situation. Maybe you felt flattered and could boast to your friends. It was not your fault.
Have you been raped, or think you have been? Did someone attack you sexually, maybe you were out at a nightclub and someone touched you without you wanting them to? Has someone, you trusted, acted in a sexual manner that frightened you? Did this happen to you some years ago, or just last week? Do you fear telling anyone in-case you would be judged? Do you, not want to be that person who was attacked?
If you feel any of these questions speak to you, and you would like to come for a session, you can have a free telephone conversation first, if you like. Remember, all sessions are confidential. Sometimes the hardest move is the first move. Make it today, you have already been brave enough to read my website and some pretty honest questions about Sexual Violence, so the rest is relatively easy, or not as hard as living with the pain and shame.
Rape, sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual indiscretion are all things that are horrible abuses, they cross cultures, gender, age and class. The only person to blame is the attacker.
The #MeToo movement has brought this into the media spotlight. We already knew it was happening, it is just that some of us did not know what to do with our anger, what to do with the feelings that had become overwhelming.
When you have been attacked in this way, you may suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is a normal reaction to trauma. The brain processes trauma in a special way, which can lead to ptsd, you may not suffer this, everybody has their own individual reaction.
PTSD includes symptoms like;
Hypervigilance (On constant ‘red alert’)
Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. Pounding heart, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)
Irritability or outbursts of anger
Irrational and intense fear
Reduced tolerance to noise (hyperacusis)
Being easily moved to tears
Panic attacks/anxiety/depression/mood swings
Feeling jumpy and easily startled
Difficulty falling or staying asleep
Anger or aggressive behaviour
Avoidance and numbing
Work-related or relationship problems
Inability to remember important aspect of the trauma
Loss of interest in activities and life in general
Sense of a limited future
Feeling numb and empty
Avoidance of people and places
Frequent periods of withdrawal into oneself
Re-experiencing the traumatic event
Flashbacks (Acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
Other common symptoms
Self harm and self-destructive tendencies
Feeling distrustful and suspicious/blaming others
Guilt, Shame, embarrassment or self blame
Misuse of alcohol/drugs/gambling and/or food
Seeking out high-risk/dangerous pursuits
Physical aches and pains
Over-reactions to minor situations
Fear of being alone and fear of being in crowds
With therapy the symptoms can be dealt with and the surrounding confusion can be understood. You can learn to live with PTSD. If therapy is not enough, there are other treatments available. For example, Eye Movement Desensitization Reprogramming (EMDR) is very effective in treating PTSD. This is not available with me.
Follow this link for more info on ptsduk.
Well, how do we relate to this is the everyday world of mere mortals?!
This hashtag started with Rose McGowan accusing Harvey Weinstien of Rape and the actress Alyssa Milano starting a twitter hashtag, wait a minute, no it didn't! It started with a black woman called Tarana Burke who was working with black girls and women in NYC, she wanted to highlight the plight of sexual assault survivors in a world where they have very little worth and no voice.
Burke, founder of youth organization Just Be Inc., created the “Me Too” campaign in 2007 long before hashtags even existed, she created the campaign as a grass-roots movement to reach sexual assault survivors in underprivileged communities.
It is called 'whitewashed' when feminist movements are 'hijacked' by white women, although black women were the origin. In this particular movement the 'white woman' has tweeted thanks to the 'black woman' for starting it! I believe this to be true and her sincerity, it again highlights what we are up against, not only by reporting sexual harassment, abuse, attack, but then it being made to look pretty and white, so it is easy on the eye!
“It wasn’t built to be a viral campaign or a hashtag that is here today and forgotten tomorrow,” Burke told Ebony on Monday. “It was a catchphrase to be used from survivor to survivor to let folks know that they were not alone and that a movement for radical healing was happening and possible.”
The importance of telling your story, to whom ever you want to, is huge! Not only are you acknowledging your pain but you are also admitting to yourself that you believe you! I have worked with sexual abuse survivors, are you one, are you tired of the struggle and rage you feel? You can heal to have a better life.
This is the silent sexual and violent abuse that happens behind closed doors.
Do you feel frightened about going home. Do you live in fear? Has the once loving relationship become cold and scary? Do you have to fulfil certain obligations daily, like, making dinner, keeping the house clean, being willing and able for sex?
Have you pleaded with your partner, do you need to escape to a safer place to live?
This is a hard and stressful life but you do not need to suffer alone. I will accept a referral from another on your behalf, if making the first move is too hard.
FGM - Female Genital Mutilation
This has been described as a religious, cultural practice and people have felt it is racist to call it harmful. It is secretive and most people know nothing about it. Some of the countries in the world it is practiced in are not third world, places like Egypt.
Children, girls, are subjected to cutting and mutilation of their vagina and genitals. In some countries it is seen as a rite to womanhood and girls may not marry until it is done. However, the complications, even death, that can occur far outweight the cultural and traditional reasons for doing it.
If you have been affected by this and would like to talk, please get in touch. (I have been trained in the terms and details of the mutilation that takes place by the NHS.)
How compassion can change your experience
Compassion is not something we readily show for ourselves, we can show it for others, especially a baby, toddler, old person. Generally it is who we see as vulnerable.
However, when we learn to feel compassion for ourselves we open up a world of understanding and eventually leading to a feeling of forgiveness that lends itself to great calm and contentedness.
The Forgiveness Project is an organisation that tells peoples stories about how they were able to forgive and show compassion for people who had done them great harm, you can find a link here.
Restorative Justice is also a project, in some prisons, that allows people to come together, with the sole purpose of transformation.
Once we start on the journey of forgiveness it can feel scary, or even wrong, "why should I forgive them, they hurt me?!"
If you decide this is something you are interested in I can guide and support your journey to compassion and forgiveness.