April 11

Good Sex with Emily Jamea: Healing After Sexual Assault

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Original article HERE

This article is from the "Healthy Women" website.

https://www.healthywomen.org/media-library/healing-after-sexual-assault.jpg?id=33447174&width=980

Emily Jamea, Ph.D., is a sex therapist, author and podcast host. 

NOTE: I've posted the first bit of this article, with some commentary, to give you a glimpse into the very painful world that some people have to deal with because of the ungodly actions of others.

By the way, April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Take a look at the excerpts here, with some quick thoughts from me, and link to her original article HERE to read it in its complete form.

From The Article:

My 2 o’clock client, Nicola, sat across from me on the sofa, her legs tucked under her. She glanced out the window at the storm clouds moving in, a single tear rolling down her cheek as if she herself was starting the rain.

“It happened 20 years ago, but sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday.”

I stayed quiet, giving her the space to tell me more on her own time.

“I was 10 years old, and I was having a sleepover at a friend’s house. I went to the hall bathroom to get some water after everyone was asleep. My friend’s older brother was still awake, and he walked in. I think he was 17 or 18, something like that.” She choked back a sob. “He wasn’t aggressive or violent, even. He didn’t have to be because I totally froze. And now I feel like I freeze every time I’m with my husband. It’s tearing our marriage apart. I’m so ashamed.”

The office darkened as the last bit of sunlight disappeared behind the clouds, casting away any remaining shadows, awash now only with her story, a version of a story I’d heard too many times to count.

My thoughts:

I’ve heard some stunning statistics regarding this issue of sexual assault, and how often it happens, and the kinds of trauma it creates. It leaves marks.

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My wife was assaulted many times by a family member when she was young. I’m fortunate enough to see that she has handled it well. But not everyone is capable of processing this stuff on their own.

Back to the article:

What comes up for you when you hear the words “sexual assault”? Most people think of a violent rape, but sexual assault can take on different shapes. We must first break down the word “sexual.”

Our sexuality does not only inhabit our body. It’s also our thoughts, emotions and spirit as well. Any assault, violent or otherwise, on any part of our sexuality has the potential to negatively affect the way we think, feel and express ourselves sexually. Furthermore, sexuality doesn’t live in its own compartment. It’s linked to our individuality. Sexual assault, therefore, doesn’t just affect our sexuality. It profoundly affects our sense of self.

I’ve worked with women who have been violently raped. I’ve worked with women who have been sexually coerced. I’ve worked with women who have been taken advantage of when they’ve had too much to drink. I’ve worked with women who were touched inappropriately by strangers on the subway, neighbors and peers. I’ve worked with women who were raped by their spouses and women who’ve experienced sexual violence in the name of religion. You name it, I’ve probably seen it.

If I had to identify one common symptom that these women share, it would be the feeling of shame they carry with them. The other symptoms run the gamut. Some are too terrorized to even imagine having sex again while others experience only fleeting inhibition with specific sex acts. Some develop unhealthy coping mechanisms such as addiction or eating disorders, while others remain highly functional in just about every area of their lives. But, to varying degrees, most women seem to feel ashamed by what happened to them, so this is usually where I begin treatment.

I start by explaining one simple fact: The shame is not theirs. It belongs to the perpetrator. They’ve internalized it, but it isn’t their emotion to carry.

My thoughts:

I know healing is possible. And I say this because as someone involved in Christian ministry, I’ve seen women (and men, too – they are also often assaulted) recover from this type of thing and even thrive.

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But it isn’t without a lot of work sometimes, including help from professionals who have spent a good amount of time learning how to help people unwind from this kind of thing.

Never give up hope and trust that healing is possible.

This article is a good read. To read it in its entirety, click the link HERE.

On a related note, if you’re feeling “less than” because of your spouse’s behavior in other ways (including pornography) you might want to check out this article: Must-Hear Podcast: Sex Chat For Christian Wives – Roo Ninja. These ladies talk about sex and sexuality in a most mature and appropriate way, and they deal with this topic of spouses and pornography.

If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).

Resources
RAINN

 

This article https://www.healthywomen.org/good-sex-with-emily-jamea/healing-after-sexual-assault was reprinted from the "Healthy Women" website.


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