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Mental Health

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Sexual response or orgasm during sexual assault is the best-kept and most deeply shameful secret of many victims and survivors. Unfortunately, some people believe that if a victim experiences arousal while being raped, that person must have enjoyed being raped. Some others believe that arousal is synonymous with consent. However, consent is not given by a person’s body parts, it is verbally given by a sober, informed, non-coerced partner. And since vaginas and penises can’t speak, it’s safe to say that they cannot give consent. If you are a survivor, and you experienced pleasure, no matter how little, it’s important that you understand that sexual response in sexual assault is extremely common, it is also well-documented and nothing for you to be ashamed of. Below is some information from researchers and professionals about sexual arousal and sexual assault: Rape and Sexual Arousal: Rape is not always violent. Some survivors surrender…

If you listen to any conversation about mental health, mental illness and addiction, it won’t be long until the term “stigma” comes up. Stigma has many definitions, but ultimately, it refers to negative attitudes, beliefs, descriptions, language or behavior associated with a particular circumstance, quality, or person. In other words, it means the disrespectful, unfair or discriminatory patterns in how we think, feel, talk and behave towards a group of people, in this case individuals experiencing a mental illness. If you wonder where stigma comes from, then you’re not alone but when you think about it… you realize that it’s a complicated question. It’s almost like asking where do differences in political views, religious preferences, or sports team allegiances come from? We are largely influenced (way too easily) by our environment, our family, friends, the media and our culture, inaccurate stereotypes and a whole other factors. Rather than trying to…

Sexual violence, including rape, harassment, and other forms of sexual assault, occurs in our society in high numbers. It is one of the most undisclosed and under-reported crimes, partially due to the shame and stigma faced by many of the victims and as a result, the crime is shrouded in silence and secrecy. A reluctance to disclose has been found to be a barrier to treatment, when treatment can often be of significant help in resolving the feelings of guilt, shame, fear, anger, anxiety, and depression that might follow a sexual attack. Nevertheless, though sexual violence is a traumatic and life-altering experience, recovery is possible. A compassionate therapist who understands trauma, especially sexual trauma, and its effects is often able to help people who have experienced rape and other forms of sexual abuse. Research has consistently shown that the relationship between the therapist and the person in treatment is the…

One of the most discriminatory stereotypes that persist is the incorrect association between mental health problems and violent behavior. People often avoid living or socializing with people with mental health challenges because they assume people with mental health challenges are dangerous and violent. As a result, these individuals often face all sorts of discrimination and stigma which can lead to low self-esteem, isolation, and hopelessness, and may stop them from seeking mental health care. The media play a significant role in portraying that people with mental health problems are violent. There are few positive stories that highlight the recovery processes of individuals with serious mental health challenges and family members. On television, characters with mental illness are often depicted as the most dangerous of all groups. Many people believe this stereotype. However, review of research on violence and mental illness has found that the contribution of people with mental health challenges to…

Sexual assault teaches victims that their bodies are not really their own. Victims often report feelings such as shame, terror, and guilt, and many blame themselves for the assault. In the aftermath of a sexual assault, survivors face extremely difficult and painful emotions and experiences. Every survivor responds to traumatic events in their own way. It is important to note that: Sexual assault is never a victim’s fault. Sexual assault is a crime motivated by a need to control, humiliate, and harm. If the victim does not fight the acts, it does not mean consent. Also when sexual assault is referred to as the act of “forcing a victim to perform sexual acts…” that ‘force’ does not only mean physical force, but includes manipulation, coercion, threats, and situations where a person is unable to give consent. Sexual assault can have a variety of short- and – long term effects on…

You put a bandage on a cut or take antibiotics to treat an infection, right? No questions asked. In fact, questions would be asked if you didn’t apply first aid when necessary. So why isn’t the same true of our mental health? We are expected to just “get over” psychological wounds — when as anyone who’s ever ruminated over rejection or agonized over a failure knows only too well, emotional injuries can be just as crippling as physical ones. We need to learn how to practice emotional first aid. Here are 7 ways to do so: Pay attention to emotional pain — recognize it when it happens and work to treat it before it feels all-encompassing. The body evolved the sensation of physical pain to alert us that something is wrong and we need to address it. The same is true for emotional pain. If a rejection, failure or bad mood is not getting better,…