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Sexual Violence

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… Continued: I could tell story after story of pretending to be asleep and him coming into my bedroom regardless if my mom was home or not. He raped me at 11 and a half and I ran and locked myself in the bathroom in pain. I then had a babysitter who must have been in her 20’s as I remember she had a baby. I decided that if Mary had a baby without sex then I might be able to pass off having a baby and say that I was like Mary. I understood nothing but somehow, I was frightened of getting pregnant and then explaining what had happened and I was so ashamed I did not want my mom to know. This babysitter must have thought that I was crazy, as I argued that this could happen.  Well, one day I brought home a paper to go to the…

Sometimes being an adult that suffered from child molestation or rape never leaves my mind and the repercussions of it have affected me deeply. The effect is a scar just like the kind that you receive when you’re badly injured and get stitches. I cannot speak for others as I have only had my own personal experience.  The severity of mine was very bad, it was cruel, it was terrifying, it was unmentionable and scary.  I was frightened most of my young life and it was ongoing from 7 to 17.  I was in a very innocent age at the time being born in the 50’s.  My generation did not have TV depicting much about wholesome family unit shows.  I had no Internet to look up things and asking people might have revealed something I felt ashamed, guilty, uneducated, and unknowledgeable about.  I had a small teaching of the Bible from a few Sunday School classes.  I…

What details do children these days need to know? And how much freedom should headteachers have to decide? The need to improve sex and relationship education in school and at home comes as the number of sexual assaults experienced by children and teenagers from adults and their peers continues to rise. Young people must be taught the importance of healthy and stable relationships, and what exploitative relationships look like. We all know that children, teenagers and young adults experience sexual harassment and violence, and online they are exposed to images and content which can be very disturbing and addictive. Hence, it is vital that schools and parents give children the information they need about sex, consent and healthy relationships. Sex Ed varies from family to family and school to school, so people’s experiences are different. Does sex Ed really fulfill its course name? most of the time, no it does…

Every day now in the news, we learn of various cases of rape and sexual abuse. On the one hand is the incident and on the other is how perpetrators respond when accused, and how it is handled by the authorities. Both the response and outcome are crucially important. A good response, in addition to a satisfactory resolution in court can at least do some good (sincere apologies, and where there’s lack of one – seeing perpetrators get a full  conviction for what they did, can be healing). But when nothing happens, it not only exacerbates the harm of the first injury, it also inflicts new injury, and makes it difficult for the victim to recover. It is very important to be a good listener when a friend or loved one discloses a difficult or upsetting experience like sexual assault or harassment, it is called giving the gift of presence.…

Do you know what it’s like to feel so dirty and disgusting that all you want is to crawl into the shower and scrub until you’ve shed all the skin he touched? But you’re in so much pain that you can’t even make it out of your bed, so you turn away from your roommate’s side of the room so that when she comes in, she won’t see you cry. Do you know what it’s like to be pushed into a room, clearly intoxicated beyond the point where consent is possible, by someone you considered a friend? After saying stop a few times and he doesn’t listen, you just stop trying to say “Stop, you’re hurting me. Stop, I don’t want this.” You just lay back and wait for what seems like an eternity for it to be over. This eternity is plenty of time to wonder why you. You…

Resilience is crucial to overcoming adversity. Whether you can be said to have it or not largely depends not on any psychological test but on the way your life unfolds. If you are lucky enough to never experience any sort of adversity, we won’t know how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles, stress, and other environmental threats that resilience, or lack of it, emerges: Do you succumb, or do you surmount? Environmental threats can come in various ways; from chronic – exposure to violence or poor treatment; being a child of problematic divorce, etc. to acute: experiencing or witnessing a traumatic violent encounter, or being in an accident. What matters is the intensity and the duration of the stressor. What sets resilient people apart? Some elements have to do with luck: a resilient person might have a strong bond with a supportive caregiver, parent, teacher, or…

Sexual violence is a human rights issue and a serious public health problem with both long and short term consequences on victims’ physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health. Whether the incident happens in the context of an intimate relationship, within the family – as in the case of childhood or teenage sexual abuse, community structure, or even during times of conflict, it is a deeply violating and painful experience for the survivor. It is important that we understand that the standard for what constitutes rape or abuse should not be set just above the level of coercion acceptable to us as a society but at the level of victims’ experience of violation. In order to believe a victim’s accounts of trauma, you need to suspend any preconceived notions that you have about what is possible and impossible in human experience because ultimately what victims/survivors of sexual violence need is understanding,…