The Aftermath of Sexual Misconduct
What we really go through
So I'm writing this post for people who don't know what it's like being a survivor of sexual misconduct, but maybe knows someone who was a survivor. Sexual misconduct is an umbrella term for any act like rape and sexual assault. I will not pretend to know how everyone else handles sexual misconduct, I can only speak for myself and the stories I've heard.
After my assault I really didn't know what to call what happened to me. I just knew it was wrong and bad. I finally spoke to someone who basically spelled it out for me. Since then I've been struggling with my self esteem and worsening anxiety. That was coupled with night terrors. You do have good days and bad days. On the good days you feel amazing like anything is possible. On the bad days you feel all alone. You may even have panic attacks and night terrors on bad days.
You may have issues with trust or sex. After my assault, I would go rigid or stiff whenever someone would touch me. I always wondered if a guy was with me for sex. When it did come to me having sex, sometimes I would cry after playing or having sex.
According to experts there's a lot of things that can come up after sexual misconduct; the following things we will discuss are those things. You may have depression or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder after the assault or rape.
Some people have flashbacks instead of night terrors. Some survivors can even have sleep disorders.
Some rape victims may be at risk for STDs/STIs or pregnancy. Please don't be ashamed to get tested. After you get tested, make the best decision for you. Also don't blame yourself for what happened to you.
Some victims may resort to self harm or suicide to deal with the depression. They also feel so alone. The important thing is to get help and support to help you through the aftermath.
The one thing we don't realize is that some survivors can have substance abuse. This makes sense because they want to numb the memory or the pain. They drink or do drugs to escape. There are other self destructive behaviors that survivors may engage in. Some survivors may isolate themselves or on the opposite end they may engage in promiscuity. Some victims may also go on to be in unhealthy relationships.
Some survivors also deal with dissociation. Dissociation is a spectrum of brain activity from day dreaming to a mental state where you may have issues functioning in the real world because it's almost like your brain is functioning a million miles away (or in another universe). It's almost like your mind shuts off.
Eating disorders may be present after an assault or rape. They may feel like they don't have control over life or their body. They may hate their body.
There's so much that a survivor can go through. Not all survivors handle things the same way. If you are a survivor you can get through this. There is hope, help, and support.
If someone you know is a survivor, help them to the best of your ability. If someone you're dating or thinking about dating is a survivor, they are not a drama queen or broken. Also, be careful not to further their trauma.
I will take more about sexual misconduct later so stay tuned.