The Significance of April
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. To some this is just something said in passing: A like spent on a post here or there, a thought given to the “Me Too” movement. To others it means so much more. It is a reminder that whatever they have been through, they are not alone. It was not their fault, and it’s a pledge from the rest of the world to do better. How can you do better?
If someone comes to you after they have been assaulted, it can be so hard to know what to do in those moments. The first thing you can do is thank them for sharing. Allow them to share as much or as little as they would like and don’t push for details. Above all else, do not be accusatory, and if they feel responsible, remind them this wasn’t their fault. Assault doesn’t happen because of the clothes someone wears, if they were drinking, or where they happened to be. The guilt and shame that comes with something like this is heavy enough – by being there for them you can ease some of these feelings.
Going through trauma doesn’t necessarily mean you will have a difficult time with intimacy, but being honest with your partner and direct about what you need in those moments is going to help you feel the most in control. Sexual intimacy after an assault can be super complicated and it’s not something that’s usually talked about. It could be incredibly emotional, especially if you haven’t been honest with your current partner. For some people, it can even be physically painful, or you may have certain triggers that affect how you feel.
If you have been through a trauma there can be a lot of emotions and complex feelings you don’t know how to sift through. You might feel like everything is moving in slow motion, or you may feel like you cannot get clean. None of these feeling are things to be ashamed of, or things that will last forever, although it will take time to process. There are lots of different kinds of resources, but they are all there to support you, no matter who you are and where you happen to be in your journey to support.
National Sexual Assault Hotline- 800.656.HOPE (4673)
University Counseling Centers
Pastors and Ministers
Title IX offices
Reno Area Resources
Nevada Coalition to End Domestic and Sexual Violence