Thursday, December 4, 2014

1 thing you need to do if you survived sexual abuse, assault, rape...

I was chatting with someone today about the experiences I've had in sexual violations. And it turned out the person I was chatting with had also been violated in a certain way. She asked me, "What helped you the most? Why are you functioning?"

Hands down, the most important factor in healing and being able to live, was DH learning about sexual violation and being a supportive partner. I highly, highly recommend that if you are in a relationship with someone or intend to be in a relationship, you ensure that the person is:

OPEN to learning about the topic and becoming educated enough to understand basic related concepts, treatment and healing options, normal emotional experiences, and other things that are part of the journey

SENSITIVELY HONEST so that frank and important discussions can be had with tact, while still being clear so that unintended hurts don't occur.

100% RESPECTFUL of every iota of your being, committed to healthy boundaries physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

Do NOT sacrifice these aspects because the feeling of violation can linger such as by being triggered from unintentional behaviors, or by fighting to be acknowledged, or by being misunderstood. Smaller cycles of unhealthy behavior, such as threats, harshwords, gaslighting, etc, can all cause an amplified feeling and bring back past hurts quickly.

From being in this discussion with many people, one thing I frequently note is that survivors tend to think they can close the door on that experience, and completely black it out of their romantic relationships. Many of them do not tell their partners anything at all happened, or if they do, it's a very brief description devoid of tangible meaning and influence.

Unfortunately, sexual violation of all kinds impacts us, and plays into the way we act, think, and love in our relationships. If your romantic partner is unaware of your experiences and how they influenced you, then it can lead to a lot of misunderstandings and unintended harm to both people. Even if it's hard, it's really important to develop radical honesty in this area.

If you're unsure how to go about it, relationship therapy could be a great way to feel safe and to have a 3rd party guide you. If you feel unsafe sharing, this might indicate a need to carefully evaluate the relationship.

There are a plethora of books available on ebay and amazon, and probably at your local library right now written just for the partner of survivors. Consider ordering some and having an open discussion with your loved one soon.

Support for Partners

Secondary Survivors

Primer for partners of survivors

A guide for intimate partners

Survivor Parents

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