Let’s start with some definitions.
• Sexual assault – a term that includes all sexual offences. Any action or statement with a sexual nature and done without consent from both sides.
• Rape – insertion of a bodily organ or an object into the sex organ of a woman or man without her/his consent.
• Sodomy – insertion of a bodily organ or an object into a person’s anus or mouth without their consent.
• Incest – Sexual abuse or assault by a family member.
A perpetrator of sexual assault can have any relationship to a victim, including the role of an intimate partner or spouse.
The key here is consent. If there is no consent, the action is an assault.
Hurt, shock, fear and disbelief are common feelings felt by victims of this trauma.
These are often followed by shame, self-blame, self-hatred and self-harm. Many feel isolated and so very alone, with no one that they can trust to tell.
The aftermath that can result includes becoming pregnant by the perpetrator, disease or guilt. Others are the unheard and unanswered soul’s cry for help, anxiety, withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder, a problem with anger, drug and alcohol abuse and eating disorders.
When the courage to speak of the assault is found, insult is often added to injury people asking,
-Why didn’t you speak up?
-What took you so long?
-Is there any truth to what you are saying?
To all those who have been victims of sexual assault, please believe me when I say, IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.
It doesn’t not matter how long it has been since the sexual violation.
Confide in someone you trust .Ideally they should not be related to the perpetrator, as in these scenarios, a cover up is often attempted.
Report the crime to the police. Do not go alone. If the sexual assault/ abuse has just taken place please do not attempt to shower or change your clothing as there is a lot of evidence that can get destroyed. A person you respect and trust should go with you and stay with you at all times.
Do not approach the abuser.
Seek psychological support/counselling to work through your emotions and work through your healing. This is a long and hard journey, but one that is worth making in order to be free.
It is never too late, no matter how long ago the incident occurred.
You deserved to be protected, to be happy, and to be whole.
With time and the right support, you can arrive at a place where the sexual assault does not define who you are as a person.
No matter what happened, you are bigger than that.
Sometimes the most effective revenge is not just surviving, but thriving.