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-   -   Triggering (Abuse): Struggling in the wake of an assault (http://www.teenhelp.org/forums/f13-rape-abuse/t149451-struggling-wake-assault/)

Garyl January 13th 2017 11:42 PM

Struggling in the wake of an assault
A little under a month ago I was at a party and I was sexually assaulted. At first I didn't accept the fact that it was really assault because the party was an "adult" party, if you catch my drift, but the people I told (my therapist and my partner) pointed out that I had clearly said no to him and he ignored me, even when I was protesting for him to stop. He finally did stop after I yelled "stop" loud enough for other people in the room to hear but that was after he'd been doing what he was doing for a while.

I went home shaken and in tears. I reported him to the organizer of the party and he said he'd "talk" to the guy. I didn't report him to the police because I was afraid they'd dismiss it because it was a sex party. Besides, I never caught the guy's name. I don't even remember what he looks like very well. Mostly I just remember his voice and...the way he touched me. The things he did to me. I said "no" and he said he wouldn't do the thing I was saying no to but then he did it anyway and I froze; I didn't know what to do. It took me a minute to even regain my ability to speak and when I did I tried to get him to stop but he wouldn't, he just wouldn't, not until I yelled.

The worst part is the flashbacks and the fact that this brings up all kinds of other memories. I've been sexually assaulted before- I had a boyfriend who raped me once when he was angry at me, my childhood "boyfriend" would touch me sexually when I didn't want it, and my older brother sexually abused my sister and I when we were kids. I keep having all these memories come up from the other times I was assaulted. It just makes everything worse and it makes me feel like I deserve it. Why else would FOUR people sexually assault me in my lifetime (and I'm not even thirty yet)? I keep having flashbacks, especially during sex, about what happened at the party and it makes me panic and turn into a screaming, sobbing mess. I feel so bad for my poor girlfriend but I don't know what to do. I guess we could not have sex but somehow that would make me feel like even more of a failure.

I've been trying to work with one of my therapists on this but it's hard and it makes me feel bad after every session. I want to cope in all kinds of unhealthy ways- mostly getting drunk and cutting myself. It's been over six months since I last cut but if this keeps up I don't know if I can continue my clean streak.

I don't know what to do. I hate myself. I'm falling apart. The flashbacks happen often, no matter how much I try to distract myself. I'm in hell and I don't know what to do.

.Brittany. January 14th 2017 02:04 AM

Re: Struggling in the wake of an assault
Hi Jordan,

I'm sorry you're going through that. It's definitely a difficult situation to be in. I have been sexually assaulted several times, and just like you I'm not thirty. So you're definitely not alone in this. You need to realize that none of that is your fault. Have you tried meditation at all? It helped me a bit with trying to clear my head.

Maybe mention it to your therapist and see what she says?
Let me know

Stay strong,

Hanna24 January 15th 2017 09:57 AM

Re: Struggling in the wake of an assault
Well, I don't know what to say. But stay strong. You'll surely get out of this soon.

Celyn January 15th 2017 10:32 PM

Re: Struggling in the wake of an assault
I'm glad to hear that the people you did tell have pointed out that, regardless of whether or not it was a sex party, you had told the guy 'no' several times and so it was assault. I know it can be hard to accept the reality, but I'm glad that you've had people to help you come to terms with what happened.

I'm also glad that you reported this person to the organiser of the party, even if you didn't report him to the police. What happened, should never have happened and if this person attends many sex parties, he needs to understand his behaviour isn't acceptable. It's natural that you would've froze at the time, so I think it was very brave of you to report him to the organiser. I hope that he really does talk to the guy in question.

I'm really sorry that you keep having flashbacks, and it's bringing up memories of past abuse. You do not deserve it though, no matter how many people have abused you. Do you practice grounding techniques for flashbacks? It can help to remind yourself that you are safe and in the present rather than in the past. I'm not sure if it helps at all, but my counsellor suggested I make a timeline of all the important things that happened after the abuse right up to the present day and if I get triggered or in a flashback to go over this timeline and slowly bring myself back into the present.

Don't feel bad when you get flashbacks during sex. I'm wondering how you are with other forms of intimacy with your girlfriend? Even if you can't express your love in terms of sex right now, it may help to find ways of remaining intimate.

I'm glad to hear that you are trying to work on this with your therapist. Sessions can be difficult at times, but if you feel bad after every session, I'm wondering if you could tell your therapist this?

Stay strong :hug:

cynefin January 16th 2017 02:04 PM

Re: Struggling in the wake of an assault
I am so sorry you went through that. I can't imagine how hard it is for you right now.

Have you ever written your memories out before? Maybe you can write them out or even post about some of them somewhere so they're not stuck in your mind anymore. Maybe discussing them somewhere would help get them out of your mind so you don't experience the flashbacks as much.

Something someone once suggested for me to try with flashbacks is to make them have a different ending, in your mind. When you have one, daydream a different ending. It could help decrease the intensity of the flashbacks while making you feel like you have more control now than you did before.

Do you ever try to prevent flashbacks? Some people do and while everyone is different, I've found it more helpful to let them present themselves. When you try to prevent them, you're pushing them further back in your mind and they stay there. Having them is unpleasant, though. Maybe you could make a plan of things to do to ground and distract yourself after a flashback?

It can be really hard to work on this kind of thing in therapy. Some therapists will give the last five to ten minutes to talk about other things to help distract you. That is something worth looking into. You could also plan things to do afterwards, like taking a nap, going for a walk, watching a movie, or running some errands.

You don't deserve this even though it may feel differently. No one deserves to be harmed by anyone in this way. The four individuals who have done this to you ill and wrong. You don't deserve this pain and you never will deserve it.

We are here for you.

del677 January 18th 2017 10:34 AM

Re: Struggling in the wake of an assault
For PTSD one discovery is when a memory is recalled, the memory gets rewritten. Memory recall isn't static. Recalling the memory rewrites that memory.

The trick then is to recall the memory and have it rewritten with a less traumatic emotion attached. If the patient can put themselves in a very calm state, then recall the offending memory, the memory should get rewritten with less volatile emotion attached. The memory of the event is still there, just the emotional significance of the memory is reduced. Thhiz may need to be repeated over e weeks. I think this is why telling people and being heard can be cathartic.

Doctors are also experimenting with a blood pressure medication which also has properties that assist this kind of treatment. (I forget the name.)

The other thing is thinking a thought strengthens and reinforces the thought. So to make a thought fade away, stop thinking about it so much.

Meditation can help anxiety. It slowly rewires the brain so you are less anxious.

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