PROSAF – POSITIVE REACTIONS OVER SECRETS AND FEARSSURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN – THE PROSAF TEAM
LAST week we discussed violence against women. We also explored the fact that violence against women is largely ignored in many instances and justified in others. We discussed the fact that many don’t tell anyone they have been victimized for fear of being unfairly targeted, shamed and blamed for crimes committed against them, crimes they didn’t part-take in. Sexual violence, rape, molestation, incest, sexual harassment, unwanted touched, coercion, manipulation, etc are all acts of sexual violence.
Sexual violence doesn’t mean that the act that occurred left a visible mark, it doesn’t require anyone to be physically injured. Sexual violence defined by the WHO “encompasses acts that range from verbal harassment to forced penetration, and an array of types of coercion, from social pressure and intimidation to physical force. Sexual Violence includes, but is not limited to: 1) rape within marriage or dating relationships, 2) rape by strangers and acquaintances, 3) unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment (at school, work, etc.) , 4) systematic rape, sexual slavery and other forms of violence, which are particularly common in armed conflicts (e.g. forced impregnation), 5) sexual abuse of mentally or physically disabled people, 6) rape and sexual abuse of children and 7) ‘customary’ forms of sexual violence, such as forced marriage or cohabitation and wife inheritance.
“Sexual violence spans great lengths yet we have all decided to do nothing, to say nothing, to let it continue to occur and then to justify the acts of the individuals who sought to violate others. This week I thought it would be important to focus on coping and healing. As we continue this week’s article, I would like you to be aware of how you react to the article.
While the information in the article is meant to validate and educate the public, we are also aware that it can be triggering, it can cause flashbacks, it may result in nightmares, in hyper vigilance, your body may respond by showing signs of above average perspiration, increased heart-rate, sweaty palms, etc. Should you start to experience any of the above, or any symptoms where you feel panicked, scared, worried, angry, etc please stop reading take a moment to check in with yourself, remind yourself that in this moment you are safe. Do some breathing exercises to help calm you and then decide whether you should continue reading. The articles are always available, don’t ignore what your body and mind are saying. There is no weakness in taking a step back, contrarily, there is great strength in self-awareness and working to create a proper relationship with your body.
Many survivors struggle with whether or not things will ever get better. They struggle with the question as to what they can do to make things better, to make things different, to make things like they were before the sexual assault. Many fear the healing journey because the healing journey is a long road paved with many holes, many hills, many steps and what can feel like an endless journey to a vague concept of happiness. The decision to begin the healing journey has never been easy, it has been fraught with images of further victimization, shame, fear, anger, loneliness, sadness, etc. Many have lived with their sexual violence for so long that they alter the way they behave and think in an effort to protect themselves.
Our defense mechanisms, while similar, will manifest in their own unique ways. Sexual violence leaves many with wounds, many of those wounds can’t be seen to the naked eye because many of those wounds are psychological. Physical wounds may heal quicker, the psychological ones live on and serve as a constant reminder of what one lived through.
Remember that Sexual assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you. You are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/child/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own. You are not guilty of any crime, something was done to you against your will Sexual Assault is something that happened to you, it does not define you. You are worthy of love and happiness. You are a strong, beautiful, intelligent woman/man who has suffered a trauma through no fault of your own Always remember that you are not alone, that you have nothing to be ashamed of. We are taking the baby steps necessary to make it better for all. KNOW YOU HAVE A SAFE SPACE IN PROSAF.
Souyenne Dathorne, Velika Lawrence
Email: [email protected] – [email protected]
Facebook: SURVIVING SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CARIBBEAN: https://www.facebook.com/pages/PROSAF-Surviving-Sexual-Abuse-in-the-Caribbean/165341356853908
Twitter: @PROSAF_SUEEZZY: https://twitter.com/PROSAF_Sueezzy
Webpage: http://www.prosaf.net (UP & RUNNING)
Telephone: 1-758-724-9991(sue) 1-758-723-6466(vel)