Its Okay Not To Be Okay
The effects of sexual abuse are mind-altering and having to deal with it is a struggle.
As individuals, we all have different ways of coping and dealing with things, and the same narrative applies to sexual assault survivors. Some persons might lash out at the people around them while others would detach themselves from reality and go into isolation, others might even adopt bad coping mechanisms like substance abuse and eating disorders. Survivors of sexual assault find themselves likely with high chances of suffering from mental health issues.
We find ourselves in a society that does not pay attention to the importance of mental health. Everyone is satisfied as long as they eating and breathing well and never take out time to actually evaluate their mental health and even bother to find out if the person next to them is doing fine, hence you have a lot of people answering “I’m fine” to the question how are you when deep down they are not and are screaming for help.
Why? you might ask can’t they just come up and say I’m not fine, I need help, why can’t they speak up? Well, it’s because as a society we’ve convinced ourselves that it’s okay to be selfish and not pay attention to the next person, Which would leave survivors of sexual assault not dealing with their fears and not accepting the fact that it is okay not to be okay. Here are some ways as a survivor you can cope with sexual assault trauma
- Talk to a mental health professional: A problem shared with the right person is a problem half solved. It’s half-solved because it is the right step towards overcoming the traumatic experience and like all steps, you have to keep climbing and keep pushing till you can overcome your fears.
- Adapt the right coping strategies: This could mean exercising daily or carrying out activities like meditations to calm your mind. You can also try learning a skill. Not only would this build you, but it would also help you to not dwell on the traumatic experiences.
Times are changing though, even though we are still a society that is predominantly nonchalant to mental health, we now have organizations that are breaking barriers and giving people safe spaces to talk about how they feel without being judged. But hey you too can help someone dealing with sexual assault trauma, here’s how you can help:
- Do not be judgemental: Understand that when a sexual assault victim decides to open up to you, you should in no way try to judge them for what they’ve been true, keep your opinions.
- Do not victim-blame: Victim blaming is an act of holding the victim responsible for any harm or evil that befell them. Victim blaming is wrong and can trigger Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Allow a victim to be a victim and never accuse them to be the cause of their ordeal
- Just Listen: You don’t have to say anything sometimes when dealing with sexual assault victims. Just listen to them tell their story because sometimes a listening ear is all that they need.