“I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice. Or amnesia. Anything, just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. Did he rape my head, too?”
In the coming of age novel by Laurie Halse Anderson, a young girl who has been raped by a senior at a school party decides to stay mum about her ordeal as she fears being ostracized by her peers. She willingly suffers taunts from friends, who believed that she called 911 to get them penalized for the party. No one apart from her knew what had truly happened on that fateful night that caused her to dial law enforcement agencies for help.
Rapes in high school are common and many believe that they would be stigmatized and branded therefore, choose not to disclose the incident to the authorities.
Paige VanZant, the UFC women’s flyweight fighter, suffered a similar traumatic incident. She was raped in high school by boys who first got her drunk in a party and then assaulted her when she could no longer defend herself. Vanzant chose to speak up and help those who have been in a similar situation. In her new book, “Rise: Surviving the Fight of My Life,” she decided to break free from the feelings inside hoping to inspire other victims of sexual assault and bullying. “A huge reason I’m getting the book out is because I want to be an advocate for anti-bullying, I want to be an advocate,” she said.
The book takes readers through her life ever since, how she was vilified and bullied by classmates who nicknamed her Paige Slutton and spread rumors that she had consensual sex. On one occasion, during Christmas, she came home to find condoms hung on the trees near her house. But she fought back. Though she admitted that she had been mortified by what had happened to her 10 years ago, the new woman is willing to talk.
Rape is mortifying
As per estimates, one American is sexually assaulted every 98 seconds, with half of the victims aged 18-34. Women aged 16-19 are nearly four times more at risk of attempted rape, rape or sexual assault. Sadly, one in six American women has suffered from attempted or completed rape at some stage in her life.
Rape or sexual abuse is not just about physical abuse; it has an overwhelmingly psychological aspect as well. Whether the victim is a man or a woman, the experience is harrowing. More so, because there is still a huge stigma attached to rape. Instead of empathizing with the victim, it is common to bully and victimize him/her. As a result, the person who has undergone the ordeal believes it is better to relegate the memory to some remote corner of his or her subconscious than talk about it.
Seeking help is important
Research shows that women are more sensitive to their environment and the triggers related to a traumatic experience like rape. Unfortunately, they are also less likely to seek a remedy. If one continues to suffer in silence, it can be detrimental to his or her psychological health. Such individuals may find it difficult to make new friends and socialize, stay in job for long, enter into a relationship or maintain cordial relationship with family members. To overcome trauma, it is essential to get professional help at the earliest.
A leading behavioral health treatment provider, Sovereign Health provides unique trauma and recovery program for women in a safe and supportive environment. For more information on our holistic trauma treatment and addiction treatment for women, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with a representative.
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