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Thursday, 13 November 2008

Suffering After Sexual Assault

Written by  Sara Eisen

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Q

Last October, I was sexually assaulted by a guy at school. I haven't told my parents, but I have told a few of my friends, who have been very supportive. For a while, I thought I had gotten over what had happened... But then I started dating someone, and I can't stand it when he touches me or tries to kiss me. After only dating for a week, he's pressuring me to have sex. I feel dirty and disgusting. I try to "lighten up", but I still feel horrible. I get angry at the guy I'm dating. In fact, I don't think I can fall in love or trust any guy. I feel like so alone.... Should I tell my parents? What should I tell my boyfriend? HELP!!!!

A

I am so, so sorry for what you've had to endure. It is terribly unfair that so many young women suffer through rape and sexual assault, and even more unfair that they feel that they must suffer in silence, and then "lighten up", as if nothing ever happened.

First: You really should tell your parents. You need adult support, beyond the wonderful help your friends have given you. I am sure they would want to be there for you, and it will be a big load off your shoulders to have this out in the open. Remember: You are not alone and you did nothing wrong; your attacker is the only criminal here.

Next: Do not pass go, do not collect $200: REPORT HIM!!!! I suggest you do so now, before he hurts someone else; Sex offenders are notorious for their repeat performances. You deserve for him to be put away in prison, where he deserves to be. (See Crisis Center / Rape and Sexual Abuse.)

Second: It would be best if you let yourself heal before getting involved in a sexual relationship. The fact that your boyfriend is applying such heavy pressure on you to have sex (and so soon) indicates that he is exactly the kind of guy to avoid - especially while sex is still understandably such a painful subject for you. So I would break it off; tell him you are not ready for the kind of relationship he wants.

Third: You need to get professional help. Victims of sexual assault take a long, long time to heal, and they can't go it alone. With time and guidance, you can learn ways to cope with the stresses of love, sex and relationships, and can even learn to trust again. To do this, though, you are going to have to work through a lot of anger, fear and shame, all of which are normal reactions to what you've been through.

Good Luck.

- Sara

Last modified on Friday, 11 February 2011 08:55
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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen

Sara is a journalist and editor.

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