Tales From The Other Side: Self-Care While Dating A Sexual Assault Survivor

August Pfizenmayer comes on bettysbattleground.com to discuss self-care while dating a male sexual assault survivor

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.comToday’s guest writer, August Pfizenmayer, appeared on this blog in the past–she wrote a post about her experience of being diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder while her partner at the time was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. If you haven’t read “A Neurochemical Romance,” yet, I urge you to do so. It is beautifully written, candid, and an extremely important contribution to the mental illness discussion.

Today, August returns during Sexual Assault Awareness Month on Betty’s Battleground to discuss a different aspect of being in a relationship with someone who has PTSD from sexual assault. That relationship has now ended (amicably, I’m  told), and she is here to talk about some of the difficulties she experienced dating a male survivor of sexual assault, and how to overcome them.

If you follow my blog, you know that I enjoy posting perspectives that differ from mine. Which is not to say August’s differs wholly from mine–I’m actually planning to write another post with a similar general theme myself. But one thing I feel I should note is that I have a slightly different perspective (not just from August, but from many people) about our responsibility to the people we love who have mental illnesses.

While I agree that having a mental illness does not give you a free pass to act like an ass, I don’t think we have an inherent right to walk away from people because they are struggling, or because we find their symptoms difficult. I do think we have a right to walk away if someone is abusive, and serial cheating counts–as do other emotionally and physically abusive behaviors. But I wanted to note that I don’t fully agree with some of the statements she makes in this piece, though I do value her opinion and agree with much of it–and certainly believe she has a right to share it.

August Pfizenmayer is the founder of Survival is a Talent. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media manager. A story about her life with schizophrenia has been published in the next volume of The i’Mpossible Project. It is available for pre-order and will be in stores November 2017. You can connect with her on LinkedInTwitterInstagramFacebook, and her personal blog.

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(Reblog) I Loved The Man Who Abused Me

Read Elizabeth Brico on The Establishment

The memory that haunts me most is not being strangled until my body gave way to seizure. Nor is it the three days I spent being beaten in a motel by my lover. It’s not the day he raped me on the bed next to our three-month-old son, or the time he punched my head again and again into the cement floor of a garage until I had to prop myself against him, his arms wrapped around my waist, just to get home. These memories hold their share of terror, but the one that haunts me most begins with a bicycle.

Read The Rest Of The Article By Elizabeth Brico On The Establishment

Sexual Violence Lasts Far Longer Than The Act

The trauma of sexual assault doesn't end with the attack. Learn more on bettysbattleground.com

I am shocked when I hear people telling sexual assault survivors to “just get over it.”

I don’t understand how someone can categorize sexual assault as a singular act; as though it is just the event that happened without any further reach. Because nothing that has to do with sex is a singular, inconsequential event. Our society, and frankly our biology, has made sure of that. When the sexual event is violent–and by violent I mean non-consensual, not just forceful–it is a violation of our bodily autonomy. That alone is bad enough, but for women it is much more complicated.

This world is so confused about how it feels about female sexuality. Female sexuality is at once a symbol of purity and rejuvenation, while also a source of sin, temptation, and destruction. Historically (and even today in some especially draconian parts of the world) women and girls have been killed for being raped, their value so diminished by the symbolic theft of their purity they are believed to no longer deserve to want to live. Even where these practices are no longer in place, we are still bound to that history. Sexual violation becomes a way of robbing women and girls not just of autonomy for a moment in time, but also of worth for her lifetime–at least that is the intended effect. This is why wartime rape is so prevalent; women’s bodies are more than just bodies. They are symbols.

As much as we try, our bodies can’t just be our own.

Beyond the psycho-social implications of male-female sexual violence, there is also the biological dangers that accompany rape–pregnancy, which has been politicized due to the abortion debate; disease, which takes months to detect, so that even rape victims who walk away biologically unscathed must go through a period of anxiety. Often there are other injuries that can take weeks or months to heal; especially rough attacks can lead to chronic pain. Even in instances where there is no physical injury whatsoever, however, the psychological pain persists.

Sexual assault has such a long legacy of torment and shame in our culture that I truly cannot understand how anyone with half a brain could ever tell someone to “just get over it.” But they do. It happens.

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