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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Healing Words: Surviving My “Evil Stepmother”

Read about Ana's experiences growing in an abusive household on bettysbattleground.com

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.comHello, happy Friday!

As I promised earlier this week, I have a very special guest post from one of my favorite bloggers, Ana De-Jesus. Ana’s blog is Faded Spring, where she melds her fashion blogging and modeling with feminism, trauma narratives, and other socially conscious issues. It’s wonderful! Hop on over and take a look when you’re done here.

Ana’s story is difficult to read. We don’t like to hear about children experiencing abuse and neglect. In some ways, it becomes even more difficult to learn it’s at the hands of a stepmother or stepfather, because this is a person who was welcomed into the family and instead chose to tear it apart. Even though it’s a hard read, I ask you to read through to the end. Too often we hear the fairy-tales about the beautiful princess and the evil stepmother. We brush that early plight aside as a necessary part of the princess’ story, and we watch her move forward into a romantic happily-ever-after. The true story is far more nuanced. Ana survived her own version of the “evil stepmother,” and she certainly fits the mold of a beautiful ingenue, but she is also now living with aftermath that involves mental illness, continued strife, and deep strength and courage.

Read my half of the guest post exchange here.

Learn about Ana's experiences growing up with an abusive stepmother on bettysbattleground.comAna De-Jesus is a Multi Award Winning Blogger with a BA in English Literature, English Language and Education and Social Sciences. Her Blog Faded Spring celebrated its two year anniversary in August and after working in marketing and promotions, she now blogs full time, alongside running two successful social media groups for bloggers. Ana’s blog has been nominated for a total of 7 awards and was ranked by Feedspot as 33rd in the Top 50 Best Blogs and Websites in the UK. She is also a Freelance Journalist and has an extensive writing portfolio covering media outlets like magazines, websites, newspapers and more. Ana’s blog has enabled her to collaborate with huge brands like Public Desire, Pretty Little Thing and River Island and she is passionate about having frank and open discussions centered on mental health, abuse, bullying, sex and dating. When she isn’t blogging, Ana can be found reading historical fiction, watching Rick and Morty and hanging out with friends.

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