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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Parenting With Mental Illness: Tia Hollowood (PTSD)

Parenting with PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

It’s that time of the month again.. Meaning, time for the Parenting with Mental Illness feature interview. As we move forward through sexual assault awareness month on Betty’s Battleground, I’d like to introduce you to Tia Hollowood, who is my co-author/predecessor at Trauma! A PTSD Blog on HealthyPlace. She’s written some really important and interesting articles on life after childhood sexual assault on HealthyPlace like “I Wanted My Abuser To Suffer,” “Why Can Childhood Sexual Assault Lead To Promiscuity?” and “Living With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder During Pregnancy,” among many others. Tia Hollowood is also both a birth mother and a foster mother. In this interview she provides insight to both experiences, which is something new we have not explored here before.

Today, I have the honor of publishing an interview with her about parenting with PTSD. I hope you enjoy her open honesty and quiet, powerfully direct way of communicating. I certainly do! One thing is different this time: I’ll be publishing all of her answers here. I’m just too terrible at keeping up with the newsletter, obviously. I still owe you the bonus answers from the past three months so you’ll get those, but from here on out these surveys will be published complete. You should still subscribe though, because I have some pretty amazing surprises coming up and you don’t want to miss them!

I also want to briefly draw attention to a past featured mama and guest writer here: Brandi Kennedy. Brandi’s beautiful family is struggling right now, and as a result she’s holding a fundraiser to try to make ends meet. I’ve been in that place before and it’s not a great feeling. If you know what it feels like to be unable to provide everything your family needs on your own, despite trying your best, I hope you’ll consider making even a modest donation to her fundraiser.

Anyway, to Tia Hollowood…

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How To Help A Loved One Who Has Been Raped

Learn about the aftermath of rape on bettysbattleground.com

The first time I was a victim of rape, I didn’t immediately realize I had been raped. I was sixteen, a virgin, and in love. I had no idea that I was still just a child, or that my boyfriend, a man seven years my senior, had been grooming me since I was fourteen years old. Or that he was also doing it to another girl, only thirteen.  Later in our relationship, he would rape me in much more obvious ways; under knife point or threat of violence. But that very first time, on a quiet day in June, I thought it was love. It didn’t matter that it was hurried and painful, or that he seemed to lose interest in me just moments later. It didn’t matter that we were in a cluttered garage, or that a thirteen year old homeless girl would soon rap the door demanding to see him. I thought it was sex, I thought he loved me, and I thought everything was okay.

Rape changed me. There’s no way to fully describe this change without experiencing it. I hope it’s something you, dear reader, never understand. But if you already do, if you’ve been raped, then you know what I mean. No matter how young or old you are, it ruins a place of sacred innocence within you. It exposes you.

This month, November, I am dedicating my blog to rape awareness.

We will be hearing from people who have been raped, and from their loved ones, about how the experience has affected them. If you’re interested in being included in this series, there are still a couple spots available; please see my guest post info page for more details and then shoot me an e-mail.

This first post describes how surviving rape has affected my mental health, followed by ways you can help someone in your life if you learn he or she has been raped. Please note that I have chosen to use she/her pronouns to reflect my own experience and also the fact that more women than men are raped; however, please understand that I believe male and gender-fluid rape victims absolutely deserve the same level of care, and that these tips apply across gender.

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