TW: Sexual Violence
If you guys don’t mind, I’m going to get a little personal with this one, because this topic is very near and dear to my heart. Before I get there, let’s start with the facts.
Did you know that—
Over 40% of women in the US have encountered sexual violence.
Nearly 80% of female sexual assault victims experience their first assault before the age of 25.
Around 20% of American males have been the victim of sexual violence.
A quarter of male victims of sexual assault were under 10 years of age.
As a survivor myself, I’ve seen how sexual trauma can take control of your life. I refused to let anyone get too close. I carried shame and guilt, because somehow I believed it was all my fault. And no matter how badly I wanted love and intimacy in my life, I pushed it away under the guise of protection, but in reality it was just too risky and I was terrified.
Intimacy required vulnerability, and vulnerability required putting my guard down. And even though I’d taken strides in carefully letting my wall come down little by little, and practicing vulnerability when I felt safe, the fear of being betrayed, abused, violated and disregarded always knew how to show up, anyway.
While the conversation of sexual violence may seem skewed to one side, the fact of the matter is many of us, regardless of gender or sexual preference, have experienced this type of trauma. And whether we like to acknowledge it or not, its effects can prevent us from experiencing true intimacy. And what is a life without intimacy?
That’s why I was so happy when Dr. Kate Balestrieri and I decided on “Developing Hot and Healthy Intimacy After Sexual Trauma” as this month’s Return to Self webinar topic. It’s such a necessary conversation. I’m tired of being scared, and I know I’m not alone in that sentiment.
So join me, won’t you? Dec. 13 on Zoom. Let’s start to let go of the hurt, so we can remember how to let in the love.