This blog is fictional in nature, based on the stories and the references in the books from Leichelle. Though from time to time I will post current events and discussions. All material used is referenced to its respective authors and owners. The opinions, views, and comments expressed on this site are of the individual's making them. The fictional content might not reflect the views of Leichelle.
Whether in reports from
colleges across the country, on social media or in a speech given by
activist and actress Emma Watson before the United Nations General
Assembly, sexual assault is a topic receiving more attention than ever.
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 1 in 5
women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives, and 1
in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.
Although the act of sexual assault is traumatic, a victim’s
reluctance to report the assault can perpetuate their feelings of shame,
embarrassment, confusion and unjustified guilt or responsibility. In
fact, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that 63 percent of rapes
are not reported for these very reasons. Too often, victims fear the
assault was not “serious enough,” that they won’t be believed or that
the process of reporting will be too difficult.
Jennifer McWaters, PsyD, a psychologist with the Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital Adolescent Partial Hospitalization Program,
took the time to answer some questions about this challenging topic so
that young women and men become aware of how to care for themselves and
others in their communities. How should we talk to teens and young adults about sexual assault?
think that being transparent and honest about the prevalence of sexual
assault is important, so that teens and young adults are aware of how to
both protect themselves and their friends. Empower them to reach out
for help when it does happen, talk through what they could do, and
identify whom they could go to for support if they were to experience
sexual assault or learn of an assault. Many schools and colleges have
designated staff members that are trained on how to counsel a student
through that process. What might be the signs of someone who was assaulted?
person responds differently to trauma; some might begin to isolate
more, avoid class or work, or exhibit signs of depression or anxiety.
For others, there might be increased irritability or agitation. It is
not uncommon for the victim to experience sleep problems or other issues
with daily functioning. What are some of the issues victims will face post-assault?
is not uncommon for victims to feel unjustified guilt or a sense of
responsibility for the perpetrator’s actions, particularly if the
victimizer is an acquaintance or if substance use was involved. Some
victims may experience flashbacks or memories of the incident, which can
be addressed in psychotherapy and, sometimes, in conjunction with
medication. How can friends and loved ones help a victim of sexual assault?
available as a support, but also respect the person’s boundaries and
whether or not they feel ready to talk about how they are doing. Asking,
“What can I do to support you right now?” is a great place to start. It
is best to not ask for the details of the assault, and, most
importantly, to not blame the victim for what happened. Express your
concern, offer support and connect them to resources and a trusted
professional who can navigate how to best process the actual assault
with the person.