After the election, I have experience overwhelming emotions with my clients because of this question: “Why is half the nation OK with sexual assault?”
In 1996, straight out of the graduate school, I made working with sexual assault survivors my career goal. It’s been 20 years and this goal has extended to survivors of family violence and PTSD, Depression, and Anxiety issues. Twenty years ago, this topic was a taboo in Taiwan and in many areas of the US. I seized every opportunity I have to educate people about the myth of the sexual assault and the impact of the sexual assault on the survivors.
This week, one after another, my clients with the trauma of sexual assault and bully walking into my office asked me this question: “Why is half the nation OK with the sexual assault and bully?”
So, it might be suicidal to even post this topic here but I am vowed to advocated for these survivors 20 years ago. This is not the post about who won the election. This is the post for these survivors after the election.
#1: Many survivors are triggered by Mr. Trump’s video, audio, and comments. “When I heard his voice saying grab the pussy, all the memories of how abuse started rushing into my brain.”
You might be able to move on but many people are triggered by the way he talked, he answered the questions, he called the names of women, and/or he mocked/denied the victims coming forward.
Many survivors never shared the sexual assault to anyone but now they are triggered. The fear is real.
#2: Don’t tell them to “move on” or “it’s going to be OK.”
Life hasn’t been OK for many of them because of the sexual assault. If they can get over it, they wouldn’t be this scared now. They wouldn’t have the PTSD, depression, and anxiety now.
In the past, the perpetrators to these victims were often someone they know, in the higher power (physically, financially, emotionally, etc) than the victims. So, it doesn’t work to tell the survivors to “move on,” “trust the system,” or “it’s going to be OK.”
“The US sent the biggest bully into the most powerful position in the world! How is it going to be OK?”
Telling the survivors these things further trigger more fear and powerless.
The survivors are already feeling powerless a lot of times in their lives. When they feel that they cannot move on or be OK with the current situation, it further increases a sense of powerless.
# 3: “I am not OK with the sexual assault, violence, and bully. I will do everything I can to advocate this idea.”
I asked people this question, if your loved ones, your mom/dad, daughter/son, wife/husband, girlfriend/boyfriend, niece/nephew, etc, come home today and tell you:
“My boss grabbed my private areas today. I am scared to go to work tomorrow. What should I do?”
What would you do?
A. “It’s OK. I am sure it’s just a misunderstanding. Don’t be afraid.”
B. “I am sorry. It’s horrible. Tell me more about this.”
If your answer is B, why do you have to wait until this happened to your loved one to feel these survivors’ pain now? It’s already happening and these people are scared. Do something for them.
If your answer is A, you need to ask yourself: “why would my loved one tell me this if he/she has already felt the fear? Why would he/she tell me this knowing I would deny her feeling?”
No one is going to make up a situation to get ridiculed by their own loved ones. So, take their accusation seriously and help them to do something about it.
#4: “I am here for you every step of the way. However, if you are this upset, I think you might need to seek professional help. Let me help you with this.”
I plead to you, when someone is telling you he/she is scared, try to understand and try to know the reasons behind it. They all have a valid reason that is beyond who won the election. Only by doing so, we can help these survivors move on and see a sense of hope from their trauma.
If they consistently experiencing crying, fear, nightmares, anxiety, and/or flashbacks, encourage them to seek the professional help.
I will be gladly to answer any questions regarding the trauma, PTSD, and depression. All the hate comments will be deleted. This is not the place to debate who should win the election but to extend our compassion and love to people who are suffering due to this election.
Extended Reading about Sexual Assault and Rape