I found the article–link above–nearly a year ago. In a nutshell, it says that reliving a traumatic experience–in this case, sexual assault–actually promotes healing from the trauma of the event. It is a surprising that such a thing would be true but, apparently, using the same methods with sexual assault victims that are used with combat veterans suffering from PTSD seems to work. According to research, 30 percent more sexually abused teens were no longer diagnosed with PTSD than those who had simply supportive counseling. If I read the article correctly, it appears that sexual assault victims are able to desensitize themselves by repeatedly telling the stories of their experiences, then visit safe places that remind them of the trauma, or take part in safe activities they’d avoided because of painful reminders. They get used to thinking and talking about the memory and realizing that it was in the past, that it’s not in the present anymore, according to University of Pennsylvania psychologist Edna Foa, who authored the study noted in the article. In other words, the victims gain a new perspective that reminds them that the event is in the past. It appears that the key here is being able to tell their stories in a non-judgmental environment as well as gaining the “I’ve beat it!” attitude.
I think it’s important that such victims–or even we ourselves–don’t give our autonomy and power to a traumatic even. If we give power to an event that has affected us in a negative manner, then we will be defeated by that event. And defeat can lead to hopelessness, which could then become a real problem when it comes to suicide risk. Instead, accept the event for what it is–something negative or painful that happened but is now in the past. Relegate it to the past and work on making the present and the future better and brighter.
Peace to all,