“I really don’t feel like I have any say in the situation” Tonja said. She had been living with a “purchaser” for the last 5 years. They had 2 children together and although he remained sexually abusive and had multiple affairs, Tonja believed she was “stuck”.

“There is no way I can share that now.” 23-year-old Megan told us about a rape that happened to her and some of her friends at a party in high school. Megan had just started therapy after a series of failed relationships, when she talked about the incident for the first time.

“I had difficulty remembering the details about the assault in the beginning. The information I gave the nurse wasn’t all of what happened, but I didn’t know it at the time, or I felt glazed-over or something. Then, when I was interviewed by the police I gave more details, but it was several weeks later before I remembered some specifics about what happened that night.”

“What is wrong with me?!” the 35-year-old mother, Heather, exclaimed as she cried and raged on about the abuse that had happened to her daughter. Sitting across her in the group room was 23-year-old survivor, Maria, who quickly followed with similar emotions, sobbing the words, “I feel the same way! I feel crazy! There is something seriously wrong with me! Why do we feel this way?!”

“I just need to get a job and get my life back” she said as she wiped the tears from her eyes. Her belief was that if she ‘just moved on’ the effects from the trauma would just go away. Well, that is partially true, I suppose. In time, some of the immediate effects will fade into the past, but they won’t just go away or disappear as if nothing ever happened. A traumatic event settles deep within a victim, and it takes time to heal as well as to recognize the effects of the trauma.

I am reminded of a story I read a few years ago about the ex-Stanford swimmer, Brock Turner, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. He was seen assaulting the woman by two men who were biking past the scene. They intervened and held him down until the police arrived.

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