Survivor by Bright Creation Photography
Did you know that some studies show that victims of sexual assault are significantly likely to be victimized a second time? There is one study that showed that 2/3rds of the sexual assault victims surveyed were victimized more than once.
Unfortunately, I fall in to those statistics.
In addition to the abuse by my step-father, I was also sexually abused by 2 other people as a child. There are very few people that know the stories behind those events. There were also a couple of what I would term “near misses” where something might have happened but I was able to get out of the situation.
One night in college, there was also a situation that almost led to me being raped. Thankfully, I was sober and the guy wasn’t which allowed me to remove myself without it going further than it did.
There are lots of reasons for why victims are revictimized. Some studies theorize that it’s a combination of PTSD symptoms leaving women vulnerable and predatory men being able to sense women who are particularly vulnerable. In many cases, alcohol has quite a bit to do with women putting themselves in vulnerable situations — especially women who are survivors of child sexual abuse but then are using alcohol in their teens and early 20s to cope with PTSD.
I know that for me and the near-miss in college, was largely due to PTSD. I had been going through a rough time during my freshman year and left myself vulnerable. That night was a valuable learning lesson for me. I was on a campus where a lot of the social activities involved alcohol. Not only is this common on most college campuses, but there really isn’t a whole lot to do in Northern Wisconsin. That night taught me that I needed to avoid those situations as much as possible.
One of the reasons why I’ve always been fairly open about being a survivor of abuse is because I felt so alone when the abuse was happening and for years after. If one person reads this blog and feels less alone because of it, it’s worth it to get my story out there. There are two things that I really believe can help those with abuse-related PTSD: therapy — especially talk therapy — and knowing that you are not alone in the struggle to overcome.