Sexuality: How To Put Sexual Abuse Behind You

This article from an anonymous lady.
So, as someone who has experienced sexual abuse, I can attest to how tough life in the aftermath. I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and whole slew of other disorders. I wake up screaming sometimes. I jump at the gaze of anyone. Yet, there is the struggle with self mutilation, guilt, fear, and paranoia.
How does one deal with this? Alissa Bowman writes, “Own your past. You don’t have to relive the experience, but you do need to acknowledge that it has shaped you. What symptoms still linger? Do you still have nightmares? Do you freeze up during sex? Are you uncomfortable being naked?” You have to acknowledge the experience. Own it. I was raped. I was molested. I was assaulted. Say it aloud. Write it. Own that it happened to you and that you are a survivor of truly, truly scary stuff.
But, then, know that it does not define you. This is something I struggle with now that I am working on my experience with sexual abuse. “Oh my god, I don’t want this to define me,” but the truth is, it kind of does, does it not? It was something major that happened to me, and to you or to your loved ones. Remember this, though, you have been through other things. I, for instance, identify as a spiritual person. I identify as a dress lover, a short person, a girl with pixie hair, and a lover of color. See? There is much more to you than this/these experience(s).
I second Bowman’s advice to “Tell someone else about it. The first person I told about Mr. Virginity Thief was my husband, who was still my boyfriend at the time. He said, “That guy was an asshole.” The words were a balm to my entire being. I needed to hear someone else say those words so I could believe them myself.”
Sometimes, you need to hear yourself say it aloud to acknowledge the existence of this dark moment of your life. It gives you power to say it to someone. I speak about these instances with my family, to my therapist, to my trauma specialist, and it feels liberating to hear, “Well, they did something awful.”
And, sometimes, we shy away from talking about sex, but it is still important to say this to someone. Share it with someone you trust. It does not have to be a therapist.
My warning about this is that you have to make sure you say this to someone who will not make this about them. Some people have yelled at me, saying, “Why did you not tell me this sooner,” which is, quite frankly, ridiculous. This is about you, not them. And so, I don’t want to discourage you from telling people, just, be careful who you talk to.
Finally, Bowman writes, “Find your inner power. Once you know what it feels like to be completely powerless, you never forget it. Yet, avoiding scary situations doesn’t reduce that sense of powerlessness. Avoidance does the opposite. It makes you feel even weaker.” Find the strength to face it head on and acknowledge that you are being powerful for facing it.