“Just like the lotus we too have the ability to rise from the mud, bloom out of the darkness and radiate into the world.”
During the last year I´ve had the privilege of leading the first support group for survivors of sexual trauma at Sinews. It was an intense and enriching experience that deeply touched me and I will try to share a little bit of the magical experience with you through this article. I will not only use my own words but also those of some of the participants who sent me their own written accounts of how they experienced the group. I hope that those reading this article will get a feel for what we shared every Tuesday evening.
To start off, I think it would be helpful to really understand what sexual abuse or trauma is, this way we can understand to whom this group is directed. Sexual abuse refers to a sexual act forced upon a woman, man or child without their consent, it is an act of violence that the perpetrator uses against someone they perceive as weaker than them with the goal of obtaining pleasure by controlling and humiliating the victim.
Relevant data on sexual violence from the National Sexual Violence Resource Centre in the U.S.A shows that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their life. The number of men who suffer sexual aggressions increases to 1 in 16 when talking about the student population. Furthermore, 1 in 10 women has been raped by an intimate partner and 8 out of 10 victims knew the person that sexually assaulted them.
This statistical information is relevant for two main reasons: 1. It reveals that sexual abuse isn´t something exceptional that happens to an unfortunate few, in reality it is a social problem that occurs with frighteningly high frequency. 2. It serves to debunk some of the myths that we tell ourselves about sexual abuse and sexual aggression.