Afraid Of Men: The Reality For A Sexual Assault Survivor
No one tells you how triggering motherhood can be.
Knowing you have to protect a defenseless, small being who is completely dependant on you rings a bell when you are a trauma survivor. We spend our lives wanting to be safe, then suddenly we become protectors.
It’s not always the case, but usually, a child who has experienced trauma and abuse did not have anyone to protect them. So when they become protectors as adults, it can be extremely triggering – something that most survivors of childhood abuse are not warned about. I certainly wasn’t.
What it’s like to be afraid of an attack
Ever since men started to sexualize me during my teen years, and a relative sexually abused me, I have been frightened of men. I know not all men are the same – my father, my son and my fiancé are some of the best people I know and I am grateful to have these three wonderful guys in my life – but if I am alone with a man I don’t know, my PTSD kicks into overdrive and I am ready to defend myself – just in case. When a relative – someone you’re meant to trust – lets you down and hurts you in an unimaginable way, you see everyone else in a different light. If you can’t trust your own relative, then who can you trust?
Suddenly, all men are capable of anything.
I feel guilty for feeling afraid. I know not all men are the same. I know not all men are predators. But predators don’t wear signs saying “I’m dangerous” or “I’m going to hurt you.” Therefore I am on high alert in certain situations and I cannot switch it off.
I understand that this is a difficult read for many – but you have to know what it’s like for us. When we talk about our experiences, we create safe spaces for others to come forward and speak their truth, and we help encourage a better community of understanding supporters. When people catch a glimpse of what life is like for sexual abuse survivors, they are less likely to promote toxic and dangerous ideas that can harm survivors – such as not believing…