I end this Serious Topic Series with what might be the most important topic of all:
While this discusses healing after a physical and sexual assault, the strategies here, merely a beginning of ideas, can help with healing in many areas of our lives, including sexual shame.
Setting Shame Aside
Please, please, if you get hurt or sexually assaulted, please do not fall into a shame place. You did NOT deserve it. You are not being punished for being a “pervert.” You did not ask for it. God is not punishing you for your “deviant” behavior.
You are a human being fulfilling deep and innate desires that this stupid society finds negative/a sin/abhorrent. Your needs are NORMAL and perfect for you. Meeting them is where the challenge is.
Be gentle with your Self. Be kind to your heart. Love the you that you are, even if you are not like anyone else you know. I promise… I promise… you are not the only one. Nor are you alone.
If you are able to tap into online Support Groups (including on Facebook, where you will find Secret & Closed groups that usually vet for entrance), they are a really wonderful way to see how not-alone you are. To find others in similar situations can go a long way to reassure you are not crazy, especially when you feel lonely.
Search terms you might use include:
- Sexual assault in men
- Adult male sexual assault
- Physical assault on men
- Transgender violence
- LGBT violence
- Stranger sexual assault against men
In each of those searches, you will find new words and terms to research and the organizations will all have links to help guide you, too. Most organizations have online support, either through private groups or 24/7 chat lines.
Even if you do not consider yourself gay, bisexual, transgender or any variation of those, these resources are for you. They are geared towards men and the sexual orientation or gender identification is not the first aspect that you are facing. Do not overlook any resource you find.
If you’ve been hurt physically or sexually, you really might consider talking to someone to see all the different pieces parts involved in emotional healing after an assault. Therapy is a safe space where you can be you without judgment, learning resources and skills to be able to maneuver life after being attacked. I find LGBTQ Centers have referrals to the least judgmental and most inclusive therapists around, even if you do not use any of those terms to identify yourself.
I’ve been reading a lot and then in my experience as well, most men seem more comfortable talking to female therapists about a sexual and physical assault by a man. It doesn’t even matter why; just “feel” who you would be more comfortable with and move from there.
I know people, men especially, are wary of therapy, but I am here to tell you that SO many go to therapy now that your work or insurance will not even bat an eye about you going. You NEVER have to give a reason, but if you feel you need to say a reason, “Stress” is the perfect answer. It’s true and common and benign enough not to raise red flags. Even your spouse should find the reason common enough not to pressure you about it.
Types of Help
Listen to me.
If you feel you are going to hurt yourself or someone else, STOP! And call 911 PLEASE!
We need you here. Please get help NOW.
There are too many types of therapy to even begin listing. What I want to tell you is the kinds are so various that if you start one and it does not resonate (or you hate it), try another. It can take 2, 3, 4 therapist tries before finding a good fit. Do not let that keep you from beginning the search. Research types of therapy and see if anything looks good and then move to finding a therapist, either through insurance or, if you need it, sliding scale offices.
I will warn you there are therapist scammers online!! Do NOT pay an online therapist unless your insurance pays for it.
Also, be wary of Hypnosis courses, to “Hypnotize yourself back to health.” Scam. Scam. Scam. Hypnosis can work when healing, but it should be with an in-person therapist that can keep you safe.
One last point about therapy and therapists: If it feels wrong, yucky, awful, or just plain weird, GET OUT! Therapy can be challenging, make you feel uncomfortable, even. But “wrong” is a different thing entirely. Trust your instincts!
While you might not want to have assault-healing books in your home, you can always read on your tablet or phone. Healing books abound for any situation. Google and then get yourself into a book group to read and read and read.
If you do not have money for online reading, the library has computers and books and magazines for you to use, too.
I feel compelled to say a few words about seeking help from religious institutions.
Know Your Place of Worship!
If your church/temple/mosque is judgmental and damning of differences in sexuality, please be careful talking to anyone there. There are churches and temples and a very few mosques that can be helpful in sexually stressful lives. Make sure you will have complete confidence kept with your situation. Do not feel forced to tell anyone you do not choose to tell.
I also really encourage you to look into Mindfulness Meditation. Almost any therapist worth their salt teaches Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Relief, and there are piles of studies showing its benefits. You do not need to sit in a lotus position on a puffy pillow for an hour. 2 minutes at a red light does amazing things for your psyche.
You can find a great deal of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation exercises on YouTube. There are also tons of Apps that aid in relaxation through meditation. Please explore.
I know this was a LOT of information and not the most fun to read, but I hope you are able to see how much I care about you all. More than I can express even here in writing. Please let me know if I can help in any way if you are in any of these awful situations.