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How Do I Know if I Have Been Sexually Abused?

“Hello there! I’m here to provide you with a bit of information on how you can identify whether you have been sexually violated. I would like to remind you that suggestions on this post should not be taken as medical advice, legal advice, therapy, etc. or as a one-size-fits-all approach.  Keep in mind that every individual’s journey of  experiencing and navigating through stress or trauma is distinctive because you are one of a kind and no person is truly like you!  Experiencing abuse in any form is NOT OKAY, but what you are experiencing as a result of abuse is valid.  Please know that healing is not a formula and is not for anyone else to define for you. You do you, and you follow all that you need to follow, to help yourself. If you need additional resources or just someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to Imaara Foundation."

Have I been sexually violated?

This is not an easy question to ask or to answer, especially when it involves looking into the past to understand, internalize and put a term of reference to what happened to a person.  

Some of the things to assess about the incident would be:

1. To determine, as closely as possible, what exactly did happen. This can be triggering, emotionally draining and exacting. It is a good idea to do this when you are in a safe environment, and support in any form that you deem best fitting to your needs is within reach. 

2. Make notes if you think it will help. 

3. If the question is one of assault having happened in the present, a medical examination and evidence collection (saving clothing, not bathing, etc.,) can be useful steps to take. 

4. To determine, as closely as possible, (especially if it is an incident that happened in the past) how that incident impacts you in the present. Sometimes, unhealed / unaddressed incidents of trauma one faces as in the past can continue to affect one, physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. 5. For many people, acknowledging what happened is the first attempt towards healing, and therefore, can be a significant step for many to take. 

6. There is no pressure: 

  1. to come out with your story

  2. come out with your identity

  3. to press charges

  4. to name the perpetrator or

  5. to even feel the need to go public with your story. 

7. That said, should you wish to come out with or without your identity, to press charges, to name the perpetrator or to go public with your story, the decision to do any or all of these remains only yours to make. 

8. Please take all the advice you need, seek recourse as you deem fit, but no one can and should force you to decide one way or the other. 

9. Labels, if any, are yours to adopt and not for anyone to foist upon you.

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