Does this statement surprise you? Most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with war and are surprised to learn that sexual assault (including rape and childhood sexual abuse) is actually more likely to cause PTSD. Even though sexual assault is at the forefront of our nation's attention thanks to the #MeToo movement, this fact has not been a part of the conversation and it needs to be.
I can't count the number of times that a client has wondered aloud why they can't move past trauma, "I mean, it's not war." Or, "I know it can't be PTSD since I wasn't at war, so I don't know what's wrong with me." It is absolutely mind-blowing to them when I tell them that, actually, sexual assault is more likely to cause PTSD and I explain why.
I can see the self-judgment melting away in their surprised faces. I can see the stigma and shame of seeking help lessen. They express such relief at knowing. All of which underscores how vital it is that the general public be educated on this subject.
ESPECIALLY when you consider that ONE IN THREE WOMEN and one in six men experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
Think about the women in your life that you care about. Now figure out how many constitute a third. If your math skills are really good, do the same for men. Spoiler alert - it's a LOT.
So this is not esoteric knowledge that doesn't really apply to you. From a public health perspective, from a caring-about-the-people-in-your-life perspective and perhaps the I've-lived-through-this perspective, this is essential information that everyone needs to know and share with others.
Image: Recipes for Self Love
If magazine headlines are any indication, we are all supposed to LOVE our bodies. You haven't achieved maximum winning as a woman unless you do, and if you don't, there's definitely something wrong with you!
So why do I use the term body acceptance and avoid talking about loving your body?
1. Because loving your body isn't a requirement for a fulfilling life.
News flash - you can have an absolutely amazing life without loving your body!
Regardless of your body shape or size you can travel the world, have great sex, love and be loved, go on adventures, kick ass in your career, on and on and on.
But wouldn't life be better, you say, if I loved my body? Sure it would! But life would also be better if we got to pick all our coworkers and family members and had unlimited money,
Raise your hand if you're feeling on edge and nervous about this year's fire season?
How do I know that you are raising your hand?
Hint: I'm not psychic.
I know because if you made it through the apoplectic fire season of 2017, there is no way you AREN'T.
That's the way trauma (like natural disasters) works.
The 2017 California wildfires were devastating, especially in Wine County. Several of my friends and family members had to evacuate (thank goodness they weren't hurt!) and so this topic has been on my mind as this fire season gets underway.
Befriend Your Body with Dr. Linda Baggett
Blogging with expertise, compassion, and humor (and occasional swearing) about all things trauma, sexuality, body image, and diet culture from a feminist, Health at Every Size perspective with psychologist Dr. Linda Baggett.
Dr. Linda Baggett