What It Has Been Like To Be a Sexual Abuse Survivor During The 2016 Presidential Elections

It’s November 9th. The polls are in. Many are shocked and amazed that their worst fears have been realized: Donald Trump is the president of the united stated of America. And many of us wonder, how did it come to be, and what does it mean.

   As a psychotherapist who specializes in Sexual Abuse Trauma,  I would like to look back on this election through the lens of what it has been like for sexual abuse survivors to watch this election and vote in this election.  I would like to bring a voice to sexual violence, for it is traditionally and societally silenced. Why is it silenced, and why is it important that trump won the election despite clearly having views on consent and sexuality that represent Sexual Abuse? I would like to tell you in a clear and consolidated way why it’s such a big deal.

            Many people I know who are survivors of sexual abuse trauma have reported terrible dreams during this election, specifically after the second debate. The dreams include flashbacks of their sexual abuse and their perpetrators. It has become my life work to grapple with this type of trauma, and it has become my professional work to be a therapist for sexual abuse trauma, to run groups for survivors in need, and to be the voice that is repressed and silenced.

Since before the election even started, I have been worried.  One in Three women are sexually assaulted in this country. Surprised? It’s surprising, especially considering that most cases are not pursued legally or even talked about at all.  Hillary Clinton, from the beginning, has represented something to not only women, but to the LBGTQ population, to less privileged populations. She is a woman standing up against patriarchy to become a president.  This gave other women, minorities, and anyone really who has suffered from patriarchal systems a glimpse of  hope. But the threat in this election is much more than just patriarchy- Its Donald Trump himself, and what he represents.  It’s Brock Turner.  It’s the Rich, White, Wealthy men getting a slap on the wrist for “grabbing by the pussy” or raping an unconscious woman. It’s the fact that our country chose a xenophobic racist billionaire as the president instead of a woman. It’s the fact that, when people do stand up to their perpetrators, their perpetrators often times win with a smirk on their face. I know that my words are maybe a simplified version of the complexities of the election, but the themes cannot be denied.

  This Election is personally triggering for sexual abuse survivors, and for Women, LBGTQ Folk, Men, Minorities, Immigrants, and Underprivileged populations alike, because that same message that one got from society when they were originally assaulted has just been reinserted with the Election:  Someone who is unsafe has power over you and you will be out of control. I encourage those to fight for what they believe in and I strive to illuminate the voice and the experience for sexual abuse survivors who wish to be heard and seen right now.

Bianca Aarons LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco through the auspices of the Grateful Heart Holistic Therapy Center. Bianca’s specialties include attachment, trauma, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, relationship issues, depression issues, couples work and work with teenagers. Learn more about Bianca at www.biancaaarons.com, email her at BiancaAaronsMFT@gmail.com, or call her at (415) 553-5346 to ask any questions or to set up a consultation session.

Love, Self, and the Addiction to Perfection

(and learning to love yourself, of course)

Addictions can come in all different shapes, sizes and forms.  When one thinks of addiction, they often assume that an addiction is referring to a substance, such as drugs, or an activity, such as sex.  There are many types of addictions; food addictions, love addictions, ect. Addictions are coping mechanisms that are formed when emotions are intolerable and stress levels are unmanageable.  Often times, a person feels out of control of their addiction, and when they try to manage or change it, they find that the addiction gets worst.  

Many addictions can be misunderstood or misjudged, such as the addiction to control or abstinence.  Anorexia is actually an addiction to avoiding eating or preventing food intake.  "Sexual Anorexia" or contact avoidance is yet another misunderstood and highly unseen addiction, where one can go unnoticed in being addicted to finding ways to avoid relationships and prevent themselves from having sex.

One of the most recent addictions that I have encountered is the addiction to perfection. The signs of this are when someone feels that they cannot do anything because they cannot, or will not, be perfect enough when they do it.  Many people who have an addiction to perfection find that they experience procrastination or a hard time doing anything at all for the daunting reality that what they do will not fit their own expectations.  A person who is addicted to perfection will walk away from a partner who is not "perfect" enough, or walk away from a potential partner because THEY THEMSELVES feel that they are not perfect enough, or will just avoid dating in general for the same reasons.  An addiction to perfection can stilt a person from being able to do things that they could maybe do if they were ok with "good enough", like get a good enough job as opposed to being jobless in lieu of the the perfect job.

An addiction to perfection is surprisingly, and comparatively, as difficult to work through as other addictions.  And to work through this addiction, and many other addictions, some deeper issues may need to be confronted around fundamental sadness, self-hatred, grief, and hopelessness that may lay just beneath the protective layer of the addiction. 

 

 

 

Bianca Aarons LMFT is a licensed psychotherapist in San Francisco's Duboce Triangle neighborhood. Bianca’s specialties include attachment, trauma, sexual abuse, post traumatic stress, relationship issues, depression issues, couples work and work with teenagers. Learn more about Bianca at www.biancaaarons.com, email her at BiancaAaronsMFT@gmail.com, or call her at (415) 553-5346 to ask any questions or to set up a consultation session.

 

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