US Election is having a Significant Impact on Abuse Survivors

Social media is currently exploding from the Presidential Election of 2016 with Donald Trump vs Hilary Clinton. In particular, with survivors of sexual abuse. Most people are aware that Trump has a history of being sexually inappropriate and disrespectful with women. But with the recent release of a recorded conversation from 2005, these allegations are more concrete and hold more value.  During this recording Trump spoke openly about groping and pushing unwanted sexual acts upon various women. In the recording, he seemed to find it comical and sexually exciting. When confronted on his inappropriate behaviors and comments, Trump called this “locker room talk.” He also attempted to normalize this, alluding that all men speak and behave in this manner. Since it’s release, many women are coming forward reporting that Trump sexually abused them.

Many survivors of sexual abuse, have taken to social media. Especially as listening to that recording and the minimizing of others, can be a significant trigger. There have been arguments on almost every social media source during which survivors are continuously being blamed, called liars, and are ultimately revictimized. It appeared that survivors were at a serious disadvantage and would be silenced once again. But in came, a world recognized celebrity advocating for survivors to speak up.

Lady Gaga or Joanne, has openly spoken and written a song about being sexually abused. On 10/16/16,  Joanne wrote the above message on Twitter with the hash tag #ImASurvivor. She also encouraged other survivors to speak up on social media using this. The results have been a courageous outpouring of sexual abuse survivors from all cultures, genders, races, sexual orientations, socio-economic statuses, and ages. The silence has been broken. People are reporting being a sexual abuse survivor for the first time in their lives. Admitting to traumatic events that they have endured at the hands of another. And also discussing the consequences of those traumatic events, which are life altering.

I am so proud of every survivor. Whether you have spoken or not. I want you to know that you are not alone. That it was not your fault. That there is hope. That your life does not have to be defined by what happened to you. That its normal to experience symptoms of anger, frustration, irritability, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, depression, flashbacks, insomnia, forgetfulness, or nightmares. That you are not crazy (I despise that word). That healing is possible. It’s very possible. And that help is available if you are ready to talk about it. Whenever you are ready, we are here.

Angie Simonton, LCSW