Please note this video may be upsetting to watch and could invoke strong reactions or memories of your own experiences. It is not appropriate for all audiences and contains graphic images of violence, sexualization, and drug use.
Musician Zeke Thomas has created a new single exploring his journey of going public as a survivor of sexual violence. “Dealin' With It” captures how complicated it can be to come to terms with an experience of sexual assault.
Life after an assault and the path toward healing look different for every survivor. Many survivors wonder if their responses are normal. All too often, survivors are aware that those around them have expectations about how they will heal and cope, which can add unneeded pressure and anxiety during a time that is already confusing and stressful.
Although it is not often talked about, drugs and alcohol are frequently used by survivors to cope with trauma. Drugs and alcohol may offer a variety of things that seem helpful in the short-term including chemically numbing emotional or physical pain; chemically inducing feelings of pleasure or bravery or enabling bravado; lowering social anxieties; and aiding sleep and other forms of escape. However, drug and alcohol use can also cause further harm and difficulties for the survivor. For some, their experiences with drugs and alcohol may be further complicated by the role substances played in recent or past assaults.
What all survivors need on their journey of recovery is non-judgmental support and options. All survivors deserve to be treated with respect. You do not have to deal with this alone.
LGBTQ+ survivors, like Zeke, rarely have the opportunity to speak out, and our culture rarely offers opportunities or lends an ear for these individuals to share their stories. It is crucial for us to honor survivors of all gender orientations and identities.
When a survivor shares their story, it is an opportunity to listen. It is an opportunity to value their honesty, point of view, and trust, and to offer your support, concerns for their well-being, and assistance in accessing services. It is also an opportunity for their story to reach countless others who need to hear it and know they are not alone.
Rape crisis centers throughout the country are available to provide support to survivors and help victims recover from abuse. Find your local rape crisis center at www.RAINN.org or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.
- Watch the video at Vevo: http://vevo.ly/qkiesh
Resources for survivors and recovery from trauma:
- Online resources for survivors: http://www.nsvrc.org/sites/default/files/nsvrc_publications_resource-list_online-resources-for-survivors.pdf
- Locating Trauma-Informed Therapists: http://www.pcar.org/sites/default/files/resource-pdfs/locating-trauma_informed_therapists.pdf
- Checklist for Trauma-Informed Care: http://www.thebreathenetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/TheBreatheNetwork-checklist-for-trauma-informed-care.pdf
- Healing Arts Modalities & Sexual Trauma: http://www.thebreathenetwork.org/healing-arts-modalities-sexual-trauma
Resources for LGBTQ+ survivors:
- The Network/La Red: http://tnlr.org/en/
- Forge Forward: http://forge-forward.org/
- National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs: https://avp.org/
Resources for advocates and educators:
- Sexual Violence & Individuals Who Identify as LGBTQ Information Packet: http://www.nsvrc.org/publications/nsvrc-publications-information-packets/sexual-violence-individuals-who-identify-lgbtq
- Working with Addicted Survivors of Sexual Assault: http://taasa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/WorkingwithAddictedSurvivorsofSA_manual.pdf
- Substance Use and Sexual Violence: Building Prevention and Intervention Responses: http://www.pcar.org/sites/default/files/pages-pdf/substance_use_and_sexual_violence.pdf
- The Brain, Body, and Trauma Online Course: http://campus.nsvrc.org/course/index.php?categoryid=16