PTSD and Sexual Trauma

Mentors - Bennie Harris

"When we transcend the limits of our being and reach out to others whom we understand and sincerely believe in –incorporating and blending our lives with theirs –then our lives become transformed, empowered and enriched." ~Dr. Thurman Fleet, "Rays of The Dawn"

Wow....this is an area and a subject that I've actively avoided getting intimately involved in, chatting about, writing about, or including in my upcoming class; "No Man Left Behind" Transcending Post-Traumatic Stress through the Power of Concept-Therapy.

My avoidance wasn't because I was not aware of the challenges of sexual trauma and its effects; I am way more than casually aware! Call it fear, inadequacy, anxiety or what you will, I wanted to really limit myself to the dominate aspect of the Post-Traumatic Stress experience that I'm totally comfortable with. However, Life has an interesting way of not allowing us to avoid that which serves our health and wholeness and that which we are indeed fully capable of handling. passive and as quiet as I thought my unannounced avoidance was.....(I only voiced it to my wife) Life has presented me with more and more potential students inquiring about participating, as they work through their post-traumatic stress experience resulting from sexual trauma.

So, YES....the class is also open to both men and women that are ready to move beyond this painful experience that serves to enslave and hold one captive to their past.

In future articles I'll introduce you to our stellar team of teachers who are partnering with me in this breakthrough experience that is "No Man Left behind." You'll definitely meet Sheila L. Hughes, M.D. and while I'm a bit partial....(she's my wife)...she's more than qualified to "walk the walk" with you.


Sexual Trauma Effects both Men and Women

In a biased, seemingly male dominated society, those of us that aren't adequately aware, tend to think that sexual trauma is only experienced by women, thus only effecting women. As one that has served as an infantry Marine, I'd hear of men sexually traumatized and think, "give me a break!" She made you have sex???

The thought of men being sexually traumatized as a result of sexual assault had never occurred to me or anyone in my circle of friends. Through the media I was aware of sexual assaults in the prison system, but not beyond that. This week I was reading the story of Greg Nelson in La Jolla, California, and his experience of being drugged and sexually assaulted by another male while serving in the Marine Corps. This article goes on to note that: "An anonymous survey released last week by the Pentagon, nearly 1 percent of males in the U.S. military said they had experienced unwanted sexual contact, compared to 4.3 percent of women. That equates to about 10,500 men and 8,500 women."

Now.....this is only in today's military, we've not yet considered society as a whole. The National Violence Against Women Survey (Tjaden & Thoennes, 2000) found that 18% of women reported experiencing a completed or attempted rape during their lifetime.

In a more recent document; The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) conducted a "National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey" (NISVS) in 2011. This survey examined the prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking among women and men in the United States. It's administered annually and used to track trends. To say that what I read caught me a bit off-guard, would be a major understatement!

A Few of Their Key Findings:

Women are disproportionately affected by Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Violence and Stalking.

  • Nearly 1 in 5 women (19.3%) and 1 in 59 men (1.7%) have been raped in their lifetime.1
  • Approximately 1.9 million women were sexually assaulted during the year preceding the survey.1
  • One in 4 women (22.3%) have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner, while 1 in 7 men (14%) have experienced the same.1
  • One in 6 women have been stalked during their lifetime, compared to 1 in 19 men (5.7%).1

Intimate Partner violence, Sexual Violence and Stalking victims experience negative impacts and health consequences.

  • More than 1 in 4 women and more than 1 in 10 men have experienced contact sexual violence, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner and reported significant short- or long-term impacts, such as post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms and injury.1
  • Women who experienced rape or stalking by any perpetrator or physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime were more likely than women who did not experience these forms of violence to report having asthma, diabetes, and irritable bowel syndrome.2
  • Men and women who experienced these forms of violence were more likely to report frequent headaches, chronic pain, difficulty with sleeping, activity limitations, poor physical health, and poor mental health than men and women who did not experience these forms of violence.2
  1. Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Basile KC, Walters ML, Chen J, Merrick MT. Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization—National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. MMWR 2014; 63(SS-8): 1-18.
  2. Black MC, Basile KC, Breiding MJ, Smith SG, Walters ML, Merrick MT, Chen J, Stevens MR. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010 Summary Report. Atlanta, GA: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.


When is Enough, Enough?

Suffice to say, the challenge of Post-Traumatic Stress as a result of sexual assault is another huge aspect of "soul sickness" that the medical and mental health professionals continue to struggle to address and cure. This challenge in and of itself, in numbers alone is really far greater than the number of service personnel returning home and experiencing PTS as a result of military service in our present conflicts.

If medicine in the form of pills and potions, or countless hours of individual and group talk-therapy could successfully set one free from the prison of PTS (PTSD), wouldn't it have done so by now?

If you had a broken bone, or some physical ailment, would you logically continue with the same treatment regime, day after day, month after month, year after year, without results? What about your vehicle, would you continue to take it to the same mechanic, spending dollar after dollar, yet never having the problem resolved? Then why do we continue to do that when it comes to our health and well-being? When is enough, enough?


Ready for Real Results?

Your past results, frustrations and struggles do not define your future unless you so choose. As we prepare to close 2014 and enter into 2015, why not choose something different? Why not choose to close the book on the pain and frustration of regret, guilt, shame and anxiety? Let's choose a new beginning, a new opportunity. Are you ready for real results? Inbox me; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . All inquiries are confidential.

To your freedom and success!

Bennie Harris
December 11, 2014




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