by Lady Hecate


Please advise if you know collaborators.

Please advise if you know collaborators.

Everyone experiences trauma in different ways, but chances are you have just suffered through the most horrific period of your life. You may be feeling raw, guilty, angry, scared or something else entirely. Let me tell you this; the worst part is over. You survived the abuse. You are going to survive the recovery too.

If you are anything like myself, you will try fiercely to remain unaffected by the assault you suffered. You will fight the changes you notice in your personality and in your behaviour. That is, until you come to terms with the inescapable fact that the assault has indeed changed who you are as a person. Fundamentally. This need not be a further trauma to you. You may notice that you are more introverted than you were before. More cautious. Somewhat hyper-vigilant. It is important to stop fighting yourself. You have been through more than enough – you don’t need to be giving yourself a hard time too. Everything that happens to us changes our outlook on the world. Allow yourself to change. Allow yourself to grow. Allow yourself to heal in your own natural way.

Try not to force yourself to return to “normal life”. When you are ready, you will know. There is no right or wrong period of time for this to happen. Some people are ready to resume their usual sexual lives right away. Some people take significantly longer. Neither of these options are a sign of strength or weakness. As come of us have bodies which heal with great speed, some of us have minds which take a little longer to recover. Ironically, trying to hurry yourself will only slow you down.

When you find yourself ready to resume a sexual relationship, be gentle with yourself. And be safe. If you need the security of being overly cautious, go with your instincts. There is plenty of reason for your fear and it is not irrational. You may prefer the safety of double dating with friends for a while so you are not alone in a vulnerable situation with someone you may not know very well.

If you chose to prosecute your attacker, chances are you have been made to feel that the sexual part of your being is dirty, unwholesome or even unnatural. As if your sexual identity has not already taken enough of a blow, it is then further assaulted by the legal system. This can sometimes lead to you fighting with yourself when you feel the need to step back into a sexual relationship. “Is it too soon?” “Should I have done this earlier?” “How much of me should I let him see?” Not to mention “What if he tries to rape me too?” Putting yourself in a vulnerable position again can be terrifying. Though you are free to do as you judge right for yourself, I would recommend discussing your assault with your potential sexual partner.

Despite the fact that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 9 men have suffered from rape, many people do not know how to react or behave when faced with a partner disclosing to them. In my personal experience, I have had people run for the hills at the very suggestion of it. I have had people unabashedly curious and wanting to know every last detail. And I have also come across people who have been supportive and have tried to understand. Either way, this experience always reveals the character of your potential sexual partner. But do try to remember to give them time to absorb it. They may need help as to how to best support you.

Dawid Auguscik

Dawid Auguscik

Many survivors I have come across have found solace and safety in BDSM, knowing there are strict rules around conduct and consent in particular. Either as a top of a bottom, you have the right to “call” a scene at any time, for any reason and it will end instantly. This is very useful for people who suffer from flashbacks. Whether you choose to disclose your Post Traumatic Stress or not, you can end a scene if any particular word or action gives you a negative association or if you decide at any point you are not ready to go forward.

At the sake of repeating myself again; take your time and respect your own boundaries. If your assault involved your attacker trying to choke you, you may wish to include this type of motion as a hard limit. In time, you may feel strong enough to move it to a soft limit so you and your partner can go about desensitising you to this experience. This is a version of what is known as Exposure Therapy, the intention of which is to alter the way you react to your triggers. It aims to lessen and even eliminate the negative visceral response to a particular traumatic stimulus (hands around your throat with the case in point) and even go as far as to replace those feelings with positive ones of love and safety.

I assure you that no one is judging you as harshly as you are judging yourself. As hard as it is, engage the logical part of your brain and realise that no one outside your own head can see how much you are panicking. No one will know what you are going through unless you tell them. Take this mask you have forged from your bravery forward and wear it as your armour. Just don’t allow it to stop you from truly living the rest of your life.

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3 Response Comments

  • Profile photo of SirDJ
    SirDJ  March 23, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Tremendous write Lady Hecate. So many will benefit from the the wisdom that you share. Hat’s off to you!

  • Profile photo of Heather
    Heather  April 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Absolutely beautiful and so very very true. Thank you for the reminder that in the end we are all human. Some people muchly need this, I being one.

  • Profile photo of Lucindalush
    Lucindalush  May 4, 2015 at 11:40 pm

    Thankyou for humanizing the people affected by this crime, and for acknowledging that everyone is different in their recovery. Very helpful.

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