April has been declared National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
It is a topic hard to discuss due to the vulnerability required and its associated shame. According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (
, March 7, 2020):
1 in 5 women and
1 in 7 men will be raped.
* In the U.S.,
1 in 3 women and
1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime.
1 in 4 girls and
1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before the age of 18.
12% of sexual abuse is reported to the authorities.
An assault can imprint in the body not only physically but also emotionally/spiritually.
As a survivor of child abuse, I can appreciate the shame, embarrassment, confusion and fear that can be associated with abuse. I also have endometriosis and suffered for years with debilitating pelvic pain. Acknowledging and appreciating how abuse can influence the neural, hormonal, and immune systems was a critical piece in my path to healing.
Abuse laid the foundation for my nervous system to be in a constant state of readiness or stress, leading to hormones preparing my body for fight, flight or freeze. Over time my tolerance to stress, less sleep, and dietary sensitivities decreased leading to more pain and tension.
Finally, it was stepping back and seeing the entire picture of how my posture, breathing, lifestyle habits were facilitating an up regulated nervous system, and thus pain, did I start to notice how
I have control and can change my body's reaction. It is not that abuse caused my endometriosis or pain, but for me it influenced not only my spiritual and emotional well-being but also my physicality.
Do I still have pain...? Yes, but I no longer feel trapped by it and my reaction to more painful days is one that promotes healing (love, support, kindness) versus more pain (irritation, anger, retaliation).
This blog is to remind us that many of us are survivors, and know you are not alone. The imprint abuse can have on our bodies is strong and appreciating and understanding it allows for more healing.
For more resources, visit
, or call the sexual assault hotline number -
- to get in contact with your local rape crisis center.