Facilitating Women's Need for Sexual Recovery by Germayne B. Tizzano, Ph.D.
Trauma affects a woman's sense of self. To support a woman fully in her recovery, it is imperative to look at the world through the eyes of the survivor. Annihilated by the cruel violation committed by a perpetrator, a young woman can view her core identity as inherently flawed, tarnished and undeserving of self-worth. Her emotional and physical boundaries are likely to be blurred. In essence, there is a confusion of where do I start and others begin. Her personal preferences and needs for safety—a healthy and necessary part of her psycho-sexual development—are not defined.
There is no anchor of consistency she can fall back on when facing even simple life choices, let alone complicated ones involving intimacy. In her quest to survive the violations of her core identity, the young woman attempts to overcome the traumatic experiences by searching for means to squelch the unbearable feelings she no longer can suppress, via sexually intimate encounters. What becomes readily apparent is how quickly her behavior can escalate into substance abuse to numb the somatic feelings and psychological distress that result from unresolved violent episodes against her body, mind, and soul.1 Subsequently, to survive, her mind and body adapt through dissociation and fugue states.
Read more in this March/April edition of Addiction Professional Magazine.