In 2015 a new law was passed that changes the legal standard of rape for campus assaults from the survivor proving that they said didn't want the sexual advances ("no means no") to proving that the accused obtained affirmative consent ("yes means yes"). The law says that it's not enough that the survivor didn't say no or fight back but that they have to explicitly say yes.
You are not alone.
Healing from sexual abuse and rape requires working with every part of the trauma experience - instinct, emotion, images, and thoughts.When faced with a life threatening experience, primitive instincts kick in - fight, flight, freeze, submit (see part 1 and part 2 of this blog). These instincts help you survive the encounter, but leave evidence behind in the form of body memories. The cortisol response that was triggered by the original trauma, can be re-triggered any time. That means that if you see a person that reminds you of the perpetrator or smell something you smelled at that time, for example, your body will involuntarily release loads of cortisol and it will feel like you're right back in the moment the trauma occurred. The Thinking Brain knows that you are in the present time, but the Reptilian Brain (instinct) and Old Mammalian Brain (images and emotions) are telling you otherwise. Effective treatment for PTSD and sexual abuse involves all three parts of the brain.
You aren't broken.
Trauma and complex PTSD caused by sexual abuse and rape are underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed as something else. That's because trauma from years ago can cause so many different problems in adult life, referred to as "symptoms", which don't always fit neatly into a diagnostic box. It has been estimated that of people who seek treatment for mental health problems, as many of 90% have an underlying trauma.
"Just get over it." It's one of the worst things someone can say to a survivors of sexual abuse or rape. And yet how many times have you heard those words? Trauma sticks in the brain and the body and it doesn't just go away. You can push it down and choose not to think about it, but it comes up in your life in unexpected ways and can destroy happiness.