This past year has seen a flood of accusations against powerful and famous men who have perpetrated various forms of harassment against women – often using their status and positions of power and influence to coerce women into accepting unhealthy treatment and often intimidating them to keep quiet about their abuse. Mental health professionals like the reputable online counselors at Talkspace understand the importance of the #MeToo movement, but also understand that women need help and a good support network in order to be able to heal and move on from their traumatic experiences.
What started as a simple Tweet by Hollywood actress Alyssa Milano, her confession of her experiences, launched a veritable movement where women from all walks of life came forward to share their experiences. Therapists like those at Talkspace note that sexual harassment or assault is a complicated and deeply painful thing to go through and that there is a lot more that goes into coping and healing besides just talking about what happened.
Mental health providers like those at Talkspace continually point out the benefit of talking about traumatic experience. That is one of the most positive outcomes of this recent deluge of confessions and accusations – women being able to talk about what happened to them, how it made them feel, what the repercussions were, and so on – is an incredibly important part of the road to healing and living life to the fullest after such a terrible experience. Being able to come to grips with one’s experiences and learn how to move on from it is part and parcel to future flourishing, in both one’s personal and professional life.
Road to Recovery
The road to recovery after sexual harassment or assault is a long one rife with bumps and setbacks. Therapists at Talkspace advise women who have been victims to understand that the path to a happy and healthy life can be a long one. Sexual harassment and assault, especially when the perpetrator is someone in power, can cause women to lose their ability to trust, be comfortable, and even to interact with others. Broken trust in general is not something that will come back overnight and there shouldn’t be a set recovery time frame that one “has” to recover within. We all heal at different rates and there is no set duration on the road to healing.
Sexual harassment or assault requires women to come to terms with a variety of things. They learn to understand that their experiences were not just about sex. In fact, as therapists at Talkspace point out, it is often more about control and using one’s power to coerce another person into bending to your will, that drives sexual harassment and assault. And sadly, one thing many women often feel after experiencing such a trauma is shame or guilt.
Sharing these feelings and experiences is incredibly helpful and valuable for recovery. Many people don’t feel comfortable sharing these experiences with people close to them, they would rather have a neutral third party that can look at their situation without the emotional connections a friend or loved one has. This is why therapists like those at Talkspace are so valuable to recovery from sexual assault and harassment. Services like this give one the ability to talk to someone when it is convenient and with a therapist that has a neutral different viewpoint and a detached interest in the trauma.
In many ways, sexual harassment can lead to a form of post-traumatic stress disorder, which is a serious mental illness that can cause a range of debilitating problems in the lives of those who suffer from it. Coping and moving on from sexual harassment and assault is a long and arduous road, but it is possible and can lead women to become stronger as a result. The #MeToo movement has provided a unique opportunity to victims of harassment and assault to finally talk about their experiences and to be able to recover and move on from them in a healthy manner.