Psychological trauma occurs when you are psychologically scarred as a result of a traumatic event. You can be permanently scarred by a single event or series of events. The affected person may suffer lasting effects (like anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, PTSD, etc.) and experience triggers related to the event. Numerous factors can result in psychological trauma (like abuse, assault, neglect, a severe accident or illness, a medical procedure, violence, a disaster, forced displacement, war, terrorism, grief, etc.) Trauma can significantly impact a person’s life.Sexual abuse/assault will be discussed in this PSA.
"Don't touch me!"
A voiceover defines psychological trauma.
Voiceover: Some underlying causes of sexual abuse/assault are that the abuser/assaulter believes they are entitled to it, has a desire to inflict pain on someone, wants to feel powerful and in control, wants to feel closer to the victim, wants to gain social status, needs to cope with or act out difficult emotions, is under extreme stress, believes that the abuse/assault is harmless, and/or was a victim of abuse/assault or neglect as a child.As the voiceover speaks, we see a scared girl and her abuser/assaulter.In the background, we hear yelling.
Voiceover: Some possible triggers that people are likely to experience are being touched, hearing a sound that they heard during the abuse/assault, hearing someone in pain, seeing an object that is related to the event, seeing someone who resembles their abuser/assaulter, and smelling something that reminds them of their abuser/assaulter or the location where the abuse/assault took place.As the voiceover speaks, the video changes to match the trigger.In the background, we first hear someone yell, "Don't touch me!" then the sound of yelling, then someone in pain, then a gasp, then another gasp, finally, sniffing.
Tara Westover received abuse from her brother Shawn; she was physically and emotionally abused. "I feel icy pavement on my back; pebbles are grinding into my skin. My jeans have slid down past my hips. I’d felt them peeling off me, inch by inch, as Shawn yanked my legs. My shirt has risen up and I look at myself, at my body spread flat on the asphalt, at my bra and faded underwear. I want to cover myself but Shawn has pinned my hands above my head. I lie still, feeling the cold seep into me. I hear my voice begging him to let me go, but I don’t sound like myself. I’m listening to the sobs of another girl." (pg. 194) While reading "Educated," one may even argue that Tara Westover, herself, was sexually abused. However, this was never directly stated.Like many victims of sexual abuse/assault, Westover was triggered whenever she saw her abuser. "Shawn arrived a few minutes before the service, with Emily and Peter and a little girl I had never met. It was the first time I had been in a room with him since the night he'd killed Diego. I was tense, but there was no need. He did not look at me once during the service." (pg. 325-326)Similar to the effects a victim of sexual abuse/assault may experience, Westover experienced nightmares, "at least once a week I awoke standing in the street in the middle of the night, wondering if it was my own cry that I'd heard just before waking," (pg. 307) panic attacks, "I had pressed myself into the wall and was hugging my knees to my chest, trying to keep my heart from leaping out of my body. My friend rushed toward me to help and I screamed. It was an hour before I could let her touch me, before I could will myself away from the wall. So that's a panic attack, I thought the next morning," (pg. 313) and a mental breakdown, "The thing about having a mental breakdown is that no matter how obvious it is that you're having one, it is somehow not obvious to you. I'm fine, you think. So what if I watched TV for twenty-four straight hours yesterday. I'm not falling apart. I'm just lazy." (pg. 307) as effects of her abuse.Many victims of sexual abuse/assault recover from their trauma through support from their families. Westover recovered from her trauma with the help of her brother Tyler, "How do you thank a brother who refused to let you go, who seized your hand and wrenched you upward, just as you had decided to stop kicking and sink?" (pg. 317) and her extended family, "My aunts Debbie and Angie came back into my life at a crucial moment, and their support means everything." (pg. 332) She focused on herself for once and pursued her education, "You could call this selfhood many things. Transformation.Metamorphosis. Falsity. Betrayal. I call it an education." (pg. 329)
Voiceover: Some potential lasting effects associated with sexual abuse/assault are anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, physical scars, and PTSD.As the voiceover speaks, the video changes to match the lasting effect.In the background, we first hear the nervous muttering of someone, then we hear someone crying, then we hear a flash and screaming, then we hear gasping, then we hear crying, finally, hyperventilating.
Voiceover: The best practices for treatment of sexual abuse/assault are to receive medical treatment and start therapy. Following sexual abuse/assault, a medical exam can help check for injuries, including those not easily visible. Going to therapy can help you deal with some of the issues that may have arisen because of your sexual abuse/assault. The best kinds of therapy to get after sexual abuse/assault are "prolonged exposure therapy" and "cognitive processing therapy."As the voiceover speaks, the video changes to match the treatment.In the background, we first hear the voice of a doctor, then the sound of a therapist talking to a patient.
The voiceover describes the connection of Tara Westover to victims of sexual abuse.