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Recently, Lady Gaga eloquently explained on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert her thoughts on the Kavanaugh hearings, and the video quickly went viral.
She said, "What I have seen on the news with this debate of Kavanaugh versus Dr. Ford, it’s one of the most upsetting things I’ve ever witnessed. I am a sexual assault survivor. Trump the other day was speaking at a rally, and he said, ‘She has no memory of how she got to the party. Should we trust that she remembers the assault?’ And the answer is ‘yes’ … And I also know this woman is smart because she’s a psychologist — she’s no dummy. If someone is assaulted or experiences trauma, there’s science and scientific proof — it’s biology — that people change. The brain changes."
"What it does is it takes the trauma and it puts it in a box and it files it away and shuts it so that we can survive the pain. And it also does a lot of other things. It can cause body pain. It can cause baseline elevations in anxiety. It can cause complete avoidance of not wanting to even remember or think about what happened to you. But what I believe and have seen is that when this woman saw that judge Kavanaugh was going to be possibly put in the highest position of power in the judicial system of this country, she was triggered, and that box opened," she continued.
"And when that box opened, she was brave enough to share it with the world to protect this country," she concluded.
Well, it’s also true. A number of celebrities have been triggered by Judge Brett Kavanaugh denying Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s claims under oath. Her description of the night opened that box for millions of women — including Busy Philipps. During the Kavanaugh hearing, the actress posted an Instagram shot of her younger self, revealing that she was raped at age 14. “It’s taken me 25 years to say those words,” she said, adding that she told her parents and sister about it only four months ago.
Modern Family star Sarah Hyland posted her #MeToo story on social media during the hearings. In a Twitter post with the hashtag #whyididntrteport, she revealed she was assaulted by a friend in high school.
Bravo's Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi was also triggered by the events and wrote an essay for The New York Times about an experience with a former boyfriend. ”When we went out, he would park the car and come in and sit on our couch and talk to my mother. He never brought me home late on a school night. We were intimate to a point, but he knew that I was a virgin and that I was unsure of when I would be ready to have sex," she wrote, revealing that he raped her a few months after they began dating, on New Year's Eve.
Padma added that the incident came front and center in her mind after watching Dr. Ford’s testimony. ”On Friday, President Trump tweeted that if what Dr. Ford said was true, she would have filed a police report years ago. But I understand why both women would keep this information to themselves for so many years, without involving the police. For years, I did the same thing," she wrote. "On Friday, I tweeted about what had happened to me so many years ago."
Journalist Connie Chung wrote an essay for The Washington Post following the Kavanaugh hearings, revealing she was assaulted in her youth by the family doctor.
But it's not just celebrities. Millions of women were triggered by Dr. Ford's account of what happened to her, and many have now decided to come forward to share their stories. Two brave female protestors revealing their sexual assaults to Senator Jeff Flake in an elevator in the Capitol caused him (temporarily) to pause and reconsider his initial support for Kavanaugh. Sure, it turned out his crisis of conscience didn't last very long. Still, the women made a difference.
In fact, The American Counseling Association has seen a spike in sexual assault victims coming forward for help in the wake of Kavanaugh. So why are more women coming forward now?
"The first, and perhaps most obvious, consideration is that clients may be triggered by the [#MeToo] movement. Whereas therapy provides a safe space for processing trauma, a client with a trauma history may not have the luxury of keeping related discussions to the counseling room. Depending on where they are in their journey, clients may witness an increase of triggers in their environment by skimming social media and engaging in hot topic discussions," ACA reports.
"The movement may bring new topics to the surface. A client may recognize concerns that are not necessarily new to them, but new to their active awareness. It is possible that clients may be distracted from their own process as the movement may have brought them back to areas in which they perceived they have grown and triumphed over in therapy... Healing from trauma can be a lifelong process."
According to Time, "Survivors with histories of sexual abuse are at higher risk of exhibiting PTSD symptoms whenever a #MeToo story hits the news."
"The Kavanaugh story dragged on, with an apparent strain on many survivors that the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby allegations did not inspire — and it will continue to do so as he takes his seat on the Supreme Court. Experts say that all that has happened could have lasting effects on the psychology of many victims of sexual assault," they report. “When there’s a national disaster, there’s a period of aftermath...we’re talking about a big national health crisis...With Kavanaugh now confirmed to the court, it may feel to some people as if the story has concluded. But that may not be the case for survivors. In fact, for those who shared their stories and fought his nomination, his ascension could worsen their symptoms, PTSD, anxiety or depression," the publication concluded.
What you can do:
Always remember, you are in control of what you watch and read. You can take a break. You can do simple self-care routines, exercise, or talk to a counselor. Most importantly, don't be afraid to reach out for help.
f you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
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