Supernatural: Damaged Goods (AKA: Dean and PTSD)

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              The Archangel Michael possessing Dean’s body                                  Source: Entertainment Weekly

INTRO

Sadly, this will Supernatural’s second to last season. The series will end next year. So while I have material to go off from the show, I will continue with episode eleven, “Damaged Goods” . “Damaged goods” continued from end of season 14 with the possession of Dean’s body by the archangel Michael. So Castiel and Sam found away to enter Dean’s mind in order to release Dean from Michael’s hold and to do with away from Michael.

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Dean’s Trauma

To find Dean in his mind, they have to comb through all his bad memories first. When I mean, “bad memories” especially in Dean’s case, it’s “scars”. Not all scars have to be physical, but they can be mental and emotional as well. When someone is living with or overcoming emotional  and mentally pains, it usually means they’ve undergone traumatic events. It may sound obvious, but you may be surprised how this simple fact can be grossly overlooked. Trauma can usually consist of dangerous, frightening, or extremely stressful situation or events. And as you read in the slide below, Dean has many of them…the death of his mother, the death of his brother (but came back to life), his own death, being sent to hell and back from it, the death of his father, the death of his mentor and friend, Bobby Singer and other companions and of course, his near final transformations into a vampire and a demon. Yeah… I’d say he’s undergone a LOT of trauma.

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Physical Pain vs Emotional Pain

So how does trauma affect a person’s mind more than physical pain (Dean and Sam has had a LOT of surreal pain)? In the online Psychology Today article, “5 Ways Emotional Pain Is Worse Physical Pain”, it provides, well…5 reason why it’s so:

  1. Memories Trigger Emotional Pain But Not Physical Pain
  2. We Use Physical Pain as Distraction from Emotional Pain Not Vice Versa (could explain why Dean hunts a lot than facing his fears)
  3. Physical Pain Garners Far More Empathy from Others Than Emotional Pain
  4. Emotional Pain Echoes in Ways Physical Pain Does Not–You can look at scar on your knee, compared thinking about the time you got rejected by your high school crush
  5. Emotional Pain but Not Physical Pain Can Damage Our Self-Esteem and Long-Term Mental Health

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Gaslighting

One of the ways, abusers like Michael, chooses his victims is by choosing victims who are strong, confident and successful (Dodgson, 2017). One of the ways abusers overcome their victims is called, “Coercive Control”. Coercive control is used to instill fear and compliance in a partner (Kennedy, n.d). These are a few way abusers can use coercive control:

  • Obsessive monitoring
  • Low level violence (e.g. shoving & hair grabbing)
  • Sexual Assault
  • Gaslighting

I want to say that what Michael was doing to Dean was a form of gaslighting. I mean  if you think about, gaslighting is where abusers “undermine the abused person’s sense of sanity by insisting their lies are true, or by playing mind games.” And Michael was trying to keep Dean in the dark by giving him the life he never had in his own mind, even though in reality, he was really imprisoning Dean.

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PTSD and C-PTSD

Thriving on trauma…hmm…you know what this reminds me of? PTSD. As a reminder PTSD, according to the American Psychological Association, is “a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape or other violent personal assault.” The symptoms they go through are (APA, 2017):

  1. Intrusive thoughts–These include repeated, involuntary memories; distressing dreams; or flashbacks of the traumatic event. Flashbacks my may be so vivid that people feel they are re-living the traumatic experience or seeing it before their eyes.
  2. Avoiding reminders–Traumatic events may have a person for example, avoiding people, places, activities, objects and situations that bring on distressing memories. People may try to avoid remembering or thinking about the traumatic event. They may resist talking about what happened or how they feel about it.
  3. Negative thoughts and feelings—These may include ongoing and distorted beliefs about oneself or others (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted”); ongoing fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame; much less interest in activities previously enjoyed; or feeling detached or estranged from others.
  4. Arousal and reactive thoughts—This may include being irritable and having angry outbursts; behaving  recklessly or in a self-destructive way; being easily started; or having problems concentrating or sleeping.

But you know something else? I think Dean may have C-PTSD because of the trauma he has gone through his whole life. Also he has shown some examples of how he could have C-PTSD. Usually what survivors with C-PTSD may have difficulty with is (VA, n.d.).

  • Avoiding thinking and talking about trauma-related topics because the feelings connected with the trauma are often overwhelming. I mean, I’ve never heard of Dean never talk about his past encounters with supernatural beings and never really talks about how those encounters with supernatural beings impacted him. Or how he’s nearly lost Sam or his own life. Or the loss of their dad.
  • The excess use of alcohol or other substances in order to avoid and numb feelings and thoughts related to the trauma. Dean well….drinks like a fish to avoid his.112d5e70dd6ecde54fee65ce2322ca7d
  • Not harming themselves and finding other ways to hurt themselves. Do you know how many times Dean has sent has sacrificed himself? One too many times…one too many times.
  • Being mistaken for having a “weak character” or are unjustly blamed for the symptoms they experience as a result of victimization. Luckily, Sam reminds Dean how strong he is everyday.

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Michael definitely, found Dean’s Achilles’s heel and it was to be happy. Why? It keeps Michael in control. As mention earlier, gaslighting  is used to keep their victims in line and from seeing things for what they really are. especially when their guard is down. It explains why survivors like myself and even Dean don’t want to put our guard down, because once it’s down, it will feels like our mind will be a gateway for former or future abusers to get the best of us.

Conclusion

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Whether trauma is in the past or on going, it’s never easy to live through. On one hand you wish for that “normalcy”, but on the other hand you have to fend yourself from those who would do harm to you. So not only are you juggling past and/or present pain, you are juggling the possibility of harm that can be done. Reliving trauma and being on guard from new trauma IS your normal. But as long as you have a Sam and Castiel in your corner, it allows trauma to be easier to live with.

References:

American Psychological Association. (2017). What Is Posttraumatic Stress Disorder? Retrieved from: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is-ptsd

Dodgson, L. (2017). Psychological Abusers Don’t Go For The Weak–They Choose Strong People Because They “Like a Challenge.” Retrieved from: https://www.businessinsider.com/strong-confident-people-end-up-in-abusive-relationships-2017-8

Kennedy, L. (n.d.) What Is Coercive Control in a Relationship? Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/women/features/what-is-coercive-control#1

Winch, G. (2014). 5 Ways Emotional Pain Is Worse Than Physical Pain. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201407/5-ways-emotional-pain-is-worse-physical-pain

Veteran Affairs. (n.d.) Complex PTSD. Retrieved from: https://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/treat/essentials/complex_ptsd.asp

Women’s Health. (2018). Abuse, Trauma, and Mental Health. Retrieved from: https://www.womenshealth.gov/mental-health/abuse-trauma-and-mental-health

 

More Reading

Tracy, N. (2016). Gaslighting Definition, Techniques and Being Gaslighted. Retrieved from: https://www.healthyplace.com/abuse/emotional-psychological-abuse/gaslighting-definition-techniques-and-being-gaslighted

Charmed: Switches and Stones (AKA: Medusa’s Revenge, AKA: The Bystander Effect)

 

Image result for medusa

Source: Vice

 

The Sad Untold Story of Medusa

I’m sure you’ve heard about the story of Medusa. You know… the woman who was cursed because she was beautiful and then ended up having snakes heads for hair and with just one look, she’d turn her victims into stone. The only way she could be stopped, by cutting off her head. But have you heard of the real…story about WHY she was really cursed?

The whole thing started when Medusa, a mortal, was raped by Posideon because she was beautiful. The thing it was happening in Athena’s place of worship and Athena cursed Medusa into a monster. Anyone see the problem with this? This whole time, even through pop culture, she was this evil monster, who in every story had her head cut off and her killer was named a hero. However, she was victim of rape and victim blaming. And here I thought that Athena was supposed to be the goddess of wisdom.

In an episode of Charmed, titled “Switches and Stones”, Maggie, Mel, and Macy find a case of men who are turned into stone. This all happening during the time of Maggie’s Kappa Rush time and…during the time Maggie and Mel switched bodies by accident due to a magic spell. The sister’s figure it’s a magical creature, Medusa, who is turning people, mostly guys, to stone. But they are wondering, why…

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Huh how interesting…a demon helping victims of slut shaming, makes you wonder who is worse humans or monsters? I mean…it’s one thing being the person who starts slut shaming, but another to be a bystander.  The bystander effect according to Psychology Today, occurs when the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation.

Bystander Effect

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So what is a bystander? According to Google, a bystander is someone (or a group of people) who is present at an event or incident, but does not take part. Other words for bystander include onlooker. But then…there is an interesting term called “Bystander Effect.” So what is the “Bystander Effect?” The bystander effect occurs when  the presence of others discourages an individual from intervening in an emergency situation (Psychology Today, n.d). In the case of the scene, the students were looking at the pics on their phone. So the question is then why what would cause students who clearly saw disturbing pictures of girls to do practically nothing. A chart from another Psychology Today article explains this (Burn, n.d.):

Barriers to Bystander Intervention

Again in the case of the students in the show, I wanna say they were “engaged” in numbers 2,3, and 5. The kids seemed fascinated more with the pictures and the shock value, rather than to call out (especially in front of their peers) a wrongdoing. In emergency situations where there four or more bystanders, only 31% will help (Gaille, 2017). In this case, that’s Mel, Maggie, and Macy out of all the people who are at the Kappa Rush party. Disappointing.

Non-Consensual Photo Sharing

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So sad. She had summon a demon to stand up for her, because other people wouldn’t. I can’t imagine the distress anyone would go through when going something like THAT, ESPECIALLY  after telling the abuser NOT to send the picture. The act that the girl’s abuser is called, “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing”. What constitutes as “Non-Consensual Photo Sharing” is (Breakthrough, n.d.):

  • Taking intimate photos or video without consent
  • Sharing intimate photos or videos taken with consent-and the reasonable expectation of privacy-and sharing them without consent
  • Sharing photos or videos with the intention of humiliating, degrading, or harassing someone
  • Using coercive behavior to obtain intimate photos or videos
  • Taking and sharing photos or videos of sexual assault
  • Unsolicited photo and video sharing as harassment

Consent

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That’s the unfortunate thing slut shaming does…it causes low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and relationship disturbances. Whatever form sexual assault/harassment comes in, “No” ALWAYS means “No”. To not respect, is well…sexual assault/harassment. In the case of the girl. So what is consent? It must be:

  • Clear
  • Coherent
  • Willing
  • Ongoing

So, the pictures of the girl were not given by her consent.

Image result for what is consent

Source: SUNO

 

Victim Shaming

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When we as a people engage in victim blaming, we are basically ostracizing them…saying their story doesn’t matter. When we say things like (“How To,” n.d.):

  • She asked for it
  • It wasn’t really rape
  • He didn’t mean to
  • She wanted it
  • She lied
  • Rape is a trivial event
  • Rape is a deviant event

Victims are already going through so much in themselves:  shame, low self-esteem, hopelessness/helplessness, denial or minimizing what had happened to them and fear of the consequences if they do report what happened to them, especially if their assaulter is rich and powerful (Engel,  2017).

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How to Help Victims of Sexual Assault

Definitely, what can be a help is by carefully wording what we say (“Tips for, n.d):

  • “I believe you”./ “It took you a lot of courage to me about this.”
  • “It’s not your fault.”/ “You didn’t do anything to deserve this.”
  • “You are not alone.” /”I care about you and I am here to listen or help in anyway I can.”
  • “I’m sorry this happened”/ “This shouldn’t have happened to you.”

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Other Reasons Why People Don’t Step In

 There are some other reasons why people remain bystanders:

  • “[The] situations present that create more danger to a perceived situation, such as having a perpetrator present.
  • “[S]omeone will only choose to act if the potential reward is greater than the known risk.
  • “The costs of an intervention being physical in nature is one of the greatest attenuations of the bystander effect.”
  • “The more we live in cities and are part of crowds, the problems of ignoring the plight of individuals, of communities and groups will remain with us, unless we address it proactively.”
  • I liked how Maggie…well, Mel (who was in Maggie’s body), talked about what happened to one of the rushees who was assaulted even though she was afraid (for Maggie’s sake at least) she might lose her place as a Kappa Rushee. Luckily that didn’t happened
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    What Else Can Be Done To Help Sexual Assault Victims

    There are plenty of ways to help victims of sexual assault with having to do anything uber heroic.

    RAINN suggests:

    • Avoiding Judgement
    • Check in periodically with them
    • Knowing your resources- This includes knowing the RAINN hotline: (800) 273-HOPE (4673), knowing the National Suicide Provider Lifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255), but most importantly…remind them to do good self-care

    If you want to intervene there are some things that can be used to protect and help you (Gaille, 2017):

    • “Many communities have enacted Good Samaritan laws that require people to help when they see an emergency situation or a legal penalty, including jail time in some jurisdictions, may result.”
    • “Training programs that give people certain skills to better recognize an emergency situation can help spur action when they see it happen for real outside of the classroom.”
    • “Rewards and other protections have been instituted in different industries and environments to protect whistleblowers and heighten the need for ongoing activism.”

    If you or someone you know is undergoing any form of nonconsensual photo sharing contact the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative Hotline number below:

    Image result for CCRI CRISIS HELPLINE

    You can also visit the CCRI website for more details:

    Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

    Reference

    Breakthrough. (n.d.) Understanding Non-Consensual Photo Sharing. Retrieved from: https://us.breakthrough.tv/resources/understanding-non-consensual-photo-sharing/

    Burn, Shawn Megan. (n.d.) “A Situational Model of Sexual Assault Prevention Through Bystander Intervention.” Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/files/attachments/124123/situational-model-sexual-assault-prevention-through-bystande.pdf

    Engle, Beverly. (2017). Why Don’t Victims of Sexual Harasssment Come Foward Sooner? Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-compassion-chronicles/201711/why-dont-victims-sexual-harassment-come-forward-sooner

    Gaille, Brandon. (2017)17 Exceptional Bystander Effect Statistics. Retrieved from: https://brandongaille.com/16-exceptional-bystander-effect-statistics/

    Harvard Law School Halt. (n.d.) How To Avoid Victim Blaming. Retrieved from: https://orgs.law.harvard.edu/halt/how-to-avoid-victim-blaming/

    Psychology Today.”Bystander Effect” (n.d.). Retrieved from, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/bystander-effect

     RAINN. “Tips for Talking with Survivors of Sexual Assault.” (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://www.rainn.org/articles/tips-talking-survivors-sexual-assault

    More Reading

    “Bystander Effect’ and Sexual Assault: What The Research Says

    “It’s Victimization”: Push Grows To Charge Onlookers Who Tape Sexual Assaults

    Punish The Onlookers

    The Effects of Slut Shaming on Teen Girls

    The Time I Totally Failed to Stand Up to a Street Harasser

    The Timeless Myth of Medusa, a Rape Victim Turned Into a Monster

    Kakashi: The Hero We Need In Real Life

    Naruto trying to chide Sasuke into sticking around to see their sensei’s true face

     

    I love the Naruto series, especially the original series (there’s like 3). If you haven’t heard of the series, it’s about an orphan by the name of Naruto Uzimaki who find he carries the demon, the nine tailed fox, within him. With the help of his sensei, Kakashi Hataki and in time  Jiraiya, (aka: Pervy sages), help Naurto manage and control the spirit. But… that one is story for another day. We’re just focusing Naruto’s first sensei, Kakashi. Anyway, Naruto along with his peers Sasuke Uchiha and Sakura Haruno learn through Kakashi Sensei how to be ninjas. They were Team Kakashi/Team 7.

    The original Naruto was great, funny and inspiring show, but there was one episode that caught my attention “Gotta See! Gotta Know!Kakashi Sensei’s True Face!” (Naruto episode 111). This episode is a “filler episode” meaning it is for the anime only and usually because it’s to give the author more time to finish their comic book, so in turn it can be included in the anime. This episode (as titled) was about finding out what what Kakashi looked like without all his coverings.

    Naurto and Sasuke’s imaging of how their sensei looks like without his masked mouth piece

    Sauske, as seen below, was allured by this too, and he along with Naurto and Sakura go on their adventure to solve this mystery:

    Sasuke convinced into seeing their sensei’s true face.

     

    Another imagining of their Sensei concocted by Naruto and Sasuke

    Unfortunately the trio get thwarted along the way:

    img_4748

    From left to right-Shikamaru, Ino, and Choji (from Team Asuma) blocks their viewing of their Sensei

    Kakashi eventually gives them  a low-rank mission to look after a farm that leads up to a group of ninjas called the Moya Triad that were following them and wanted to get revenge on Kakashi for humiliating them and leaving them tied up three years before. Unfortunately while it, the leader of the triad was trying to gain affection of a young girl, that didn’t want his affection.

    Haha! Oh the theatrics

    Aniki the leader and eldest brother of the Moya Triad

    Kakashi stepped in to step to protect the lady from the leader’s advances and this angered the leader further.

    Within a blink of an eye, Kakashi saves (and looks like gets the girl) and ties up the brothers…again.

    Haha! Sometimes I wish there were ninja in real life that would be used to protect people from being sexually harassed, since the judicial system is faulty. And as you see above Kakashi didn’t step in because he was trying to get the girl to like him, but because it was the right thing to do.  I’ve heard of men only doing things to help women in hopes in getting with a women and only getting because the girl didn’t go out with them. I mean really??? Just do it because it’s the right thing to do. If the girl doesn’t go out with him fine. If she does, fine. What matters is just helping a person in need.

    Also Kakashi doesn’t need to feel to prove his “masculinity”. He’s too cool for that. He has better things to do. Some guys will need to have to prove, but Kakashi… I wish some men in real life knew they don’t need to prove they’re a man by participating in something that’s just inherently wrong  and disrespectful. Kakashi saw what was going on between the brothers and girl and didn’t just sit there and/or engage in the nonsense. He knew something was wrong and stepped up.

    This what we need in real life: being able to be there for people who are in trouble. If we did this, the world could probably be a better place…and it would just be just seen in the world of cartoons and anime.

    R. Kelly, Part 6: Victim Shaming

    Dr Luke’s Lawyer: “But again, there are people that are falsely accused of rape, aren’t there? You think there has never been a false accusation of rape?”

    Lady Gaga: How about all of the women that are accused of being liars and how she was slut shamed in front of the world, how about that?

    Lady Gaga fighting for Kesha against her former music producer Dr. LukeFrom the online article: How Can Sexual Abuse Survivors get Justice When the System fails them?

     

    I don’t really get the whole thing about victim shaming. No…it’s not that I don’t know what it is, but rather..why does society blame the victim? Why does society seem to crucify the people who need the most help? The victims who presented themselves on the Lifetime show, “Surviving R. Kelly” and even on the Dateline Special, “R.Kelly: Accused” are viewed pretty much as TV whores….women who are vying for their 15 minutes of fame and to gain money. However, after even listening to clips of their stories, I believed them, especially when they talked how it affected their lives, because I know how my incident affected mine.

    So in a definition context, what is victim shaming? According to Wikipedia (I just loved how they perfectly defined it), “Victim Shaming or victim blaming “occurs when the victim of a crime or any wrongful act is held entirely or partially at fault for the harm that befalls them.” Why is that? It’s because compared to a robbery, the victim is more to their assaulter.

    Here are some other reasons why people disbelieve survivors (Whiting, 2019):

    1. The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator
    2. Wishing the World Was Safe
    3. The Wrong Kind of Victim
    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    The Myth of the Evil Perpetrator

    This is guy that everyone understates. Why? One could be his socioeconomic status…meaning he’s rich….he’s successful. He has an outstanding reputation…the guy that everyone loves…the guy everyone knows and trusts. He’s the “nice guy” and this “nice guy” is either good looking or they are someone you’d even trust your children with.They’d never do such heinous things.

    Example:

    Larry Nassar, the now disgraced USA Gymnastics national team doctor and osteopathic physician for Michigan State University, was someone who well-known for being generous, selfless, and committed. He was known for his goofy charm and steadfast service, that when the young girls tried to report his actions , their cries were often ignored. And it didn’t help either since he was known for “women’s pelvic issues” which was helpful for common injuries that were faced in gymnastics, he would rebuke the girl’s cries of his sexual advances by saying they misunderstood his “technique”.

    Wishing the World Was Safe

    I guess for some people ignorance really is bliss for some people while still having this “I could have seen it a mile a way” attitude. Well, of course they could. If after I’ve heard someone story without having being in the situation myself,  of course, I would have seen it coming. Researchers call this the “hindsight effect.” In one study, research participants read different versions of a story. One group of participant read a version where a character was raped at the end, while the other group head the netural ending. The first group displayed a bias toward their character after picking up on clues from the story hence leading towards the “I knew it all along” bias where the listening audience  may make the situation being told them “predictable” or “easy” when really…. it wasn’t.

    Example:

    In Mississippi, a woman was raped on a Biloxi Bay Bridge when she went out running. Even though she reported the assault and was treated and tested local hospital, people still had something to say about the incident: “I would not run alone that late at night, especially being a woman. Go during daylight or with a running buddy” and “It’s dark at  6 p.m. what was was she even doing alone walking on the bridge?”

    The Wrong Kind of Victim

    Or what is called, “ideal victim” is where the victim must fit these five characteristics:

    1. Weak/vulnerable
    2. Involved in a respectable activity at the time of victimization
    3. Blameless in all aspects of the interaction
    4. Victimized by an obvious offender
    5.  Someone who does not know the offender

    Example: If a person fights back, is not dressing in the right way, is intoxicated or if the accused is someone they know, their story is more likely to be questioned or doubted

    4. Confusion and Self-Blame

    Here the victim may either accept that the blame their perpetrator is placing on them or feel a deep shame for allowing the abuse to keep happening or for being at the wrong place or for not getting away.

    Examples:

    One of Larry Nassar’s early victims, Larissa Boyce, while trusting in her coach who found her claim upsetting, then was told by her coach, that if she reported about the incident it would have “very serious consequences” for both Nassar and herself. Terrified at this possibility, Larissa end up eventually crying and apologizing to Nassar, saying it was a “misunderstanding and all her fault”.

    So, how can people  know what sexual assault is? Educate themselves. It’s as School House Rocky says, because:

    Image result for schoolhouse rock knowledge is power gif

    Sorry had to put a lighthearted gif, to such a tough topic. And I don’t know about you, but Schoolhouse Rock always put a smile on my face 😀

    Alright, so what sites could help people better under sexual assault? Take a look at the sites below:

    No More

    NSVRC

    Planned Parenthood

    RAINN

    Reach Out (Australia)

    The Survivors Trust (UK)

    Victims Connect

    Victims of Crime

    Victims Support (UK)

    1 in 6

    If you live outside of the U.S. and know of any anti-sexual assault organiation in your nation, if you can message me, so I can put in this post. Thank you!

    References

    “How Denial and Victim Blaming Keep Sexual Assault Hidden”. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/love-lies-and-conflict/201901/how-denial-and-victim-blaming-keep-sexual-assault-hidden

    Victim Blaming. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victim_blaming

    More Readings

    Amber Heard: I Spoke Up Against Sexual Violence and Faced Our Culture’s Wrath

    Ex-Baylor Frat President Indicted On 4 Counts of Sexual Assault Won’t Go To Prison

    The Veil of Silence is Lifted for Black Women Thanks to R. Kelly Docuseries

    The Hearing That Forced The World To Listen To Larry Nassar’s Survivors

    Why Do Sexual Assault Victims Wait So Long To Speak Out? Take A Look At The Comments Section