44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18.
I'm too familiar with both of these statistics, as both of them apply to my good friend Allison. She suffered years of sexual and emotional abuse. As a result she's been diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Major Depression, and an Eating Disorder.
She was able to break away from her abuser permanently when she turned 18. However, she feared for her life and safety and the lives of the people she cared about as all had been threatened to keep her quiet. She moved to a new city, enrolled in college, and for the first time admitted how extensive the abuse had been to a sexual assault counselor. We thought things would get better when she finally sought help, that's how it works in the movies - the girl gets a brochure for counseling and becomes a "survivor." But she was just beginning to unravel the trauma, and even though it's what she needed to do, it was the start of the most difficult process of her life.
Haunted by nightmares, flashbacks and body memories she used self-harm, binging, purging and restricting to cope with the daily struggle. She was in outpatient therapy and seeing a psychiatrist. However it just seemed like she was getting worse: she couldn't sleep, she didn't want to eat, she couldn't complete school work. She had to appeal for a withdrawal from her classes and go home to her mom. They tried more therapy and medication.
She went back to the school the next semester. She became incredibly symptomatic from her PTSD. She was tormented by a cycle of building up to panic attacks, having panic attacks, then becoming exhausted and needing to sleep for days. She continued therapy and medication. She had a few psychiatric inpatient stays when her medication needed to be changed or she became suicidal. She also tried Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs.
It's become clear to her treatment team that in order obtain recovery and start resolving her trauma she needs a higher level of care. She needs Residential Treatment. In residential treatment she'll be in a therapeutic community 24/7, in group therapy every day, and individual therapy 4 times a week. Unfortunately her insurance does not provide the residential treatment benefit, meaning the $1100 a day cost falls on her and her mom.
We can see the treatment she needs to lead a normal life, but she can't afford it.
So I'm asking you, kind souls of the internet, if you could spare $5, $10, or even $20 to help my best friend become a Survivor. She wants to finish school. She wants to volunteer and travel and write and help people. Please help her get to the brighter side of life.
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