Ask an expert

30 Mar 2003

Abused/raped as children/teens
I'm a 30 yr old male Critical Care Assistant / Paramedic by profession and am dating a female a number of yrs my junior, who is also in the emergency medical profession.

Having noted that she became more withdrawn, amongst other things, as the relationship progressed, I was prompted to do some reseach into this matter and discovered, to my horror, that she was showing typical behaviour of someone that has been or is being sexually abused.

She has confirmed my suspicions, informing me that she had been raped and abused by a family member since as far back as she can remember. This no longer takes place, thankfully.

For obvious reasons, intimacy is a problem to the extent that she will withdraw, asume the foetal position and start crying, often inconsolably. This is just from kissing, no fondling, no nothing.
(A male I may be, a pig I am not!!!)

Now the question arises : Apart from the obvious route of seeking professional counselling from either a psychologist or psychiatrist, how does one go about assisting with the "rehabilitation" (for the want of a better word) process at home / within the confines of the relationship?

The concept of rape or sexual abuse is certainly not lost on me, but the process of alleviating the ingrained feeling of shame and guilt feelings is a more than my limited psychiatry classes can handle.

Answer 381 views

01 Jan 0001

Dear AJ,
Congratulations on your sensitivity and kindness so far. Actually, the first and main step is to encourage her as much as possible, to go and see an experienced shrink, to start the necessary healing. Then, by supporting and encouraing that essential work, you will continue to help things get right. Searching for something else to do "apart from" seeing the shrink, is like saying "What should a CCA / Paramedic do to asist the rehab of someone with acure appendicitis" --- as you know so well, the answer is. provide support and get her to a surgeon --- the rehab comes after the main operation.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
34% - 9269 votes
66% - 17914 votes