I think you all deserve some feedback.
First of all thank you to Pero, SouthernLaw, Lee, DaveO, Jude and Nltsaved, as well as my wife, children and Luke (my mentor).
This morning I woke up and my tshirt was wet and I had to run to the toilet as I had the "runs". I have had this before from flashbacks, anxiety etc. this time is was different it was excitement and fear, all at the same time. Today was the litmus test, to see if I am a thriver.
I got to the venue 45 minutes early, still not too sure what I was going to say, as I said before I have spoken in public many times, but NEVER about my abuse or rape.
The lecture hall was full all 300 students were there waiting at 8am. Luke(my mentor) spoke first about the law and the medical technical stuff. I followed giving all this academic jargon a human/real touch ( wrong word - will edit later)
I started "My name is Rees, I'm a survivor of sexual abuse and gang rape, I'm here to put into context what you have just heard" the room went silent, you could hear a pin drop. I followed and went on and told them my whole body was tingling, a could feel sweat running down my back and my hairs were standing up on the back of my head - the long term effects of my abuse will be with me forever. The room was dead silent - I could feel the empathy oozing from there stark faces. I had to do something quickly as I think I had traumatized them all. Humor that always worked, I then gave clarity of a question Luke had answered, Luke spoke about an attachment theory by some or another psycholigist, the student asked in a same sex partnership should there be a mother and father role when bringing up kids, the answer given was that in all couples it should be a partnership rather that specific roles. (The question related to grooming) I'm deviating off the point. So to break the ice I said "asking who the woman is in a same sex partnership, is like asking a Chinese person which one of the chop sticks is the fork". They laughed, the ice was broken and from then on it went brilliantly, by relating the theory to my experiences. I had told them my entire story, more than I thought I would have. They asked brilliant questions about what doctors should do, I used some information from an Australian site, I'm posting it here so others can benefit. www.secasa.com.au[/i]Listen - believe - do not blame: survivors of child sexual abuse fear they will be blamed, not believed, not heard. Listening, believing and not blaming are powerful therapeutic responses.
Safety and containment: your patient's physical and emotional safety are paramount. Attending to your patient's safety and sense of containment means not only assessment of suicide risk, but work on strategies to deal with overwhelming situations such as self harm, anxiety, nightmares, sleep difficulties and flashbacks.
Empowerment and control: during the abuse your patient did not have any control over what happened to them or their body. Their needs and rights were violated. The helping process should be the antithesis of this. Present choices to your patients, ask what they want or need. Encourage your patients to make decisions for themselves.
Be patient: survivors sometimes struggle with the same issues(s) over some time. You may find you are supporting them with the same issue time and time again.
Respect your patient's knowledge about coping strategies that work for her/him. Ask 'What have you done in the past to help you when you were feeling bad, anxious, having panic attacks ...' Build on their strengths.
Recognise that survivors of child sexual abuse may need longer appointments and allow for this. When someone is rushed, they may feel they are not being listened to.
Let you patient know you are willing to talk, and to listen.
Remember the links between somatic complaints and trauma.
Develop a joint responsibility with your patient for monitoring symptoms.
I also asked them to give the patient this forum's and MS webpage details, so they would feel they are not alone.
After all the questions, a male student said "all I can say" he then stood up and clap loudly, the other third year students stood up together and clapped until I had tears form in my eyes. I thought when I summited Kilimanjaro I was a thriver,I was wrong. Today 22 March 2013 is the day I can now declare that " I'M A THRIVER"
Looking at the math, 300 students, 50% male 50% female means that there were about 25 male and 37 female survivors in the room. If each one of these 300 future doctors now know how to help male survivors better and each help 50 survivors in their career, it made bearing my soul worth while, 15000 men and woman victims would benefit in the years ahead.
All the work that we have been doing behind the scenes for "South African Male Survivors Of Sexual Abuse" www.samsosa.org
is now paying off. To everybody who has been encouraging me along the way, a big Thank You. Next week it is back to organizing Mike Lew's visit in September and the first African Conference on Male Sexual Abuse.[/b]The only way to eat an elephant is bite my bite[b]