mental illnesses that may occur are any forms of depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress. Where some people can handle the symptoms, others cannot; this is where bad choices are made physically, harming both yourself and society. “If we were to eliminate sexual assault, we could partially eliminate some of the most well known problems in society,” Bell said. Drug abuse, alcoholism, violence, homelessness, teen pregnancy and other societal problems are very common activities for victims after the assault. This is why getting help is very important and relatively easy as well. If the assault is recent, it is strongly recommended that the victim go to the hospital immediately. At the hospital they will treat you with the appropriate medications, treat injuries and offer a sexual assault kit that will help track DNA. In many cases, victims know who the assaulter was. After you have been treated, Family Resources will be contacted, if requested. They will then supply you with what is necessary after leaving the hospital to keep healthy both mentally and physically. Not everyone goes to receive help right away though. That doesn’t mean that options are not available though. If you call the crisis line for Family Resources, the same programs will be offered and available to help you deal with the issue. “Getting help is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding major side affects,” Bell said. “Some people can handle it, but not everyone can. It makes it so much easier to have someone by your side along the way.”
Each year, there are about
207,754 victims of sexual assault
PAGE BY Ashley VanWInkle
Christian introduces his story to his video viewers on Facebook.
Former West High student shares story of sexual assault BY ASHLEY VANWINKLE
i, I’m Chris.” The card is flashed for everyone on his Facebook friends list to see. He sets it down as he picks up the next piece to his video, “This is my story.” Christian, a former West High student, shared a brief story over Facebook about how he was sexually assaulted. But there was more to Christian’s story than the video shared. At only 14, as his mother and father were together somewhere in the house, and Christian was relaxing in his room, Christian said his uncle entered and molested him. His uncle was a brother to 14, and a man that the family truly admired, someone they never assumed would do such a thing. After hearing Christian’s father coming toward the room, his uncle fled the scene, leaving Christian feeling that he was in a position he would never be able to escape. After waiting a few hours, Christian texted his best friend and she picked him up to talk about the situation. After talking for awhile, “We went to my house and told my mom and dad,” Christian said. “My dad denied it right away, but my mom started crying and held me, telling me it was going to be okay.” His father was not the only member of the family who chose not to believe Christian’s story; the whole family denied it. “My uncle still denies it,” Christian said. “He says it never happened, but I just ask him how he couldn’t remember. He was drunk and coked out.” Without the support of anyone but his mother, things for Christian became difficult. Eventually his grandmother from Texas came to take Christian and his mother home with her.
“My parents divorced after that,” he said. “My dad said that I was the reason.” Living with that guilt and the weight of the assault it began to get the best of Christian. He was unable to be around other males without feeling suspicious; he became very antisocial and suspicious. Things had changed in Christian’s life immensely, and after seeing his mother depressed and feeling guilty from the divorce and the molestation, he decided he no longer wanted to live. “I tried committing suicide several times,” he said. “I tried to drown myself, I cut myself, I tried to hang myself and I had thoughts of driving a car into the river.” After the attempts didn’t work because of outside sources interrupting, Christian remembered something important. “My mom, my mom is my everything.” After two weeks in a mental institution; then being diagnosed with depression and anxiety problems, after several attempts at suicide, and after a years worth of counseling he found the strength to move forward. “I got tired of being a no one, and tired of seeing my mom so sad. I decided to move on with my life,” he said. “Honestly, it’s such a wonderful feeling.” Christian isn’t the only one who has moved on though. “My uncle moved to Mexico and married,” he said. Christian, 18 now, is having a much easier time moving forward. He is planning to soon join the Air Force and head to college afterward to become a counselor or probation officer, helping troubled kids. “It may seem horrible; it may seem to be the most traumatic thing in life; never resort to self-harm, that will get you nowhere,” Christian said. “You’re not the first, you’re not the last, but you will be that someone that can say, ‘I got through and I will stay strong.’ Take that first step into 1,000 miles, because we all have to start somewhere. We are all beautiful people; we should rememAPRIL 12, 2013 ● BEAK ‘N’ EYE 13
The newspaper of West High School, Davenport, Iowa, USA