by Samvedam Randles, LMHC, Dipl. Psch.
This election has been a mess, and I am struck by how the issues raised by Donald Trump have shown up in my office. My private practice is overflowing with women who are re-living sexual assaults that they tried to bury long ago. So many women who were silent when the wounding occurred are now mightily struggling with anger over being violated and a hopeless feeling that the stronger will always win. Others are swimming in grief over the way incidents of assault or abuse have dominated their sex lives. Some have no pleasure, some have closed themselves to sex completely, and others have become promiscuous, acting out constantly, with no enjoyment.
The press about Donald Trump’s sexual misconduct and the betrayals of Bill Clinton, as well as Hillary’s aid’s husband, have opened a flood gate. The only good news is that trauma has to be seen and acknowledged in order to be healed. And for all the ugliness this election has raised, it also has moved many women to face what they could not bring themselves to face before. This is a courageous act that initiates the possibility for healing. The women I am privileged to support are working on re-owning their own bodies and knowing that they can again have power and feel powerful.
Both men and women have been jarred into re-examining what it means to be in healthy relationship with the opposite sex, and it affects us all. Ultimately, the focus comes even closer to home as we each struggle with how to balance our internal female and male energies – our strengths and our vulnerabilities, and our capacities for giving and receiving. Again…we learn within our family structures how to hold and value these energies.