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Author Topic: assaulted
nonlinear
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I was recently (a few months ago) assaulted and stalked (for a few months) by a professor. He took a few months to gain my trust and groom me / gauge how easily manipulated I was, and then he did some other questionable things and assaulted me repeatedly.

I'm in a safe place now, and many of my friends know, I filed a complaint (nothing came of it though, at least not to my knowledge) and I am in the process of seeking counseling (haven't found it yet or started it yet). But I just feel so bad and confused, because it wasn't violent, he kept phrasing things that made me think that maybe he really thought that I initiated sexual contact with him (which was not my intention at all-- this guy is older than my parents and I am already in my own happy relationship)... for example, he would say things like "I couldn't refuse you."

I'm just disturbed/upset that I still want to contact this professor, somehow, to maybe get answers about why he did that to me, if he knew it was wrong... did he care about me? (Cognitively, I know he didn't care about me and I also never viewed him romantically.) I'm still not sure if he drugged me-- I want to know that, too. I am also still mystified as to how he can function in society, have a wife and family... His wife contacted me and yelled at me / told me to not make a big deal out of whatever happened, and so I keep on wondering how much she actually knew about what happened. I keep dwelling on it. As I mentioned earlier, I filed a complaint, so he can't contact me and I know I shouldn't contact him. But sometimes the urge to contact him is quite strong, so strong that it is making me passively suicidal (I am not at all at risk of actually hurting myself, to be clear) -- I keep thinking that "well, maybe if I did contact him I could kill myself afterwards so that I could die knowing those answers but suffer no other consequences of having contacted him again." It bothers me that he has moved on with his life (probably), is still teaching classes, still taking his children to sporting events, authoring papers, attending conferences... when I feel like my own life is in shambles. I keep wondering to myself, "How does a 20-year old appear to a man who is nearly 60 years old?" "How does a petite 5'3" student appear to somebody who is around 6'3"?" I feel so old and I can't recognize myself in the mirror or in old photos of myself.

I also realized that I have started to sexualize the assault. It makes me really heartbroken and guilty that I can only get aroused when I think about whatever he did to me, and I cry after every time I get aroused (which actually is not often at all) and I can't help it. I am not interested in sex. My boyfriend has been patient and supportive.

I feel so guilty that it wasn't a very violent attack. When I do tell people that I was raped, I feel like I am lying because I feel like maybe the term "rape" was too harsh/heavy a term to describe the actual events (which is why I used "assaulted" in the thread title. It makes me feel ashamed and like I am being melodramatic. And every time I tell somebody I end up accumulating more feelings of guilt because I realize that I can tell them I was "raped" but then never go further into any detail without having this fear that if people actually understood the physical events, they'd judge and be like, "Oh, hm, well, YOUR situation wasn't actually rape." But honestly, I do feel really violated.... For what it's worth, in my jurisdiction it qualifies as first-degree sexual assault but I feel so confused-- why do I even have to keep justifying this to myself?

I also feel guilty because there was one instance when I was crying and begging him to please stop, to please not do anything to me, and he actually did hesitate and he didn't go further. It made me confused because... well, why didn't I just make it clearer to him during the other interactions that I didn't want it? I keep thinking, "what if I cried loudly during the other times? Would that have stopped him?"

I'm not sure if I'm just dramatizing everything because I still feel like I should have known better-- I sensed that something about him was "off" very early on in our interactions, shortly after I met him, and I don't know why I didn't just walk away from things earlier. I want to just forget about it and move on with my life. It feels like it was so long ago, and yet my mind is still on replay... Sometimes I just break down crying without any specific reason.

... It'd be bad to contact this professor, right? I know I'm not likely to get any substantial answers-- after the assault I asked him if he knew that what he did was wrong and I generally got the sense that he truly felt that women who eventually submitted to his advances enjoyed the sexual contact, so I guess he probably didn't think that what he did was wrong...

I don't even know what I'm trying to ask here, but I'm just so distraught and I have to wait for another week to be seen by a therapist and I'm not sure how to deal with these recurring thoughts that I just wrote out in my post.

I am eating well, sleeping well, exercising every day, socializing, confiding in a few people I trust, and keeping myself busy with school and able to keep on top of things academically. But I am still so unhappy. I am exhausted from everything, from advocating for myself in front of professors, administration, lawyers, police... the process of telling my parents, my friends, new therapists that I'm trying to seek out... Can somebody just tell me that I'm not going crazy? Thanks for reading.

[ 09-24-2013, 05:45 PM: Message edited by: nonlinear ]

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Heather
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nonlinear: how can we help you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Oops, sorry, I was trying to edit something and ended up deleting the whole post but it's up again (I think).
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Heather
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No worries, I see it, just give me a few moments to read it.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I'm so very sorry this happened to you, nonlinear.

I want to start by saying something, from a very personal place, I've said to other users here before who have expressed similar things about "nonviolent" rape, and how "real" it is, or how "fair" it is to survivors of physically violent assaults to call rape that isn't such rape.

As a survivor of a very violent assault, as well as a survivor of a assaults that were without threats to my life or physical violence beyond genital assault, please know I certainly don't feel or think that way. I also have rarely encountered other survivors like me who do.

I don't feel that my one assault was any more "real" or bonafide than the other for myself, and don't feel that way about you. To boot, you classifying one kind of assault under that larger umbrella doesn't take anything away from survivors whose abuses or assaults were different. Please know all of that, okay?

You know, words, emotional manipulations can, in a lot of ways, do what fists, or knives or a gun can: they can manipulate us, they can scare us, they can kind of force us into submission. We can be powerless or less powerful in the face of them. We can be controlled by them, and people who emotionally abuse and manipulate? They know this. (Really, if it helps to think about it this way, in some ways, the way I think about it is that people like that probably don't use weapons because they know they don't need them when they can do the same things by creating feelings or using words: make sense?)

I understand wanting to get some kind of answer to this from someone who abused you: it's a very common thing to want. Unfortunately, not only do most people rarely get that, even when they do, what they usually get is just more manipulation. [Frown]

I also understand trying to do the kind of what-ifs you're doing around what you feel you could have done, but didn't, but I don't find that all that useful. For one, that's a kind of self-blame, and this isn't your fault. But also, something that happened to us is something that happened to us, as-is. There's really no "What if I...?" with this stuff, because whatever that is, it's not what happened.

Personally, my best advice for your next steps forward would be to step away from thinking about putting your energy into contacting your rapist, and instead put it into starting by getting some crisis counseling from a sexual abuse/assault center or counselor. So much of what you're feeling here is really about surviving trauma, particularly this kind of trauma, so I'd say getting that help ASAP is WAY more likely to help you than acting from that place when you're feeling all the things you are without the help for them. Know what I mean?

You're not going crazy: you're dealing with a very recent abuse and assault and trauma. Al of what you've described here is all very common when we're in that place.

Would you like some help seeing what, if any, victim services may be within reach for you you could perhaps access more quickly than a week from now?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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I've just kinda been spurting out my feelings in various places (like here) while waiting for therapy. I don't even think that therapy is going to really do anything immediately, but it's just something to look forward to. I have tried out about 4 different therapists and every time after explaining the situation I'm just completely non-functional so in some regard I actually don't want to go to therapy.

I don't know what to do with myself in the meantime. I'm also in a place with very unsupportive administration and that makes my life a lot harder because if I exhibit depressive symptoms they might kick me out of school.

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Heather
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Well, therapy is often a very different thing than counseling, particularly with something like this, unless you're using those terms interchangeably?

We're certainly happy to talk with you, of course, and fill what gaps we can. I'm also happy to talk through your practical options per how your school is responding, reporting to actual authorities, not just your school (including you option to report the additional harassment from his wife, btw), and even seeing if we can't connect you with a pro bono lawyer, if you like, to protect you from things like getting expelled for being upset when the school, effectively, is the cause of your strife.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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FYI, if you're in the United States, and I think you are, it also sounds like your school may well be acting against Title X policies with sexual abuse and assault, which means that you may have the power and the right to do some serious asskicking with this.

In a word, they could get massive funding taken away if they don't act in accordance with those policies, so called out on them, they may well start behaving VERY differently than they have been.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(I'm afraid I have to head out for the day, nonlinear, but I'm happy to pick this up with you tomorrow morning. Also happy to schedule a time/make time to talk with you via our chat service if you want some help off the boards, or to brainstorm around how to counter your college's crappy way of responding here, and their nonsupport, in a direct service where information like which one it is isn't public.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Where exactly is the chat service?
I am in the states.
I need to talk but my situation is pretty complex and the school told me that my situation does not fall under title IX. For a while I was seeking out lawyers to help but once they heard that sexual contact had occurred more than once they refused to help because they said that made it sound like it was consensual. I've tried some hotlines but somehow they weren't very helpful. I'm afraid of burdening any of my friends with more of my whining.

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Heather
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Only swinging back before heading all the way out, so rushing, but if you go to the front page of the site, you'll see a "need help now" link which will get you there and to the other services.

If you want to leave me some times you can/want to make in the next day or two, I'm sure we can figure out a time we can connect that way, if that's what you'd like to do.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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I have an exam Friday but I could talk on Saturday or Friday afternoon, or either correspond via private message or email (not sure if that's even possible) tomorrow.
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Heather
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Why don't you go ahead and email us, using the contact link at the bottom of the page, and we can figure it out. I don't want you to have to wait any more than you have to.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Alright. I emailed. Thank you!
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Heather
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Of course: in a situation like this, we'll always do all we can to help.

In case it's not obvious, I was checking things really early in my time zone (I'm on the west coast), so it'll be a couple hours before I get to email, but when I do, you're first on my list, I assure you.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Update:

I'm fine these days. I passed all my classes. I am involved in extracurricular activities. I get out of bed every day, I eat alright, I exercise regularly. I'm not regularly triggered anymore. I can socialize with people and be friendly. I can recognize myself in pictures again. I no longer fit the criteria for PTSD. I no longer feel the need to tell anybody and everybody who is willing to listen what happened to me. I don't really think that the assault was my fault.

But I feel like I have subclinical... everything. I feel like I have a subclinical eating disorder that I somehow associate with the assault. I feel like I have subclinical depression (I just feel very down some days, can't pay attention to stuff sometimes...). I probably have subclinical PTSD. I know that buying food just to throw it away after chewing and spitting it out isn't normal. I eat healthy foods, but binging on carrots and apples ... the feeling of out-of-control eating is still there. My weight holds pretty steady and is normal for my height because the symptoms aren't so severe. Some days it's better, other days it's worse. I've had some issues with food in the past (like, ten years ago), and I recognize some of the mindset in me again, except this time it's definitely somehow linked to the assault. I've heard that this is not uncommon among people who have been assaulted or abused in some way, but it feels very isolating either way.

I waste hours searching for older men on Craigslist who might want to take advantage of me. I don't act on it because the strange mindset where I want to be taken advantage of is still generally transient. I'm not afraid that I'll act on things, because I won't, but the fact is, I still waste a lot of time browsing those ads.

I feel tainted still. I still feel like I'm dragging part of this assault around, but nothing rises to that level of seriousness such that it needs to be immediately addressed. What should I do? I'm also a minority, and it seems like all the therapists in my area are white. Because my assault was related to my ethnicity in some way, I think I'd feel a lot more comfortable with a minority counselor... but that hasn't really been an easy thing to find. [Frown] I don't know where to go from here. I could go on like this, I think, but it's not exactly that much fun, either.

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Heather
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Would you like us to see if we can't help you find counseling that feels more culturally/ethnically relevant to you?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Yeah, I guess that would be helpful. I don't know if I even need therapy at this point, since I'm so functional... I just get these bouts of unhappiness and I know that it's definitely somehow related to the assault. But I don't think it's as bad as it was a few months ago.
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Heather
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Personally, I think the right benchmark for figuring out if we need help is to just ask ourselves if we want help. If the answer is yes? Then we need help. You know?

So, I hear you reaching out for help, so let's see if we can't find you some. [Smile]

Mind posting or emailing your zip code so we can hunt around a bit for you and see what we can find? It'd also be helpful to know if you have insurance or a public healthcare plan that covers counseling or therapy.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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I'll email the zipcode.
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Heather
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Okay. I'll look around for you once it's in my inbox. [Smile]

Besides that, is there anything else I can do for you today? I'm happy to talk a little more about some of this with you that is in my wheelhouse if you'd like.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Yeah, I guess I just need to talk things out a bit to get myself in a mindset so that I'm more able to seek help... (?) I'm kinda discouraged that it's been so long and while I've come a long way, there are still all these residual symptoms.
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Heather
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You know, my experience,personally and professionally, is that healing from abuse and assault is a lifelong process.

I know that's not exactly an awesome prognosis, but I do find that at a certain point, the fact that it's something we do through our whole lives stops feeling so heavy and like an impediment.

I'd not say less than a year is really "so long," and it sounds to me like you've actually come a really long way so far, and made a whole lot of progress, especially considering some of the barriers you've had to deal with in that.

Is there any part of any of this specifically you'd like to talk some about today?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Btw, given where you are, yep, cultural diversity? Not so awesome.

My suggestion is to contact these folks: http://tubman.org/home/

They are in the Twin Cities, they have historically done a good job with cultural relevance in my experience, and I think if you call in there and tell them what you are looking for, they would either be able to make a referral or would make some calls around to find you a pool of therapists to consider that meet -- validly, I would say, in case you are feeling like for some reason wanting someone who personally understands being a cultural minority is somehow not valid -- your criteria

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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It's gotten to the point where I don't even feel comfortable bringing up the fact that the fact that I am a minority to caucasian counselors. Somebody (caucasian) told me that they had never noticed minorities being treated differently in any way, and that I was just victimizing myself, and that really hurt, because I really wasn't trying to make anything up-- I was assaulted by somebody who had a "preference" For people of my demographic and it has been hard to deal with. I've had counselors try to refer me to reading "battle hymn of the tiger mother." (like, wtf? Do they really think that reading a NYT bestseller on super-privileged, ivy league-gunning parenting will help me feel not so alone, especially when I didn't even grow up under that sort of household...?) I felt like the process of trying to find a minority counselor has made me feel even more isolated....

I guess the other thing is that I'm not sure if I have an eating disorder or some sort of disordered eating. ...

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Heather
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Oh, world of so much UGH.

That conversation sounds hideous. [Frown]

And I can certainly understand how looking for someone who gets it and finding that so hard has you feeling more isolated. I'm so sorry, that really, really stinks.

Generally, I'd say eating disorder and disordered eating are really terms for the same thing. And for sure, if you are routinely buying food to only chew it and spit it out, I'd say either of those terms are relevant here.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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I know it's bad and wrong and I'm just wasting money (and I'm super cheap as it is)... but somehow it's not enough to stop me from doing it. I don't do it so often that it puts any noticeable dent into my budget (which is still very thrifty) but it's more that it really chips away at my quality of life. I'll spend like two hours or three hours a day (time that could be spent studying) just throwing food away. It's so exhausting. But I've also heard that disordered eating, if diagnosed, can be seen as a pre-existing condition (actually, I've heard that being raped can be a pre-existing condition) and I would hate for that to be on my record, which is something that has been keeping me from wanting to seek help.
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Heather
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Being raped is not a "condition." It is an action someone does to someone else; something that when we have been raped, someone has done to us. Not sure where that framework is coming from or you are finding it, but I'd throw it in the rubbish bin.

I'm also not sure what you mean by your "record." But records for counseling and therapy, as with most healthcare, are private, and can only be shared with anyone with your express permission.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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I knew somebody who couldn't get health insurance because she had been treated for an eating disorder before. And I watched Miss Representation (that documentary?) and I think they mentioned that having been a victim of sexual assault can be viewed as a pre-existing condition in some cases. Maybe it's not true... I don't know how policies actually work.
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Heather
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If you release certain records to an insurance company, then yes, they can review them. But not if you do not.

I would advise you not to figure that a film like that one is giving you full or sound information on healthcare privacy policies, okay?

But here's the scoop: anytime you are seeking out care, you can ask about what their privacy policies are in advance, so please don't let those concerns stop you from seeking out help you want or need. Just go ahead and seek out that help, asking what you want to about privacy, and stating preferences when you have them, including things like the need or desire for care that stays totally confidential.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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nonlinear
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Right, but I mean, then it becomes an issue of... Do I want health insurance..? (Then I'm going to have to release those records to the insurance company, because they won't insure me without seeing those records first... so it's confidential, sure, but it's not really confidential.)
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Heather
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You do not have to release all your medical records to a health insurance company. And again, what someone has been treated for in therapy is usually confidential.

But again, this is something where who you need to talk to is the person or clinic providing the care: not everyone has the same privacy policies, so we have to find out what a given provider's are specifically, by asking.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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fluorite
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Hey, I just wanted to say that I recently got health insurance and I didn't have to give them my medical records (though I was told by family members that I would, so I think that's a common myth). I also asked the insurance agent if certain specialists in a variety of fields accepted the plan I wanted, so while I didn't say explicitly that I had any pre-existing condition, I think it was probably pretty obvious that I have several. And I still got the insurance. It is illegal for you to be denied under the Affordable Care Act (otherwise known as Obamacare). Good luck finding a therapist that you identify with. You definitely deserve it and the one you talked about sounds awful [Frown]
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