Sexual violence is rife. Whether you’re a woman or someone from the LGBTQ+ community, chances are you’ve been sexually assaulted by a man. Sexual assault can range from everything from an unwarranted slap on the arse in a nightclub to rape.
When you’re assaulted, it can feel like you have lost a piece of yourself. It can feel like they took a little bit of it away when they acted without your consent.
It can leave you feeling lost, confused and questioning your self worth.
So here’s my take on how you can claim your body back after an assault. And it can feel like more than just claiming it back from that one incident. You’ll feel like you’re taking it back from every unwarranted comment when you’re walking down the street, from all the expectations society has of you and from the patriarchy.
Best Ways To Claim Your Body Back
- Grow Out Your Body Hair And Dye It
- Start Reading
- Remove People From Your Life
- Buy Something For Yourself Because You Love It
1. Grow Out Your Body Hair And Dye It
Since the beginning of lockdown, without the male gaze to distract, I have grown out my armpit hair for the first time in my life. It has faded from purples to pinks and from neon greens to hazy blues.
And honestly? It’s sexy AF.
Armpit hair is such a taboo in Western society and for me, this was a great way of making my body beautiful in my eyes. It didn’t matter what anyone else thought. Plus, it was incredibly FUN!!
How did I do it? You literally need this box of facial hair bleach and then a permanent box of whichever colour you fancy! You can go with semi-permanent, but they fade faster. I always prefer a purple permanent colour.
2. Start Reading
Knowledge really is power. And there’s so much brilliant literature out there, which really empathises with how you’re feeling. On top of that, it can help empower you into understanding the society we live in and all of its flaws. Helping you to grow out of any negative experience.
For me, Florence Given’s Women Don’t Owe You Pretty helped me verbalise lots of what I was feeling.
3. Remove People From Your Life
Your energy is sacred. Say it out loud… MY ENERGY IS SACRED.
Do you feel like there’s some people in your life who are sapping your emotional energy? This can be especially draining if you’re recovering from sexual assault. Particularly if you have confided in them and you feel as though they didn’t empathise OR if they defended the perpetrator.
It might be that these people aren’t worth your time or energy. And it’s okay to remove people from your life – it’s a natural part of growth and finding ‘your people’.
It’s time to start telling yourself how amazing you are. Every day.
Affirmations are actually proven to reduce anxiety and improve problem solving in stressful situations. So they’ll really help you to build up your confidence after it has been knocked.
You can write your favourite affirmations on your mirror, so you say them out loud right after you brush your teeth!
5. Buy Something For Yourself Because You Love It
If you’re a bit of a people pleaser, it’s not easy to regularly buy something for yourself. This small act of kindness and love towards yourself is another way to build yourself back up after your confidence has been knocked.
For me, it’s a coffee every Saturday morning and a weighted blanket. Two small things that make me feel great and are entirely for me.
I hope these tips will help you to claim ownership back over your body if you have been sexually assaulted. If you have any more tips, comment below!