Abigail Breslin Opens Up About Her PTSD Experience To Raise Awareness About Domestic Violence

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The effects of domestic violence, sexual harassment, and rape on survivors can last long after the assault. For some, it never goes away. So many people hide the trauma and emotional scars from these experiences because of the shame or pain they feel. Both men and women who have experienced domestic violence or sexual assault can be subjected to horrible stigma that prevents them from coming forward

They worry that people will start to think of them differently or, worse, that others won't believe them, or that they will be victim-blamed. They worry about not being accepted or being seen as weak. Many don't want to relive the pain by sharing what they went through and facing the reactions of others. This is all completely understandable given the way we've seen sexual assault treated so poorly time and time again in the U.S. 

But those who are ready to speak out about their experiences can help to fight stigma and encourage people to get the resources they need. Actress Abigail Breslin recently opened up about her experience on Instagram for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which takes place every October. 

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"I'm a domestic violence and sexual assault survivor," the 21-year-old wrote. "While I now am no longer with my abuser, in the aftermath of what happened to me, I developed Complex PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)." 

Someone can be diagnosed with complex PTSD after experiencing severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma. This trauma can continue or repeat for months or years at a time. It can affect people who experienced long-term domestic violence, long-term sexual abuse, long-term physical abuse, as well as other traumatic situations in which someone is under the control of a perpetrator. 

People who have complex PTSD may experience difficulties in emotional regulation, consciousness, self-perception, distorted perceptions of the perpetrator, relations with others, and have a sense of hopelessness and despair, according to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.  

In her post, Breslin shared a photo that shows a bleeding cut on her leg. 

"I took this pic of my ankle a few hours ago right after one of my 'episodes' as I call them," she explained. "I was so freaked out and disoriented, I slipped and fell on a piece of glass. Usually they occur right after I've been triggered ... problem is, triggers are often very hard to detect. Which is exactly why #DomesticViolenceAwarenessMonth is so important. We must keep the discussion open." 

Earlier this year, Breslin bravely opened up about her experience in an effort to dispel the myth that sexual assault cannot occur within relationships. She revealed she had been raped by someone she was in a relationship with, but didn't report her assault for many reasons, including fear of not being believed and the desire not to be viewed as a victim. 

Breslin admitted it wasn't easy to share the photo of her recent episode, she realized it was important to use her platform as a reminder to others that their experiences with assault are not their fault. 

"While at first I felt this was very awkward and uncomfortable to post, I reminded myself of something I say often: PTSD is absolutely NOTHING to be ashamed or embarrassed about," she wrote. "PTSD is the result of an uncontrollable scenario. Never feel like you are less than because you have a condition that you didn't cause. You are still beautiful, you are still important, you are still WORTHY."

If you or a loved one are a victim of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or 800-656-4673. 

Cover image via DFree / Shutterstock.com

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