Truth is defined as that which is in accordance with fact or reality. The difference between truth and fact: a fact is something that cannot be challenged with reasoning, while truth is something that depends on a person's perspective and experience.

The recent high profile cases involving Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Cosby, Russell Simmons, and Harvey Weinstein have many questioning the extreme differences in perception of events that occurred between two individuals. While perception is not necessarily fact, what is considered truth by an individual can actually be in accordance with their reality.

According to the United States Department of Justice, sexual assault is “any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.” Sexual assault is a blanket term that includes non-consented sexual activities such as rape, fondling, and attempted rape.

When the validity of events like sexual assault are called into question, relying on personal recall often becomes controversial and divisive very quickly. Depression, stress, excessive alcohol and drug use, physical and emotional trauma can all contribute to memory loss. As the national debate surrounding the interpretation and reporting of sexual assault rages on, the impact of trauma on memory and perception must be acknowledged.

According to the American Psychological Association, trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, rape or natural disaster. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer-term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. When events like the Kavanaugh Hearings play out in front of us, it is important to understand that trauma is personal. The person experiencing it defines the trauma event. While we cannot control how people experience us, or how they experience the things we do, it is important to understand there is truth in trauma. The trauma is your truth and it is real.

If you are a victim of sexual assault and are in immediate danger, call 911. To find help, call one of the following national hotlines:

If managing the impact of traumatic events in your life is proving to be an emotional challenge for you, Brooklyn Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC can help. Our private practice offers professional counseling services in a safe, confidential environment either in office, via phone, or online. Do not wait another minute. Contact us today!

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