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 Homeopathy: Healing Sexual Abuse 

I was one of those people who just couldn't imagine that sexual abuse was so pre- valent. I was raised in a family which, though it had its problems, was free of alcoholism and sexual abuse. Incest was never mentioned as I grew up, nor was it discussed in my two years of postgraduate training in psychiatric social work at the UW from l974-76. Part of my job as an emergency room social worker at Harborview was to receive and comfort sexual assault victims, document the sordid details of the rape, and assist in a pelvic exam to gather legal evidence. The subject of incest came up infrequently in the case of neglected or abused children in conjunction with Children's Protective Services. Otherwise, even in the progressive and open social work atmosphere at Harborview, it was still a relatively undiscovered subject. I began to get an inkling of the impact of sexual abuse during a Steven Levine seminar on relationships four years ago when about 25% of the women attending admitted to having experienced it personally. I was still in disbelief.

It has been only in the past three years in working intensively with women that my eyes have been opened to the stark reality of sexual abuse. I have heard woman after woman pour out her heart to me about the pain and suffering they have experienced around being sexually threatened, molested, or violated. Since it essential for me as a homeopathic doctor and counselor to throughly understand each of my patients, I have elicited many shocking stories from my patients. My continual response is one of sadness and amazement that such gentle, loving women have had, for whatever reason, to experience such pain, violence, disillusionment, and emotional suffering sometimes lasting a lifetime.

I remember starting to cry when a particularly sensitive and gentle woman told me how her father would crawl into bed with her several times a week, fondle her breasts, and force her to have intercourse with him. He was drunk and threatened to hurt her even more if she ever told anyone about it. She was only four at the beginning, had absolutely no idea what he was doing, whether it was wrong, or how she was supposed to respond. So, she withdrew, turned herself on "automatic" and left her body every time she was incested. It provided an escape for six years but turning herself off sexually no longer worked now that she was married and very much in love with her husband.

Another woman I saw recently was also forced to stroke her father's penis repeatedly from the time she was ll to l7. She describes herself as rather naive and emotionally immature. When she was l9 she went to work for a medical doctor who, before he started seeing his patients, would tell her to get up on the table every morning for "an exam". As unlikely as it seems, she did so for a year. Because of her long history of incest, she still had no concept of healthy sex. She now has a tremendous aversion to making love with her partner.

I was recently invited to Winthrop, Washington and spoke to about 30 women on PMS and menopause. One of the women who approached me after the talk to make an appointment looked at me teary-eyed, said she couldn't really tell me at that time what was going on, but thought at counseling appointment was what she needed. When I saw her individually, she immediately started crying and recounted to me her story of sexual abuse by her brother. She had a very happy l0-year marriage and two children but never had the courage to tell her husband about the incest because he and her brother were very close and she feared their friendship would be destroyed once he knew what her brother had done. I was the first person she had ever really told about it and she was greatly relieved when I suggested that she did share it all with her husband. She had wanted to tell him desperately and just needed some encouragement to do so.

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 About The Author
Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman ND, MSWJudyth Reichenberg-Ullman, ND, DHANP, MSW is a licensed naturopathic physician board certified in homeopathic medicine. She graduated with a degree in ...more
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