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Lafayette professionals expand on sexual abuse after #MeToo march

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Lafayette, LA -

The anti-sexual abuse movement that sparked the viral #MeToo hashtag remains at the center of international attention.

Over the weekend, a march and rally for sexual assault survivors in Hollywood caught the eye of many here in Acadiana.

Lafayette psychologists say the issue, and its lasting effects on victims, won't be going away any time soon.
 
"I wasn't surprised that this was coming up, because I'm seeing in my practice more people being willing to talk about it, so I think there's just an energy in the country," said Pat Landeche, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker.

Still, movements like the one behind #MeToo come with concerns.

"Because what usually happens to people who come forward and talk about is they're the ones who get blamed, 'Oh well you're making it up. You're making a big deal.' A lot of women will be told, 'Well it's not happening anymore,'" said Landeche.

But what professionals and the sexual abuse victims they help want to make clear is that the trauma left behind by sexual abuse may never go away.

"I know the pain about it. I'm still having just flashbacks of the time and it will never go away. I feel for people who have been sexually abused. It just never goes away," said Jaylan Thompson, who supports the #MeToo campaign.

"Hearing something, seeing something, smelling something that causes them to remember an unpleasant memory of what they've been through. That's the same regardless of the trauma. So, it doesn't matter if it's a trauma from combat or if it's a trauma from something like a sexual assault or sexual harassment even," said Clinical Psychologist Dr. Sasha Lambert.

"The physical abuse, you get over that in no time. The sexual abuse, you get over that in no time. What you can't get over is the abuse it does to your soul. You're treated like an object," said Landeche.

She says that's why speaking up can be nearly impossible for some victims.

"The hope for anyone who has suffered from sexual abuse is that the day will come that when someone is abused, they can talk about it right away," said Landeche.

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