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Trauma and Abuse

Elizabeth Holmes and Her Potential Trial Defense Involving Intimate Partner Abuse

Elizabeth Holmes’ rise to fame and fall to infamy was spectacular in many ways. The youngest self-made female billionaire according to Forbes – a media darling – was soon after charged with defrauding patients and investors alike by covering up issues with what was thought-to-be a transformational technology. Shortly, Ms. Holmes will be going on trial to determine if her actions were indeed fraudulent. Regardless, of her guilt or innocence, her defense team may be using a rather uncommon approach to avoid a guilty verdict – that of intimate partner abuse.

Lady Justice holds the scales as trial begins for Elizabeth Holmes who plans to use a defense including intimate partner abuse.

This article is not meant to pass judgment, one way or another, on the defendants in this trial. Nor does it seek to offer an opinion on the validity of intimate partner abuse as defense for committing this or any crime. Rather, this case presents an opportunity to shine the spotlight on a very real problem for millions of Americans and what can be done to treat the effects of intimate partner abuse, which can include long-term mental illness and trauma along with substance abuse.

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Overcoming the Trauma of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, and the trauma it can cause, may leave a person feeling out of control, angry, frustrated, depressed, or anxious about the future. The psychological impact of abuse can linger for months and even years, preventing them from recovering and achieving success in their life. Unfortunately, sexual abuse is alarmingly common; more than 200,000 cases are reported each year in the United States. However, the majority of incidents go unreported, often out of fear, shame or guilt.

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The Role of Trauma in Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and trauma are often closely linked, which is why high-quality addiction treatment programs offer integrated treatment to address both. Alcohol, as well as prescribed and illicit drugs, are commonly used to cope with negative emotions and symptoms associated with exposure to trauma.

Commonly seen symptoms include (1):

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How are Sexual Abuse, PTSD and Addiction Related?

Around 18 percent of all women in the United States have been sexually assaulted in their lifetime, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which also points out that 81 percent of rape victims report significant short-term and long-term impacts after an assault.

According to the National Institute of Health, between 55 and 99 percent of all women who seek treatment for substance abuse or addiction have been sexually abused, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that women who experienced any type of sexual abuse as a child are around three times more likely than unabused women to become dependent on drugs or alcohol as adults.

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October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Domestic Violence Awareness month is celebrated every October.  Each year since 1981, the national campaign to increase awareness and decrease domestic violence has grown in proportion.  This year activities and events will be held around the country. Intimate partner violence and domestic violence are sometimes called the silent epidemic.  Many instances and cases of domestic violence go unreported, even in hospitals and medical settings.  While increased education and awareness among medical professionals have helped many victims seek help, there are still many more who do not have the strength to speak out. The Center for Disease Control and the National…

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The Prevalence of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is defined by the American Psychological Association as unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. The month of April, 2012 has been designated as Sexual Assault Awareness Month, so we here at Destination Hope: The Women’s Program felt this was a perfect time to bring this issue out of the dark and into the forefront of relevant conversation where it belongs. Sexual abuse is far more prevalent than many in our society realize, and unfortunately that’s in large part thanks to the social stigma that often…

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