KARACHI: While the psychological trauma of sexual abuse is often discussed and acknowledged, its physical implications are largely ignored.
Priyanka Paul, a 20-year-old illustrator and poet from India, took to Twitter earlier this week to speak on the issue. The artist-activist narrated her experience as a sexual assault survivor, and explained how the trauma robbed her of her ability to experience sexual pleasure.
“For as long as I can remember, or at least for most of my adult life or a couple of years before I turned 18 as well, I remember never having sensation in my breasts,” the artist said.
Paul used to believe that what she experiences, or the lack thereof, is a common occurrence.
“…For a long amount of time I thought that was normal. Maybe some women have sensation there and maybe some don’t, and maybe that’s true,” she said, adding that she always felt numb in her breasts and always wondered why that was so.
In her attempt to rationalise her experience, she convinced herself that it was a biological problem. But it did not help her feel any differently.
“[I] always felt lacking. We as a culture put so much of a woman’s worth into her breasts,” she said.
“Touch my hand, touch my boob, same feeling,” Paul said. But the realisation that it was indeed not biology, rather physiology, came when she had a conversation with her aunt about her body piercings.
“My aunt was telling her therapist about me, about how I got a piercing in one of my nipples,” she said. “Her therapist said that this was a common trend among sexual assault trauma patients.”