frozen

**Sexual assault Trigger 

You can also skip to the end and read the personal message for men and women.

Exactly five years ago, I went to a birthday party of a beloved friend where I knew very few people.
I sat in the living room on one of the beanbags and the person who hosted the party at his house was sitting next to me.

At first, it was pleasant because I did not feel alone but slowly his presence was more threatening, intrusive and frightening for me.
Having a history of sexual abuse, I was aware of how sensitive the subject was to me and realized how distressed my body felt.

He clung to me again and put a hand on my shoulder and my entire body shouted, 'I do not want to!'
yet I did not say anything.
I said to myself, 'It's not so bad, soon he'll talk to someone else, and the important thing is that I stay nice.'

I smiled at him. He must have interpreted that I liked him so he put another hand on my leg.
I sat there frightened, frozen, longing for it to stop and for him to get away.

The fear and distress were growing in me, and still- I kept silent.
I said to myself, it's ok, soon it will be over,
He will see that I am not interested and go. "
I was so scared I could hardly breathe. The feeling was so intense I had no idea what is going on with the rest of the people in the room.

Some people played unfamiliar songs, I wanted to die and still- I remained silent and didn't move.
I prayed that he would go away.

After a while with his hands on me, I realized that I was as a rabbit caught in his trap. That it was actually too late and I had no way to escape.. My muscles were not responding to my desire to get up and move and I just had to wait for it to end.
Frozen, not breathing, frightened and in great distress.

Then he got up, he had to bring something from the other room.
I had to go to the bathroom and realized this was my chance to escape…I ran to the bathroom before he could see me.

I was in the bathroom and when I opened the door to get out, he stood there in front of me, blocking the bathroom door.
Scared to death, I had no idea what to do in this situation. Then he asked me 'Want to come and see my bedroom?'
My answer was, "Of course not … I prefer to jump off the roof," but I could not answer him.
I had no voice.

He was walking me to his bedroom and I said to myself, 'I wish I had the strength to escape from here now,' but no muscle in my body moved.

He put me on his bed and laid down on me and before he could do much more I managed to gather myself, through myself down on the floor and run back to the living room where all the people were.

Why am I telling you all this?
I came home very ashamed that day. I felt enormous amount of guilt. I was angry with myself.

I already had my clinic for emotional therapy at that time. I accompanied sexual assault victims. It was my life mission after experiencing ongoing sexual abuse as a little girl.

I learned self-defense in the Dennis Survival method. I knew how to get out of many situations. However, no one prepared me for what to do when my body goes into Freeze

What to do when I have no voice and no muscle is listening to me?
When no one is violent to me in an obvious way, and still I can't tell them no?

Today I can say that this event was one of the most significant events that happened to me in my life. My life got an amazing upgrade and insight that I would not have dreamed of even in my wildest imagination.

I have a message for women and a message to men. Sorry in advance if it hurts anyone. I hope you will not stone me.

Message to men:
How will I know that the woman in front of me is frozen? That she does not really want what I am offering her right now?
There are some signs:
Her body is cold, stiff and her breathing is shallow.

If you think it is the case, stop and ask her, 'How are you? Are you doing ok? What do you need right now?
Sometimes we do not know if the woman in front of us is really saying 'yes' to the situation. If you are not sure, you can ask her 'What do you want to happen now'
And wait.
Do not continue until she says what she really wants to happen. You can also ask: 'Are you really sure that's what you want?' Then hear what the answer is.

'Yes' is not necessarily always 'yes'.
A look at the eyes, a nod with the head are not necessarily always a 'yes'.
Since we were raised to do what we are told, to be wanted, to be nice, to cooperate, sometimes our 'yes' does not reflect an accurate truth from within us.
If you really want to know if the woman in front of you is saying 'yes', look for a strong 'yes'. In English we call it HELL YEAH!

"Maybe" is a NO.
'I think so,' is a NO.
'It seems to me like I want to' is a NO..

So what is a YES?
Just 'yes, please yes', is a YES.
So if you want to practice your listening to the woman in front of you, you can check when her YES is honest. When it is a 'yes, please yes' then you are probably in the right direction.

Message to women:
There are three defense mechanisms for an attack: FIGHT / FLIGHT / FREEZE.
It is not always possible to choose our response and sometimes our system chooses it for us.

If you get into FREEZE, get to know how it feels in your body. Check out what it means to feel the FREEZE.
The coldness, the stiffness, the fear… learn about the physical experience inside you and when you enter it and you recognize that it is there, try to stop everything and just move aside, no matter who you are with and what is happening. Take yourself and move aside. Say 'stop', I have to move. '

Then contact someone who can help you understand what happens to you. Who could listen to you and agree to help. Share, consult and receive support.

Another option is to go and see a therapist that can teach you how to say 'Stop' or, 'Excuse me, what do you think you're doing?' This is not acceptable to me'.

The FREEZE is an automatic reaction but there are tools you can use to get out of it. I have learned this first hand.
I am sharing the knowledge that I have accumulated during my life in workshops I host for groups of women.
I wish I had such a group for personal development a few years ago.

If you want to learn more write to me or call me.

Love,
Tal.