Conquering recovery after sexual abuse.

Conquering recovery after sexual abuse

How do you begin to conquering an eating disorder after sexual abuse?

Laurie comes to us with her story of how her eating disorder developed after being sexually assaulted in college, and how she used therapy to navigate towards recovery.


Coming into the summer, I always feel a sense of dread and stress. I feel uncomfortable about my body, a feeling which is so foreign but also so well known. Since I was 18, I’ve struggled with Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED)- previously known as ENDOS. I know that I can get through this, but for a time this didn’t feel possible.

The Assault;

On September 17, 2011, when I was 18, I was sexually assaulted by a student at my college. It was devastating and in the aftermath, I was forced to deal with the trauma on my own. Friends abandoned me in my time of need and I felt worthless. My college covered up the assault and this only added to my feelings of self-blame and self-hatred. I was overwhelmed with depression and anxiety and was self-harming. It was such a dark time for me.

I couldn’t cope with what had happened and in a desperate attempt to have some semblance of control in my life, I developed an eating disorder.

“With the weight of my trauma, my denial of my problems, and society’s perception of eating disorders, it took me years to recognize it for what it was.”

It started so small by cutting out snacks but quickly escalated to an obsession with food and how little I could eat.

Conquering Recovery after sexual abuse

Recognizing my Disorder;

Though I was working out for hours and limiting my food, I didn’t fit the strict criteria for anorexia or bulimia, so I was in denial that my problem was in fact, a problem. My BMI got lower, but not “dangerously” low. Friends, family, and even my doctor praised me for my weight loss.

I saw my doctor for a hip injury from overuse due to working out so much and she just praised my weight loss and refused to read between the lines.

The feeling of hunger gave me a sense of calm and control, but behind my smile and thinner form, I was miserable.

After four years of struggle and mental health deterioration, someone finally stepped in to help me. It was a hard road to accept my assault but therapy was key for this. When I was able to accept that I had been assaulted and that it wasn’t my fault, I could face the problems I had developed as a result.

Yes, it took years. Healing takes time.

It was also in a way freeing to know what I was struggling with and that my disorder was real, had a name, and that I wasn’t the only person in the world with this.

I learned coping skills for my depression and anxiety and ways to get through each day without punishing myself. Sharing my story with my therapist and gaining internal and external validation was so important too. I also met with a nutritionist and this helped immensely. I started eating better and although it was hard, it was worth it. Of course, getting healthy meant some changes in my body and that can still be hard to accept when something from when I was at my lowest no longer fits me. I’ve had to learn that holding on to clothing from when I was unwell is not healthy or productive.

Conquering recovery after sexual abuse.

Looking to the Future;

My eating disorder or this type of thinking can come up when I feel stressed and like I need a sense of control in my life. And of course, it can come up when the weather changes from comfy sweaters and pants to t-shirts and shorts. Perhaps even a bathing suit.

That feeling of stress and uncomfortableness can come up and feel so real and urgent, but I now have ways to keep myself healthy and not listen to that nagging voice that tells me to eat less, workout more, and hurt myself. I feel okay about the summer coming up. I know I can conquer it because I’ve done it before.

It can feel strange that I needed to recognize my disorder and name it, but now it no longer defines me because in naming and recognizing it, I faced it. When things were really hard, I didn’t think the life I have now was possible, but I’ve learned that therapy and time heal all wounds.



Laurie Katz is an elementary teacher, rape survivor, and advocate. She has written a book about her rape and recovery titled, Liar Laurie: Breaking the Silence on Sexual Assault, published by Trigger Publishing.

46 thoughts on “Conquering recovery after sexual abuse.

  1. Wow. I’m so sorry for what you went through but so proud of you for moving forward and getting to a point where you can share with others. You help to inspire those who are still in the darker place and don’t see an end. Thanks so much for this

  2. This is very powerful. Thank you for sharing your story! I too catch myself using food/hunger/workout as a way of control. There are parts of my life that I am slowly coming to terms with and accepting why I do the things I do relates to parts of my past.

    Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone!

  3. This is such a brave post and I’m so sorry for the journey you’ve had to go on before you have got to this part. I’m so glad someone was there to be able to step in though and that you were able to find a way of coping with things. A very inspirational post for those who may also not realise what they are struggling with.

  4. this is such a powerful article. I’m so sorry for all you have been through, thank you for sharing it with us and in doing so helping others. I’m glad you have found help, even though I can appreicate each day can be difficult.

  5. Wow! This got me. This cut me deep and I totally relate. I am proud you have not let this define you and like I always tell the strong babes in my circle, you are a Kinging Queen! KEEP WINNING!

    1. She’s so, so strong! Unbelievable how resilient some people can be. I’ll be sure to pass on your kind words! Thank you for reading 🙂

  6. This is such a powerful post, and very informative but so inspiring showing how real it is. Thankyou for sharing your story to help others 💗

  7. A wonderful post. Anorexia is a difficult thing to work through and the associated thoughts will always be in your subconscious but I’m so happy you were able to start your journey toward recovery.

    I developed anorexia around age 14 and it was very hard to break out of the destructive cycle I found myself in. So proud of your progress. x

    1. Anorexia is such a hard thing to break away from, especially when there is trauma involved such as in Laurie’s story. I hope you are doing better lately, and I’ll be sure to pass on your kind words.

  8. The endless additional repercussions that can arise from sexual assault are unbelievable. This is so heartbreaking that you’ve had to face multiple traumas, Laurie, but you must be such an incredibly strong person to have come out the other side.

    Thank you for sharing your story with others and highlighting also, who failed you. I feel it’s so important to recognise that we don’t always get the help we need from professionals, as speaking out is the only way to aim for improved services and personnel to help deal with these situations. I hope you have better friends around you now, too.

    Davis |

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and showing your support to Laurie. I couldn’t have been easy to talk about but I am so, so glad that she allowed me to share her story with you all.

  9. I’m sorry you had to experience this. But ladies all over need to hear your story. You never know how you can inspire someone else with your experience. Stay strong, stay beautiful

  10. Laurie, you look beautiful in that picture. Furthermore, you’re a survivor and a fighter. Shame on those who didn’t believe you and abandoned you when you needed them. Stay strong!

  11. I commend you love, not only for writing a post about your struggles, but creating an entire blog around it. I’m a survivor of sexual assault myself. At 15 my half brother rapped me and the spiral afterwards was awful & it rooms years and my husband to help me thru it, and no longer be a victim but a survivor. Thank you again for sharing something so intimate and raw. May the road ahead of you be strong and prosperous

    1. I’m so, so sorry you had to go through that. Thank you for having the strength and taking the time to read this post. I’ll be sure to pass on your message to Laurie, the original writer.

  12. First Off I’m sorry that you ever had to experience that sexual assault. I’m also sorry that you had to deal with the aftermath alone. I’m happy that you were able get to a point where you could express what you went through and how it affected you. As I always say to you you touch many with your blog keep up the great work I always enjoy reading!

  13. Wow, this is POWERFUL. You are incredibly brave for posting this. I think it’s incredible because you never know who needs to see this.

  14. So many times we are calling out for help but no one hears us. You are so brave and I love how positive you are. If you get a chance, I hope you can read the blog I posted that was written by my granddaughter.

  15. Laurie I am so sorry that this happened to you and that you weren’t believed and your struggle with food was ignored for so long.

    It is a real, systemic problem in society that when someone loses weight, even suddenly and drastic changes, we tend to congratulate them instead of asking them what is wrong.

    Congratulations on seeking help and building a healthier relationship with yourself <3

  16. Reading this broke my heart, but I’m grateful that there was an uplifting factor to it all. I dealt with several similar experiences, and it’s one of the most challenging things in the world to walk through – especially if you feel alone. But here’s to moving forward and embracing a new sense of self – pushing off the pain and growing stronger.

  17. The ability to recognize that sense of uncomfortableness and the voice of your ED is HUGE. I am so happy to hear that you have been able to reach that stage of recovery. While I am SO sorry that you had to go through this experience, the fact you are willing to be open and vulnerable like this, sharing your experience and using it as an opportunity to help others is a clear indication of just how strong you are.

  18. Thank you so much for sharing your story. It definitely helps bring more awareness to these challenges. I’m also happy that there was a positive to it, in that you will grow stronger.

  19. The same thing happened to me, except mine wasn’t starving myself, mine was overheating. I also had several bouts of anger, my entire life. I’m definitely wiser now, and really didn’t start discussing the sexual abuse that happened to me when I was five until very recently. The shame, the guilt… a lifetime of beating yourself up because you did something wrong, although it wasn’t really your guilt to hold onto. I’m sending a virtual hug.💚

  20. Your post is brave and insightful. I’m shocked how people in this day and age can’t recognize these clear and obvious signs! Power to you for taking control to heal and be better. All my love for your strength and journey!❤

  21. This was so HARD to read!! 😞 However, I can relate to this topic all too well. Mine didn’t happen in college. Mine happened when I was 11 and lasted up to a whole year. It was so rough. Affected me in terrible ways get made me stronger. You are so brave to share this post … your story! You are such a strong individual ♥️ Love you chick. Stay strong. Keep encouraging folks. Keep pushing other people through your pain. Great post!

    1. I am so, so sorry this happened to you. Thank you so much for sharing it with me even though I know it couldn’t have been easy. x

  22. Stunning post. So raw and truthful. You have amazing courage and a beautiful soul. You’re amazing 🙂x

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