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PTSD is just one example of the lasting impact of rape. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this mental health condition is life threatening.

By Shanon Lee
Trigger Warning: description of rape, violence and PTSD.
Somehow, I was back to that familiar place. Moments after waking up drenched in sweat, I lie still in bed – waiting for my heart to stop racing and for the feeling to return to my body. I was safe. It's been twenty years since I was raped, but PTSD makes it feel like it wasn't that long ago.  My nightmares are frequent, every dream is the same: my ex has found me and is going to finish me off. I'm walking leisurely along the beach, unaware that he is only a footstep behind me. I never see his face, I only hear his voice saying my name moments before he fires his gun. Days earlier, I accused my boyfriend of grabbing me by the ankles as I slept. That morning, I woke to find him standing at the foot of our bed and screamed. He was just saying goodbye before heading to work. I was experiencing flashbacks of the morning I was attacked. The scars from being dragged across the floor by my ankles as I struggled to escape have faded from my skin, but not my memory.
Related: IS IT RAPE WHEN YOUR PARTNER REMOVES THE CONDOM WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT?

I firmly believe that one cannot utter the words Black Lives Matter and exclude Black sex workers.

I am a semi-out sex worker. By semi-out I mean I’m internet out: I haven’t announced anything to most of my family and the “in-real-life” people who need to know, know. I have dabbled in a bit of everything, from stripping to prostitution to sugaring to camming. I am also an artist, freelancer and homeschooling mother, so there is a lot of nuance in what I desire out of life for my son and I. My only other avenue would be minimum or below-poverty level wages. When I write, I focus on sex workers of color. Most of the time I narrow it even further to Black sex workers and Black trans sex workers who face the most ire, discrimination and violence from both the police and within the Black community. I wrote a series of Twitter threads on sex work that discussed sex worker rights and briefly mentioned our place in Black Lives Matter. Here is one of them.
Related: FOR BLACK SEX WORKERS, THE DECK IS ALREADY STACKED AGAINST US

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