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Eating disorders are a sadly common part of sexual assault. Rape takes away control, and sometimes survivors attempt to regain control over their bodies by rigorous starving and exercise. Overeating and rapid weight-gain after rape is seen by some survivors as a means of making themselves too unattractive to draw attention from another rapist.

If you believe you may have an eating disorder, please seek medical help and counselling immediately.
Below are some resources.

Mary Jane by Alanis Morissette

What is Anorexia?

Anorexia is an eating disorder. A person suffering from Anorexia is obsessed with keeping their weight down, usually to an very unhealthy extreme. Survivors are prone to anorexia because it is a disease which thrives on low self-esteem, something that results from sexual assault. Anorexia can be deadly and needs to be treated. In most cases this involves dealing with the underlying cause of Anorexia, the trauma of sexual assault.

Warning Signs:

  • Abnormally afraid of becoming fat.
  • Calorie and/or fat gram counting.
  • Restriction of food.
  • Starvation dieting.
  • The use of diet pills to control weight.
  • Amenorrhea - The absence of at least three consecutive menstrual cycles.
  • Body weight less than 85% of that expected for one's age and height.
  • Eating junk food (usually candy), drinking a lot of coffee or tea, and/or smoking to control hunger pains.

What to do:

Anorexia is a serious disorder which needs immediate attention. Therapy is usually necessary to deal with the underlying cause of anorexia and medical attention may be necessary to repair the damage done by losing large amounts of weight.

What is Bulimia?

Bulimia is an eating disorder. A person suffering from bulimia binges (eats a large quantity of food) and then purges (either induces vomiting or takes laxatives so that food will not be digested and will pass directly through the body). Bulimia, like Anorexia can be deadly and has underlying emotional causes.

Warning Signs:

  • Self-induced vomiting.
  • Using laxatives to prevent weight gain.
  • An obsession with gaining weight.
  • A fascination with food - buying cookbooks and food magazines.
  • Rapid consumption of large amounts of food.
  • Extreme guilt over food eaten.

Eating Disorder Resources

"What is the matter with Mary Jane?
She's crying with all her might and main,
And she won't eat her dinner - rice pudding again -
What is the matter with Mary Jane?"

~A.A Milne

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