The Sad Reasons Eating Disorders and Sexual Assault are Linked

Woman grabbing stomach

Sure, say all you want about Kesha’s music (I for one am a fan of her ridiculous, I-know-what-I’m-doing excess), but she’s a strong woman. And she’s one of the first people who has talked about how eating disorders and sexual assault are related.

A few weeks ago, Kesha “went forth with a lawsuit” against Dr. Luke, her former manager. The lawsuit claims that Dr. Luke “drugged her, sexually abused her and physically assaulted her.” Kesha revealed this information to her doctors when she was in rehab for bulimia, Jezebel reports.

Sources have claimed that Kesha didn’t come forward about the assault (or press charges) earlier because she had been with Luke for more than eight years. She didn’t feel like she had free will.

This story really rang true to me because I, similar to Kesha, was sexually assaulted and subsequently developed an eating disorder (anorexia, to be exact). I didn’t see the link at the time, but after a few years had passed and I went through some successful therapy, I realized the two incidents were related.

I always assumed that I wanted to be thinner to fit in, or whatever, but after a lot of reflection, I realized it was a way to cope with the assault. I was quite young when it happened and it took me years to fully realize what had really gone down. But once I did, it was totally obvious that all that “control” I had over my eating was linked to the lack of control I had when I was assaulted.

Sadly, Kesha’s story and my story aren’t uncommon. In fact, another awesome woman revealed her story of sexual assault and anorexia recently on XOJane. However disturbing, though, these stories need to be shared.

Many people who don’t know better often shrug of eating disorders as no big deal. Like the XOJane author states, thanks to mainstream media portrayal, many people think anorexia and bulimia are diseases that relatively well-off girls who just want to be thin have. Truth is, these diseases are so much more, and they need to be respected.

I hope that Kesha’s story can help others who have been assaulted and have developed an eating disorder. None of us are alone and we sure as hell aren’t weak. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.

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Image: Christy Mckenna

Abbie Stutzer

Writer, editor, and owner of Ginchy!, a freelance writing and editing company, and home funeral hub. Adores smart sex ed, sustainable ag, spooky history, women's health, feminism, horror, wine, and sci-fi.