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"The Tale" Dramatizes Trauma from Sexual Assault, but Viewers Should Know that Help is Available


“The Tale,” a new movie starring Laura Dern that will air on HBO on May 26, presents a compelling exploration of memory, sexual abuse and the resulting trauma from a patient’s perspective. Viewers should know that treatment options and resources exist and are available for anyone experiencing a similar situation.

The film was released at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year to wide acclaim and is an intensely personal telling of a real-life experience of writer and director Jennifer Fox. Fox’s film serves as a memoir account of an incident that began when she was 13 and that’s she had for decades remembered as a “relationship,” but in reality, is a case of childhood sexual abuse.

Stress resulting from disasters and traumatic events can have a profound impact on one’s life, one that is not always felt immediately. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has a dedicated webpage on coping with disaster and trauma, with tips and resources for both children and adults, and recommended steps to take to begin dealing with the stress that can follow a traumatic event.

Seeing an artist work through a traumatic episode from their past as Fox has done with “The Tale” is a unique, powerful and harrowing experience. While being open and honest is a healthy way to confront trauma, it can be difficult or even impossible to escape feelings of despondence or isolation that often result from stress caused by trauma.

Working through these issues with the guidance of a trained mental health professional is always advised when dealing with intense personal trauma such as an incident of sexual abuse.

In these instances, it is vital to remember that you are not alone, and there are people willing and able to help. With that in mind, APA’s pages for depression and PTSD have links to support group events, self-assessment tools and other resources designed to help patients and their families get the treatment and support they need to work through the lasting effects of trauma.

Thousands of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals have dedicated their lives to helping people cope with the traumas they have experienced. If you or someone you know is dealing with the after effects of trauma or abuse, don’t hesitate to visit the resources linked above or consult a physician, and remember that help and support are available should you need them.


Sexual TraumaDepressionPatients and FamiliesPTSD


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