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With triggers everywhere, sexual assault trauma can continue for years

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For some, the memory of a sexual assault might be triggered by entering a room with white walls, the scent of a stranger or even his height. For most survivors, the harm lasts a lot longer than the day they were abused.

Chicagoan Natalie Kish says she was raped five years ago and the effects of that assault continue to surface. Kish, who carried a knife for two years after her assault, hears echoes of questions asked of her in a courtroom as she watches the news surrounding Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, accused of sexual assault and misconduct.

Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault in 1982, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh Thursday in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.
Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a sexual assault in 1982, testifies before a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing for Kavanaugh Thursday in Washington, DC. A professor at Palo Alto University and a research psychologist at the Stanford University School of Medicine, Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her during a party in 1982 when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.  (Jim Bourg-Pool / GETTY IMAGES)

Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s former classmate, has accused him of sexually assaulting her in high school. Kavanaugh denies the accusation. He and Ford testified in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Two more women have come forward accusing Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct. Kavanaugh has also denied those allegations.

Sarah Layden, director of programs and public policy at Resilience, formerly Rape Victim Advocates, said many things trigger memories of an assault. “It can happen in ways that might seem kind of mundane to other people but could have a real impact on somebody,” she said, adding that “I’ve worked with clients that have had a fear of white walls in apartments or houses, because when they were assaulted, that was the room that they were in.”

In college in 2013, Kish was sleeping when she said a man who was a friend of a friend came into her bedroom and raped her. She felt unsafe years later, even after moving to a different city. “I would try to always be with somebody when I could,” she said. “I very distinctly remember walking on the streets and always looking over my shoulder.”

Later, she realized how the assault had affected relationships with family members and friends. Some were not sure how to be supportive, and she ended up backing away from them. She said she realizes now that many survivors need support from those around them, but many people don’t know how to provide that, which is why education on this issue is important. Kish is now able to reflect on those relationships and work on repairing some. It’s also given her a good understanding of the type of empathetic, understanding people she wants in her life.

Romantic relationships after an assault are also heavily affected.

“Sex is used as a weapon in sexual assault,” Layden said. “Similar to how a survivor of gun violence or other types of street violence might be triggered when they see a gun or hear a gunshot, for some survivors, they may need to reorient themselves to consensual sex and learn how to enjoy that type of touch again, because it is essentially the same act that caused them such harm and such trauma.”

Months after the assault, Kish told a man she was dating what had happened. “He told me that I was overreacting and that I was letting this control my life,” she said. “I ended that relationship pretty quickly.”

Another place survivors may feel vulnerable is in a doctor’s office, during an intrusive exam. More physicians are discussing how to provide trauma-informed care. Chicago obstetrician Dr. Laura Laursen is sure to ask patients whether they feel safe at home and if they have ever experienced physical, emotional or sexual assault.

“If they kind of cringe at that, I explain it a little more and say, ‘Has anyone done anything to you sexually that you didn’t want them to?’” she said. She also prefaces the conversation by explaining she is about to ask sensitive questions, ones she asks each patient, “so they don’t think I’m singling them out.”

Layden said the #MeToo movement has created necessary awareness but also constant reminders for survivors.

“It can keep these conversations continuing at a national level, which may be conversations that many survivors may not be ready to engage in or may be at a place in their life where they don’t want to be reminded of that,” she said.

Resilience estimates that 7 out of 10 assaults were committed by people the victim knew; being in a continued relationship with family or friends who knew the attacker is another way an event stays present in someone’s life.

For Kish, the Kavanaugh hearings are bringing back memories of something she now feels a good distance away from. She said the backlash against Ford, and the ways others alleging assault are treated, seems to ignore the impact the crime has on someone’s life. And in the questions asked of Ford —was she drinking? Why doesn’t she remember more? —she’s reminded of the questions she faced in a courtroom years ago.

“There was so much that they kept asking, like ‘How much were you drinking? Were you drunk? What were you wearing?’ “ she said. “You’re just constantly reminded.”

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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