Self-injury (aka cutting) has gotten a lot more attention in the last few years. One of the results of this has been to make some cutters more defensive about what they do.
I’ve heard girls say things like, "Why do people care so much? It’s not like I’m hurting anyone else." Others explain that they are not suicidal, and that self-injury is just the best way they have found to release emotional pain.
I understand this logic. But the problem with it is that in addition to the fact that a cutter may accidentally injure herself more seriously than she intends, cutting is a band aid solution. It’s not a long term cure. So while cutting might temporarily make someone feel better by distracting them from their issues, it’s not going to make those issues go away.
Adding to these concerns about cutting is a new one. A recent study found that girls who cut, are also less likely to use condoms when they have sex.
According to WebMD,
"Self-cutters were three-and-a-half times more likely to report infrequent condom use than teens who did not self-cut."
A lot of cutters have been victims of sexual abuse or rape. Survivors of sex crimes often have feelings of worthlessness, especially when it comes to sex. Many can’t speak up about using condoms. Others just don’t see the point.
Though many cutters don’t realize it, a lot of the issues that drive them to self injure can be helped. Counseling doesn’t offer instant results, but it can make a big difference. Having to deal with a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy can make a big difference too. But that usually isn’t the kind of difference that someone who is cutting needs to add to her plate.
What do you think?
Photo provided by natalie_guinsler