“I had no idea…it was more than just a diet.”

“I had no idea…guys can also experience eating disorders.” 

“I had no idea…the bodies and faces I see in those ads are completely Photoshopped.”


February 22nd-28th is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2015.   This year’s theme, “I had no idea,” sounded so familiar – especially as more and more local and national conversations about sexual assault arise.  Much like sexual violence and survivors of sexual violence, there are a lot of misconceptions about eating disorders and people who experience them.

“This year the National Eating Disorders Association is focusing on the importance of early intervention and recognizing the diverse experiences of people personally affected by disordered eating. Too often, signs and symptoms are overlooked as insignificant behaviors when in fact many of these are early warning signs of eating disorders.”

Twenty million women and ten million men experience a diagnosable eating disorder at some time in their lives.  Many times, they struggle alone because of stigma and shame.  There are a number of ways we, as advocates and practitioners in the anti-sexual violence movement, can raise awareness and inform our practice this week (and year-round):

  • Follow the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) on Twitter. Like them on Facebook. Add them on Tumblr. SHARE posted resources with the folks in your social networks.
  • Learn more about emerging research connecting sexual trauma and eating disorder behaviors – there are a number of resources to help practitioners find ways to strengthen practice.
  • Push back against media portrayals and images.  Critical media literacy can play an important role in shifting norms that allow sexual violence and dangerous appearance expectations.  Let’s equip ourselves with the skills and tools to think more critically about what we see.

There is help available if you want to reach out for help or to support someone you care about.  NEDA runs a national information and referral hotline at 1-800-931-2237.  You can also visit their website for a live chat and more information.