Why Many Survivors Struggle with Acquaintance Rape

“The consequences of acquaintance rape are often far-reaching. Once the actual rape has occurred and has been identified as rape by the survivor, she is faced with the decision of whether to disclose to anyone what has happened… The percentage of survivors reporting the rape is so low for several reasons. Self-blame is a recurring response which prevents disclosure. Even if the act has been conceived as rape by the survivor, there is often an accompanying guilt about not seeing the sexual assault coming before it was too late. This is often directly or indirectly reinforced by the reactions of family or friends in the form of questioning the survivor’s decisions… People normally relied upon for support by the survivor are not immune to subtly blaming the victim. Another factor which inhibits reporting is the anticipated response of the authorities. Fear that the victim will again be blamed adds to apprehension about interrogation. The duress of reexperiencing the attack and testifying at a trial, and a low conviction rate for acquaintance rapists, are considerations as well.”

American Academy of Experts on Traumatic Stress

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2 thoughts on “Why Many Survivors Struggle with Acquaintance Rape

  1. I am currently dealing with this issue. I recently was raped by an acquaintance and I am married. I thought for a while that I was in an affair– although I clearly told my acquaintance that I was not interested in sex with him. He proceeded, harassed and eventually assaulted me. I was drunk at the time of the sexual encounter and felt so ashamed that it happened that I blamed myself for not fighting back. My husband is convinced that I cheated on him and is now divorcing me. Recently, my job investigated the allegations (made by my husband) about my relationship with this friend. I told them it was not conceptual. Now my job wants me to make a report for rape. I am so confused about what to do. I was traumatized in the assault, then by my husband and now my work. I am mostly concerned about having to deal with this issue any further. Its just too emotional going through a divorce I don’t want and having to prosecute.

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    • That’s horrible of your husband to do right now. I’m so sorry it happened to you and you have to go through a divorce. I’m currently going through one right now and its killer. I haven’t even been able to heal/focus on my past because of him. It shouldn’t be anyone’s right but yours to report it and endure a trial. Have you sought out therapy or support groups? I’ve been in a few and they’ve been extremely helpful to me. It is a tough time in your life and others who get this devastation could definitely help you get through it all. Therapy, support groups, and online support groups. If you need someone to talk or vent to or need help finding what’s best for you, let me know. More than willing to help. I was lucky to find what helped me and can only hope others find their path to healing. Thank you for the comment and bravery in doing so.

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