Just a Little Angry

Rape is not an opinion. Rape is a fact. A cruel and emotional damaging fact.

‎”No” is not consent, “Please stop” is not consent, Fighting back is not consent, Silence is not consent. Rape isn’t always fighting back, screaming, and saying “don’t rape me”. No is enough. I’m not ready is enough. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Instead of teaching sex education. How about teaching rape education. Apparently, many don’t know what it means to rape or be raped, and they definitely don’t know how the effects harm the victim. Teach them that no really does mean NO. I.E. You pursue further, you are RAPING someone. That you don’t have to fight back for it to be rape. In fact, it could make it worse. How about teaching boys and girls how to respect each other AND themselves.

I don’t think I am making any sense, as I am a little angry, but hopefully yall can get what I am trying to say. It just amazes me that nobody knows what rape is until they have to confront their past or what just happened to them? How do we get this to change?

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Freezing During Rape is Normal

This is all well worth reading! The last part especially. I have been going back and forth in my head and beating myself up tonight. So, when I read this, it definitely helped me with that. The whole FREEZING thing gets to me all the time. How could he see it not as rape? Hmmm. Well, if you need a little help in that department, its a good read. If you’ve never been a rape victim, this is very educational. I know A LOT of people who need to read this. Mostly Family!

Freezing and paralysis during rape
from Resurrection After Rape by Matt Atkinson, LCSW
http://www.resurrectionafterrape.org/

“I just lay there and took it!”

At first, few rape victims can tolerate alternate explanations for their rapes. For example, you may habitually tell yourself “I should have fought more,” without considering the possibility that you might have been harmed even worse had you done so. Because rape is about power and control, a rapist will use a level of aggression that exceeds any resistance in order to maintain that control. Furthermore, during a traumatic assault the body’s sympathetic nervous system takes over, instinctively regulating your behaviors for the sake of survival. That means your conscious mind stops choosing what to do, and your physical systems grab control, producing one of three basic responses: fight, flee, or freeze.

All three instincts have helpful and harmful aspects about them; they may either increase or decrease your safety. But contrary to what we see in movies and what we read in booklets promoted by the self-defense industry, the “fight instinct” is actually rather rare in both men and women. By far the most common instinct is the “freeze instinct,” in which the body becomes very still, rigid, and silent. This is called “tonic immobility,” and is a simple survival behavior. During rape, temporary paralysis is very common (it occurs in up to 88% of rape victims during the assault, according to studies) and entirely normal, and probably even quite healthy. (source: Heidt, J. M., Marx, B. P., & Forsyth, J. P. (2005). Tonic immobility and childhood sexual abuse: Evaluating the sequela of rape-induced paralysis. Behaviour Research and Therapy,43,1157–1171.)

However, until someone explains to a survivor that this instinct is normal and appropriate, she will often spend years criticizing herself (“What’s the matter with me? I just laid there! I’m such a fool! Why didn’t I fight, or at least scream?”), and even lawyers and juries can be misled into lenience toward rapists whose victims are inaccurately described as “passive.” This behavior is not “passive;” it is a biologically-driven form of resistance! But this fact is so rarely understood that rape victims often multiply their own sense of guilt and shame because of the freeze instinct. One study even found that the link between this “temporary paralysis” during rape and later feelings of guilt and self-blame are directly related to increased depression, anxiety, and PTSD later.

This is why it is so crucial that rape survivors receive basic education about the body’s adaptations to trauma, so that you can understand and accept these behaviors as normal, rather than as failure. “This is a biologically hard-wired response that just kicks in, typically when there’s extreme fear coupled with physical restraint,” states one study of victims’ temporary paralysis during rape. Jennifer Heidt, commenting on a study she helped organize, wrote, “if we can help to show them [in therapy] that they weren’t letting this happen to themselves, that this is an unlearned response, that they were incapable of changing it, that they were incapable of fighting back, then we can help deal with that guilt.” (source: Finn, Robert. “Involuntary paralysis common during rape – Legal and TX Implications.” OB/GYN News, Jan. 15, 2003. http://findarticles.com/p/articles…)

It can also be difficult to separate the issues of “compliance” with “consent.” In most rapes where the victim is conscious, there is some degree of forced compliance with the rapist, simply as a reasonable way to protect herself from further harm. Although this is a very normal form of self-preservation, it can also produce one hell of a stuck point afterward:

• “The fact that I stopped struggling when he ordered me to means I am guilty of permitting the rape.”
• “I removed my underpants when he told me to. That means I participated or led him on about sex.”
• “I kept quiet and never screamed. Does that mean I wasn’t really raped?”
• “My whole body froze and I couldn’t move.”
• “They always say ‘no means no.’ But I never said the word ‘no’ because I was paralyzed with fear.”
• “I can’t remember how I got into the closet [where the rape happened]…If I put myself there, it must mean I helped him rape me.”

When a person is mugged, they instinctively freeze and will typically say to the attacker, “Take whatever you want.” They will compliantly hand over wallets, purses, watches, anything demanded of them, in a desperate, terrified hope that the assault will end without further injury or death. And nobody questions this cooperation; police even advise it as the correct course of action. People will support you and assure you that you did the right thing. Nobody blames you for carrying money by saying, well, didn’t you realize that would only lead a robber on?” Nobody would blame you for all the times you willingly spent money by implying that this means you “have a history of giving it away, so aren’t you just ‘crying robbery’ now?” Nobody would claim that the incident was probably just a cash transaction that “got out of hand” or you regretted later.

Yet when the violent assault becomes sexual, many people implausibly lose all their insights about the importance of cooperation to reduce harm. Suddenly, the guilty questions begin: “Why didn’t I fight back? What if I had resisted more? Why did I stay quiet? Why did I freeze? Why did I take off something I wore when he ordered me to?”

These stuck points exist because of the gap between what we want to believe (“I would never ‘let’ anyone rape me”) and what the rape itself seems to prove (“I must have failed to prevent rape. Or worse yet, I must have permitted it!”). It may seem like an unusual statement, but analyzing your stuck points is really a form of forgiving yourself for whatever actions you had to do to survive, and for whatever it’s taken to cope since, and for whatever misguided self-blame you have felt in spite of the facts. When Shannon* wrote the words “I’m sorry, little girl” in her story, it was written after she had finished writing and reading it aloud, and she had recognized the many forms of resistance she had used. The comment was her apology to herself for spending the next three years crucifying herself. She discovered during her “stuck point” work that she was neither weak nor willing, and that her younger self had never deserved the heaps of blame and guilt she had carried.

Seeking out Help for Emotional Healing

Going to bed in a few minutes, but I wanted to thank everyone for reading this blog and for their concern. It truly touches my heart. Just wanted to share two things before I crashed.

1. Monday, I went to a mental health facility to help me with the loads of emotions I have had lately. I’ve had many times in the past months where I just cry out I need some help. So that’s what I did. I sought out help. Now, my therapist and psychologist (at the clinic) are going to work hand in hand to make sure that my therapy helps, along with the antidepressant they prescribed me. Therapy IS what will help me recover and heal from what has happened to me, but temporarily being on Zoloft should help control the mood swings where there’s a possibility to feel actual happiness. I did not come to this decision lightly. I just know that if I cannot actively seek avenues to heal, I will never get there. I’ve noticed how I have been, and so have others. The clinic classified it as PTSD, but I think it’s more depression and anxiety. I could be wrong though. Who knows.

2. I was on Facebook the other day and saw a link from Emerging from Broken. Darlene talked about how Emotional Healing Does NOT Depend On… I thought it was perfect. And SO TRUE! With the current situation I am going through, one part stuck out to me (ok maybe two lol).

“My emotional healing did not happen because my husband stood by me. In fact he DIDN’T stand by me at all.  He fought me and he fought the process. My healing and taking my life and individuality back threatened his control over me. It threatened his orderly little world where he was King and I was his servant.  He had his life all organized the way HE wanted it. He liked me messed up and compliant and he is the first one to admit that today.”

“Overcoming dysfunctional relationships and emotional healing depends only on ME. Not on results, outcomes, negotiations, agreement from others, the law, or whether or not I lost or gained weight. Emotional healing does not depend on people or on “things”, money, or circumstances.”

Her insights and thoughts were so inspiring. I can so relate to what she said and hope that one day, I can finally heal from all of this and look back stronger and happier. I’ve seen other victims who think that “if this” or “if that” they could be healed, but the honest truth is that this is all about EMOTIONAL healing. The physical stuff is behind us. The law could be working with us, failing us, or not even be in the picture, but it CANNOT heal us. The law is for what little justice it dishes out, and that’s it! Whether our perp is dead or alive doesn’t heal us. I know some who thought it would, and they are still as stuck as ever in their own misery. We all have to have the will and fight to move past this. Don’t rely on anyone but yourself and your support system. Keep those who will help you close and push all others away. Be selfish a little. My big problem is I never felt “worthy” to be first, second, third, or fourth on anyone’s list. But how can I have them so high on mine, and they not even feel I am worth more than the last slot on their list? Their list doesn’t matter… mine does. And I come first on mine. HEALING is PRIORITY!

Anyways, my medicine is finally kicking in. Think it’s bed time now. Hope everyone can push all the other voices around you out of your head and focus on what you feel will help you in your healing and recovery. I have had to do a lot of seeking out on this, as I used to be in a group on Facebook, but the negativity and lack of uplifting brought me down and kept me stuck where I didn’t wanna be. What is right for some victims isn’t right for others. We all progress in our own time. As long as we keep moving forward, we are doing the right thing. All I can do is imagine the day where this doesn’t affect me like it does. The day I can say yes, I used to be a victim, yes I still have my days, but I am STRONGER because I DIDN’T let them win. I am a fighter. Are you?

Date Rape and Acquaintance Rape Misperceptions

‎”Because so many people, both victims AND perpetrators, believe that rape must include elements of violence, incidents that are not consentual, yet occur without violence, are often overlooked as NOT being rape. It’s important to remember however, that rape isn’t a crime because of some extreme physical action, but is instead a crime based on the non-consent of one party, regardless of whether they are yelling “no” and physically fighting for their lives or just trying to get past the incident as quickly as possible because they are unable to stop it or fear making the situation worse or destroying the friendship by resisting. The key is CONSENT. “Mixed signals”? That is NOT consent. Note that a lack of “fighting back” is NOT an element to the crime occurring.”

AARDVARC.org

Fight, Flight, or Freeze Reactions

“When human beings are faced with danger, their adrenal glands flood their bodies with either adrenaline or noradrenaline. Adrenaline energizes the body in the fight or flight mode; noradrenaline creates a freeze reaction, or the numbing of the body and the emotions. This freeze reaction also can be caused by the endogenous opioid system, one of the body’s natural calming systems, which diminishes physical sensations and the intensity of emotional reactions.

As a result of these involuntary physiological reactions, during a sexual assault, the woman doesn’t have the power to decide whether she is going to fight back, try to run (flight), or go limp (freeze). His/her adrenal glands and neurohormones do. The same holds true when she is exposed to a reminder of the assault, also called a “trigger.” When exposed to a trigger, even if she is safe, her body responds as if she is being attacked.

If she responds with an adrenaline surge, leading to a fight or flight reaction, she may experience symptoms such as the startle response, insomnia, anxiety, irritability, and increased nightmares and flashbacks. If she responds with a noradrenaline urge, she may have a numbing or freeze reaction. Or, she may alternate between the symptoms or fight or flight reactions and the symptoms of a freeze reaction.”

(The Rape Recovery Handbook, Chapter 4, Coping Skills)