The Defining Moment: Was I Really Raped?

Many times, when I speak about those first few moments that I realized I was raped, people are shocked by the reaction I received and the insincerity of someone not believing such a horrible act. I’m not speaking of the remainder of that night, I’m not even speaking of that week. It took me a while to realize what happened to me and to open my mouth to someone about it. In my heart of hearts, I knew what just happened, but when I finally spoke about what happened that night, I was looking for someone I could trust to work through those emotions. What I got? My best friend telling me that she didn’t want to think that was a possibility and turned me down from speaking of it further. I stayed silent for seven years because of that day.

So what if this happened to you? What would you want that trustworthy person to say back? There’s a campaign called Start by Believing, and I think that’s one of the core issues survivors face. No one wants to believe such an act can happen to someone they know. They don’t want to believe someone they know could commit such an act. Or, the most devastating one, they want to know what the victim did to make them get raped. This needs to change. Society needs to change.

I could only imagine what would have happened differently in my life if my best friend believed me. I know I cannot change the past, but what a difference it could have made if one persons reaction was in support of a survivor. I believe its like a chain reaction. If that first person takes the news well and supports you , then you could tell another and another and another until one day that silence that at one time bound you was finally loosened. The more chain links (i.e. positive reactions) you have, the freer you are from burdening this alone. This was never the victims fault, but once that first reaction couldn’t withstand the pressure it was placed under, the more likely the rest will crumble.

We cannot deny that rape happens. In fact, I’m sure many people know at least one person who has been sexually abuse. Some may not even know about their family or friend. It’s not rare for a victim to stay quiet. Sometimes the fear of not being believed is stronger than the fear of people knowing what happened to them. Not because they are ashamed necessarily, but because they don’t want to be blamed.

I, unfortunately, got the worst reaction I could have expected from my ex husband. Someone who was supposed to love and care for me. Yes, it was years after the fact, but if someone doesn’t deal with it when it happens, it will creep into their lives eventually. That’s how it was for me. It actually amazes me that an old friend could be infuriated by what happened to me, finding out years later, but my own family and spouse are more concerned about how it affected them instead.

Where does that come from? Why do people do that? What happened to sympathy and empathy for the person who endured a traumatizing experience? We all need to be cognizant of how we come off to people who are sharing a deep pain of theirs. Believe them, care for them, let them know the survivor didn’t deserve it, and that they are upset at the attacker and not the victim.

Shame of Being a Rape Victim

I think many have thought this but no one wanted to say it. Glad someone did. We’re so worried about falsely accusing someone of rape that victims are the ones that are hurt the most. Shamed into silence. I was for almost a decade. This picture was shared on Facebook and it is so true. When will society change? We need to educate the world about rape and abuse. It is not ok, never should be ok. Speak up speak the truth. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone.

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Believing My Own Story

For the last two months, I have been struggling with my first rape. I seem to get nowhere in the “healing journey.” In fact, lately, I have been adding more blame to myself. I feel delusional and like I am making something out of nothing. Two days ago, I started to writing down my story and realized that I add a lot of excuses, explanations, and persuasion to my story. Maybe to someone else it doesn’t sound like that, but in my head, I HAVE to get others to believe me.

One of the many flaws of this survivor. Worrying that I will never be believed. And I am sure I am not the only victim that has felt like this. When these sort of things happen, my support tries to get me to see that if I don’t blame them, then I can’t blame myself… but that doesn’t always work. Could we really see someone in our shoes and think that they are innocent? In my case, it is hard to see.

For those who don’t know my story, when I was 11 or 12, I was bullied, abused (mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually), and raped by a girl down the street. I spent the night at her house one night and she “wanted to show me how it feels like to have sex with a guy.” This is usually where I tell about how she was, but the simple truth is, is that I didn’t want to be touched or kissed or fondled, but it happened.

My biggest issue is when people start telling me that it is ok to experiment at that age or that it is ok to be gay. If you would have asked me a year ago, I would have jumped down your throat about me not being gay. Now, I know I am not gay but it still doesn’t make knowing what happened to me and placing the blame where it truly lies easy.

So how do we get to a point where we blame the perpetrator and not the victim? If society can’t do that, the how can we? People don’t understand how more difficult the victims healing becomes when the whole world is telling us to blame the victim. I told my mom about my second rape (my boyfriend coming into my home and raping me), yet she still blamed me. “You could have taken him,” “Why did you open the door?” and etc.

My family will never know about my first rape. Which is a shame because if they did, they might understand how difficult things really are lately. I just cannot put myself out there to be questioned and blamed all over again by my own family. I was strong enough to endure my mothers attitude but not with this.

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?

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

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

Silenced No More

This weekend, at my family’s Christmas / Birthday party, I told my mom about being raped. I didn’t know what she would say or react to it, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to hold it in much longer. I had already told my father, an aunt, my cousin, and my brother’s girlfriend, but the rest of my family, including my mother, hadn’t known about it. The last time I tried to let them know I was dealing with things was last year, but without me sharing the R word (as I still wasn’t at a point of calling it that) they were quite confused and I suppressed it for another 6 months. It has been seven years of pure silence… from the world and from my own self. I’ve noticed that the more I open up to my past, the easier it is to cope with. Granted, I have those people who cannot handle talking or thinking about the subject at hand, but for those who can, it definitely helps me break the silence a little more each time.

When talking to a friend, I mentioned how the silence kills. And it truly does. For the last seven years, I have blamed myself for that night. I couldn’t tell my mom, as I let him in my house. I couldn’t tell my friend, as she wished me luck before he came over and I couldn’t understand how she could ever understand the magnitude of rape (I know I couldn’t). I couldn’t tell a school counselor, as my school didn’t have programs like the WAR Program in a Florida school does. And the morning after, I couldn’t even break up with him. If he would have just raped me and that be the end of it, things might have turned out differently. But the morning after he raped me, I was being told by a girl I barely knew that I was called his stalker. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he confirmed it with long conversations of me begging him to stay with me. My virginity was always a special thing to me, so when he took it, it truly destroyed me. I felt broken and used and no matter what I did, I could not get my virginity back. That’s a very touchy subject I stay away because I cannot always handle the emotions that come with that right now. One thing at a time, I guess.

Anyways, after being silenced for 7+ years, I have come to a point in my life, in my recovery, that I have to speak out. I have to release this blame that I have allowed him to hold over my head for too darn long. In my head, this is not my problem anymore. I did nothing wrong and I deserve to have people know the real me, and I shouldn’t have to pretend to make others feel better. Granted, I probably will still, but at least they know and they can either decide to support me or go on their merry way. Sorry, I’ve just come to the realization that I cannot please everyone and this is my time to heal. It’s almost like I’ve been conditioned to not have my own voice or feel like I am allowed to have an opinion. I have always been a kind-hearted person. I like that about me, but I can no longer be someone’s door mat. I struggle. I won’t hide that. I have a lot to deal with and I hope as each therapy session closes and more steps have been taken in my recovery, that I can have the life I deserve… one that is happy. I am determined to not be his victim anymore. I will be nobody’s victim, if I have my say.