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.
The exact definition of “rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse” and similar terms differs by state. The wording can get confusing, since states often use different words to mean the same thing or use the same words to describe different things. So, for a precise legal definition, you need to check the law in your state. But here are some general guidelines based on the definitions used by the U.S. Justice Department. Please note that these definitions are a bit graphic, which is inevitable when describing crimes this violent.
Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.
Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, no weapon is used other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (But, be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)
So, how can you figure if what happened was rape? There are a few questions to consider.
There are three main considerations in judging whether or not a sexual act is consensual (which means that both people are old enough to consent, have the capacity to consent, and agreed to the sexual contact) or is a crime.
Are the participants old enough to consent? Each state sets an “age of consent,” which is the minimum age someone must be to have sex. People below this age are considered children and cannot legally agree to have sex. In other words, even if the child or teenager says yes, the law says no.
In most states, the age of consent is 16 or 18. In some states, the age of consent varies according to the age difference between the participants. Generally, “I thought she was 18” is not considered a legal excuse — it’s up to you to make sure your partner is old enough to legally take part.
Because laws are different in every state, it is important to find out the law in your state. You can call your local crisis center or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE to find out more about the laws in your state.
Do both people have the capacity to consent? States also define who has the mental and legal capacity to consent. Those with diminished capacity — for example, some people with disabilities, some elderly people and people who have been drugged or are unconscious — may not have the legal ability to agree to have sex.
These categories and definitions vary widely by state, so it is important to check the law in your state. You can call your local crisis center or the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1.800.656.HOPE to find out more about the laws in your state.
Did both participants agree to take part? Did someone use physical force to make you have sexual contact with him/her? Has someone threatened you to make you have intercourse with them? If so, it is rape.
It doesn’t matter if you think your partner means yes, or if you’ve already started having sex — “No” also means “Stop.” If you proceed despite your partner’s expressed instruction to stop, you have not only violated basic codes of morality and decency, you may have also committed a crime under the laws of your state (check your state’s laws for specifics).
I didn’t resist physically – does that mean it isn’t rape?
People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape — in fact, many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be express (saying “no”) or it can be implied from the circumstances (for example, if you were under the statutory age of consent, or if you had a mental defect, or if you were afraid to object because the perpetrator threatened you with serious physical injury).
I used to date the person who assaulted me – does that mean it isn’t rape?
Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship (sometimes called “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”), or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It does not matter whether the other person is an ex-boyfriend or a complete stranger, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is nonconsensual this time, it is rape. (But be aware that a few states still have limitations on when spousal rape is a crime.)
I do have to admit, although we know rapists are dumb, they are pretty smart too. They seem to get everyone on their side, play the victim, and get the REAL victim to blame themselves and hold onto their guilt. They don’t live with the consequences, the victims do. And only a small percentage are ever reported and even fewer put in prison. About 5% is a pretty tiny number. What other crime happens that the victim and everyone around them say it’s their fault? None. That’s right. So no wonder they don’t get convicted. In the court room, the guilty party is the victim who has to practically prove their innocence. This needs to change. Society needs to change. Rapists need NOT to rape! Nobody asks for it. If they didn’t say yes, it was rape. I don’t care what you “think” the person wanted. They HAVE to give consent! And we have HAVE to start believing the victims. The trauma never goes away. The survivors need to be accepted and given time to put their lives together. I don’t care if it was 1 month ago or 8 years ago. Rape is rape. And we all heal at our own speed. Will you stand up for your loved ones?
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?
Abuse can come in plenty of forms and the road to recovery can be hard…this is a list of what the stages of recovery are that goes on in the heart. It is normal to grow and heal in stages and your thoughts might be all over the board. Someone might be strong in some thoughts, while weaker in other thoughts. This list shows where your mind is and its normal to identify with the victim in some categories, and the survivor in other categories and the thriver in other categories…healing is a work in progress….
- Victim Doesn’t deserve nice things or trying for the “good life”
- Survivor Struggling for reasons & chance to heal
- Thriver Gratitude for everything in life.
- Victim Low self esteem/shame/unworthy
- Survivor Sees self as wounded & healing
- Thriver Sees self as an overflowing miracle
- Victim Hyper vigilant
- Survivor Using tools to learn to relax
- Thriver Gratitude for new life
- Victim Alone
- Survivor Seeking help
- Thriver oneness.
- Victim Feels Selfish
- Survivor Deserves to seek help
- Thriver Proud of Healthy Self caring
- Victim Damaged
- Survivor Naming what happened
- Thriver Was wounded & now healing
- Victim Confusion & numbness
- Survivor Learning to grieve, grieving past aggrieved trauma
- Thriver Grieving at current losses
- Victim Overwhelmed by past
- Survivor Naming & grieving what happened
- Thriver Living in the present
- Victim Hopeless
- Survivor Hopeful
- Thriver Faith in self & life
- Victim Uses outer world to hide from self
- Survivor Stays with emotional pain
- Thriver Understands that emotional pain will pass & brings new insights
- Victim Hides their story
- Survivor Not afraid to tell their story to safe people.
- Thriver Beyond telling their story, but always aware they have created their own healing with HP
- Victim Believes everyone else is better, stronger, less damaged
- Survivor Comes out of hiding to hear others & have compassion for them & eventually self
- Thriver Lives with an open heart for self & others
- Victim Often wounded by unsafe others
- Survivor Learning how to protect self by share, check, share
- Thriver Protects self from unsafe others
- Victim Places own needs last
- Survivor Learning healthy needs (See Healing the Child Within & Gift to Myself)
- Thriver Places self first realizing that is the only way to function & eventually help others
- Victim Creates one drama after another
- Survivor See patterns
- Thriver Creates peace
- Victim Believes suffering is the human condition
- Survivor Feeling some relief, knows they need to continue in recovery
- Thriver Finds joy in peace
- Victim Serious all the time
- Survivor Beginning to laugh
- Thriver Seeing the humour in life
- Victim Uses inappropriate humour, including teasing
- Survivor Feels associated painful feelings instead
- Thriver Uses healthy humour
- Victim Uncomfortable, numb or angry around toxic people
- Survivor Increasing awareness of pain & dynamics
- Thriver Healthy boundaries around toxic people, incl. relatives
- Victim Lives in the past
- Survivor Aware of patterns
- Thriver Lives in the Now
- Victim Angry at religion
- Survivor Understanding the difference between religion & personal spirituality
- Thriver Enjoys personal relationship with the God of their understanding
- Victim Suspicious of therapists– projects
- Survivor Sees therapist as guide during projections
- Thriver Sees reality as their projection & owns it
- Victim Needs people & chemicals to believe they are all right
- Survivor Glimpses of self-acceptance & fun without others
- Thriver Feels authentic & connected, Whole
- Victim “Depression”
- Survivor Movement of feelings
- Thriver Aliveness
I wish I knew where this article came from. A friend came shared it with me and I thought it was very insightful. 🙂