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The Elliquian Herald & Post
Issue 74 (Autumn) ~ August thru October 2017

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Author Topic: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape  (Read 18359 times)

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Offline ZillahTopic starter

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I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« on: May 31, 2012, 02:28:53 PM »
Do you remember where you were on the night of December 31, 1999?
 
A lot of you probably remember Y2K – the night all the computers were supposed to go kablooie when they rolled over from 1999 to 2000. If you don’t, you probably at least remember it as a really exciting New Year’s Eve, the start of a new millennium. And a lot of the parties were awesome.
 
Unfortunately, I remember it extremely well.
 
It was the night I was first raped.
 
I was a senior in college, and my boyfriend at the time had quite the marvelous fantasy of he and I having sex when the clock struck midnight. Which was a pretty good fantasy, except:
 
1. We hadn’t actually ever had sex yet, and
2. He neglected to actually discuss this fantasy with me, or at least tell me about it.
 
Some background – we’d been going out a few months, and had been friends ever since freshman year of college. Then – much like now – I was something of an extrovert, quick with the sarcastic and suggestive comments with friends and acquaintances.  I was also a huge flirt (still am, at times). A lot of things I’ve said to guys and girls alike haven’t been meant serious … but at times, they’re taken that way.
 
I was also raised in a Catholic household. At the time I was going out with my boyfriend, I wasn’t a virgin, but I took sex – at least the ‘insert penis into vagina’ kind – as something to not be taken lightly. (Like Bill Clinton, I’ve never considered oral, um, pleasuring to be full-blown ‘sex’, so that was usually what I did with my boyfriends instead.) I’d only had sex with guys three or four times prior to that night, and only with boyfriends that I thought I was in love with. Sex was something that meant more than having fun to me, it was about an emotional connection, something incredibly powerful.
 
And I didn’t feel that connection at the time with my boyfriend. Nice guy (or so I thought), but I wasn’t in love with him.

I went to his apartment on New Year’s Eve. He didn’t want to go out and party, he just wanted us to hang out and have fun. That was fine with me. We put on the television, chatted, drank some champagne, laughed, drank some more champagne, starting fooling around …
 
… and then, with a couple of minutes to midnight, he whispered his plan in my ear.
 
I told him no.
 
He repeated his plan, louder, and kind of surprised. Like I wasn’t allowed to say no.
 
And I said no again. Even offered my alternative, which you can probably guess at. That, I was fine doing. But I didn’t want to have sex with him.
 
And then we were arguing, and then yelling at each other … and before I knew it, he was literally tearing my clothes off, and hitting me, and holding me down, and then … yeah.
 
Why didn’t I fight back? Trust me, I did.
 
Why didn’t I run away? Partly because he was way bigger than me … but, to be honest, partly because I was in shock. I was numb to it at the time, in a way – ‘this can’t be happening to me’ kept echoing through my head the whole time. He was a friend, someone I really liked and trusted … and yet, he had no problem smacking me across the face with the palm of his hand, angrily calling me a cocktease and raping me.
 
The most haunting thing about it was … well, he got his fantasy. The television was on in the background the whole time, and when the countdown started in Times Square, he timed himself to it. Even now, if I hear some sort of countdown, I want to curl up in a ball and throw up, no matter where I am.
 
When it was over, I was still in shock. And I think I stayed that way because the bastard was smiling and talking to me like we’d both had the most wonderful time. He acted like I’d agreed to have sex with him, because of course, why wouldn’t I? It was like he was living in alternative universe – presumably one where no means yes – and everything was just sunshine and lollipops, and he hadn’t slapped me or wrapped his hands around my throat while he brutally raped me. I’m not really sure exactly what he said anymore, but what I do remember is punching him in the face when he tried to kiss me and said we should do it again soon. Then I grabbed my clothes and got out of there.
 
I reported the incident to the campus authorities the next day. Absolutely nothing happened to my now ex-boyfriend. Total he said/she said. (Memo to anyone who’s assaulted at a college – when you report what happened, report it to the actual local police, and not ‘campus security’. The college has a vested interest in saving its own ass, not helping yours.)
 
What was probably more disappointing after that was that he and I had a lot of mutual friends. And that’s when I learned who my friends actually were. According to him, I’d led him on, and I’d been fine with everything that happened that night, and he didn’t know why I’d ‘flaked out’ (his exact words) and was making shit up about him. And remember that ‘some background’ part a few paragraphs ago? A whole bunch of people who I thought were my friends knew I was a flirt, knew I liked to make suggestive comments, knew I was an extrovert … and they believed him.
 
This happened twelve years ago. And … it’s like a scar, or worse, a wound that never seems to fully heal. Some days, I forget it’s there. I’ve even gone months without even thinking about it, or giving it a second thought. And other days, I’m reliving the whole thing, and it’s vivid and depressing, and I feel almost paralyzed thinking about what happened.
 
It’s also easy to tell yourself the obvious and important things, which are true, and which you should never forget. You said no. No means no. It’s not your fault. You didn’t ask for this. You didn’t ‘let it’ happen.
 
But while it’s easy to intellectually understand that, emotionally … well, I know I shouldn’t, but I still find myself wondering what I could’ve done differently, wondering where the fault is mine.
 
It’s also aggravating that this one stupid night has so profoundly affected my life, and I hate admitting that at times. If nothing else, I have serious trust issues. I’m guarded and suspicious about most people, including those whom I know I shouldn’t feel that way at all. And what makes me sad about that is that I know I push people away from me – very good people, who love and care about me – because I don’t trust them. And it makes me sad that something stupid and awful and pointless twelve years ago that lasted less than twenty minutes has affected so many things and so many people in my life.
 
I kept this whole thing relatively bottled up for a long, long time. I think I’m only coming to terms with it now – not healthy, I know, but at least I’m trying. I’ve maybe only told a half-dozen people in my life about exactly what happened. It’s a really hard thing to talk about, mostly because I’m not really looking for sympathy … rather, I’m looking to make sense out of something that really doesn’t make sense, and I’m looking to at least let go of the awful, sick feelings of pain and violation, if not to forget them the way I’d like.
 
Talking about it reminds me of what I wrote in the title – ‘I’m a survivor, not a victim’. And the more I talk about that, the more I believe it, and the closer I inch towards some kind of catharsis.
 
I don’t know if writing all this will help me get any closer to what I’m looking for – but maybe it might help someone else. If it does, I’ll be fine with that. :)
 
Thanks for reading.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2012, 02:50:18 PM by Zillah »

Offline SeriousMoonlight

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2012, 05:31:57 PM »
Thank you for writing this, and for sharing your story. This was powerful to read and I'll admit I got a bit misty-eyed during it.

I was also raped by a man who - at the time - was my best friend, and I'm still working on feeling like a survivor and not a victim. But knowing someone else is approaching a catharsis, as you put it, gives me some hope that someday I, too, can move on from this and not let it dominate my life. Thank you again, from the bottom of my heart.

Offline Florence

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2012, 06:16:21 PM »
As a guy... whenever I hear something like this, it just sort of makes me hate my entire gender. I've never understood it, and frankly... I never want to. I mean, I can understand carnal pleasure and all that stuff... I guess I just don't understand how some people can live with themselves.

Anyway, I don't really know if there's anything I could say that would be fitting, so let me just close this by saying thank you for sharing this. As unpleasant as it is to hear, its important, I think, for people to make sure that others hear things like this.

Offline jouzinka

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2012, 04:10:51 AM »
*hugs Zillah*

I think you are very brave for exposing your vulnerable points so openly, Zillah. I haven't been able to in all those 11 years. I did try to get therapy for all that happened in that relationship, but it didn't help much. Like you, I have severe trust issues (I did let him in before the thing happened, he said he wanted to talk things out after I broke up with him). I didn't tell anyone for almost 5 years. 6 years after he raped me he contacted me and asked whether we could forget what happened and sit and talk like two grown adults.

What I hate most is knowledge that every day I spend in this shell, he wins. He did it to brand me as his, I recognized that much over time, so that nobody else would ever have me and knowing he succeeded gives me an awful feeling of despair. Knowing that he afterwards formed a happy family, whereas I struggle to form a simple relationship to build one upon, while there's nothing I'd want more...

I wish you many light days and a small minority of the dark ones.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2012, 08:38:54 AM »
@SeriousMoonlight: ~hugs~ Thank you for reading. I don’t know if a total catharsis is ever possible, but I think I’ve moved much closer to a place where I don’t feel like having been raped is negatively affecting the rest of my life. I sincerely hope we’re both able to reach that place someday soon. :)

@Finn: Please don’t hate your whole gender. :) Doing that, to be honest, is what caused (and still causes, to a certain degree) a lot of my trust issues. Most guys aren’t like my scummy rapist ex-boyfriend. But it took me quite a while after getting raped to not paint guys with that sort of broad brush – not “oh, he’s a rapist”, but more “oh, he just wants one thing from me, he doesn’t actually give a shit about me”. Which wasn’t fair to some really, genuinely nice guys I’ve known … and part of the fallout of being raped (for me, anyway.) It took me a lot of time to let my guard down again and not automatically assume the worst in people.

@jouzinka: Well, I don’t feel particularly brave, but thank you. :)  It took me maybe ten years to even be able to discuss the fact that I was raped with people. Apart from friends at college who knew about the incident, it’s something I’ve rarely talked about with anyone until recently … I’ve still never told my parents about it. (Which is all sorts of stupid, because I still feel incredibly embarrassed and uncomfortable about the idea of talking to them about something that wasn’t my fault … but again, much as I can rationally tell myself that, I can’t emotionally bring myself to do it.)  I’ve come to realize, though, that for me, talking about it and confronting my fears and insecurities is helpful.

Knowing your rapist is awful on so many levels, but one of the worst is seeing how they get to move on with their lives while you don’t. (Assuming that they aren’t charged with anything, which mine wasn’t, and I’m assuming yours wasn’t as well, jouzinka.) My rapist walked away from that night essentially like nothing happened, apart from losing his girlfriend and a few of his other friends. But apart from that, it really didn’t impact his life at all. While for me, it had a profound, unhealthy impact on my life and my relationships for years. It’s hard to let go of that sometimes, but at the end of the day all you can try to make better is your own life. Don’t concern yourself with his.

I hope you have more bright and beautiful days ahead for you as well. :)

Offline kckolbe

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2012, 10:32:13 AM »
You seem to have become a strong person, and if it is any consolation, what he lost that night was a pretty amazing woman.

Offline arkhos

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2012, 08:57:22 PM »
What a powerful, moving story. Thank you for sharing, Zillah. I hope being able to share it, gives you at least some sense of empowerment, another step towards you owning what happened to you, instead of the other way around.

I was married to someone who was raped when they were a teen. No matter how hard I tried, it destroyed our marriage - and it happened 12 YEARS before I had ever met her. I've seen first-hand what it can do to a person.

And when I hear such stories, I want to hunt down the men responsible, and see them get their just-desserts. I've -always- been for stronger punishments for rapists. I've seen people go to jail longer for stealing a TV than some men do for rape. Seriously?? I mean, seriously????? I've always supported castration for convicted rapists.

If we as human beings are nothing but animals, then I think we need to simply stop with the false-pretenses of being 'superior' in any way to animals. But if we want to live and act like we ARE better than animals, then we need to just do it, and realize that a woman's body belongs to her - and that she has a -choice-.

Thanks for sharing.

Offline Kimbersqk

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2012, 07:54:33 PM »
Hey there.

Wow. Powerful and touching story. I can relate in more ways than one. My ex-fiance did the same thing, but repeatedly. I had two choices, be beat or have sex. Well, which would you choose? Sadly, I was with him for 2 years. Eventually when he threatened to kill me, I kicked him out. Then I moved a few months later to a different county because of a job offer.

There was a lot to our relationship. I tell you, even writing stories on here, I cannot have verbal abuse because of the relationship. Now, I have a "kind of" (long story on that but for now is because of distance) boyfriend. He has had to deal with a lot thru me because of my experience.

I did the whole therapy thing as well. First started at a "Battered Women's Shelter" to try out some kind of something there. Then, after one night, I knew it wasn't for me. I almost walked out because I was quite angry the way things were said and handled. Then I tried a one on one therapist thing. I went for a few months. Then just came to a halt because nothing more was really said.

I still relive some of the things that were done and said. In my dreams, I hear and see it. When I get out of the shower, in the mirror, I see his face and hear his voice. It scares me so bad. I know he is at least 1600 miles away (I don't know the conversion in km).

Good for you of telling your story. Seriously, right now I cannot believe I am writing this. I want you to know that there are more people out there who have experienced something to the same and that I am here to talk to if you wish. I think I speak for everybody that responds to this, if you wish to talk to any of us... Feel free. *hugs*

Offline Chris Brady

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2012, 08:28:53 PM »
I hate rape.  I can handle in a 'fantasy' environment such as E, but in real life, it makes me want to take a chainsaw to the genitals of the offender.  And maybe wiggle it a bit.

You ladies are among the bravest and strongest people I know.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2012, 10:29:45 AM »
@kckolbe: Thank you, although I think I lost a lot more that night than he ever did. I know what you meant, though, and I really, really appreciate the kindness of your words. :)

@arkhos: ~hugs~ I'm sorry to hear that. I know that the experience of rape has affected every relationship I've been in since it happened, unfortunately, and usually not for the better. And I've had partners who've been there for me, offering help, and I've still turned them away - and often, treated them badly in the process. It really destoryed my ability to trust people and let them into my life. All I can say that if you're in a relationship with someone who's been raped, just try to be there for them, and if they push you away, try to understand that they probably aren't pushing you, but rather the demons they can't let go of, no matter how much they want to.

Also, something more than worth stating - since I've become more involved in the LGBT community the past few years, I've become acutely aware that rape is far more than just "guy assaults a girl". I've met guys who've been raped by their boyfriends, girls brutally assaulted by other women ... it's an issue that cuts into every community, regardless of sexual orientation.

@Kimbersqk: ~VERY big hugs~ Again, sorry to hear that ... and incredibly glad you got out of that. I went through something of an abusive relationship a couple of years ago, and it's hard sometimes to recognize it as abusive when you're deeply immersed inside one. No one deserves what you went through.

Organized therapy hasn't really worked well for me either - I've done the group therapy sessions, and seen an individual therapist. Neither particularly helped. Finding some kind of healing has been something I've needed to do on my own terms, in my own way, at my own pace. But for anyone who's ever been raped, I can't recommend enough that you at least try therapy. At least you'll meet other people who've been through what you've been through, and will understand your pain. And just because it doesn't work for some people doesn't mean it won't work for you.

@Chris Brady: Thanks. :) I'm actually not offended by anyone with rape fantasies here on E, although it's not really something I understand. I've actually participated in one or two RPs here involving rape, in fact, just to see if it would help me understand the fantasy ... suffice it to say they didn't really work out too well for me, and I still don't understand them.  ::) But if they work for other people, and more importantly, if they stay as fantasies, that's fine with me.

Offline zbeast

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #10 on: June 06, 2012, 12:07:42 AM »
Thanks, Zillah, for sharing all you've shared.  I think it is particularly important here in a forum where we sometimes (perhaps often) engage in fantasy.   I find myself wondering (and not just here, and not just because of what you wrote, but because of what you wrote, I'm moved to discuss it), find myself wondering why we engage in fantasies, why I engage in fantasies, why certain ones turn me on, why others are turned on by what I abhor (even in fantasy).  Relatively anonymous contact in a fantasy world does seem like a relatively safe way to explore dangerous ideas.

Anyway, for me, I've found that I can only be fully engaged in scenarios that seem real to me - where I can really imagine myself as my character.   I can be mean.   I can be rough.   I cannot rape, even when I know it's not rape.  I cannot hurt even though I know it's not physical hurt.  I have tried playing a rape scene a couple of times because my partner at the time wanted one and I wanted to please my partner but I was uncomfortable (I don't know if that showed in the performance or not - I hope not) and don't ever want to again.   I do think one reason (other than satisfying the request) that I was willing to do it was that I wondered if it would help me understand the mentality of a rapist.  I don't think it did because I can still not fathom why.   It is clear to me that the cruelty, selfishness, control, all must play a huge role.

Anyway, the only way we can live is to come to grips with ourselves and I think you're well on your way and I do hope you find your catharsis.   I've never been raped but I do understand what it's like to be guarded, to be hesitant to trust, to not reveal oneself.   I'm not entirely sure why I have such a thick shell - sometimes it seems pretty damn thin and I feel very exposed - but I do know that it's hard for me to share myself, at least completely.   You know, I think that roleplaying with strangers may just be an attempt to better understand myself, to figure out what I'm comfortable with and what I'm not and why.   It's like a little laboratory.   

Well, hmm... that was a bit of a tangent.  I hope you don't mind.   Thank you for sharing and prompting me to share.

Offline Shjade

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #11 on: June 06, 2012, 04:00:26 AM »
Organized therapy hasn't really worked well for me either - I've done the group therapy sessions, and seen an individual therapist. Neither particularly helped. Finding some kind of healing has been something I've needed to do on my own terms, in my own way, at my own pace. But for anyone who's ever been raped, I can't recommend enough that you at least try therapy. At least you'll meet other people who've been through what you've been through, and will understand your pain. And just because it doesn't work for some people doesn't mean it won't work for you.

It's weirdly selfish, I know, but this is always the hardest part of hearing/reading stories like these: I always want to do something about it, to try to help somehow, and at the same time I know there's just no way to do so. It just doesn't work that way; you can't "fix" a person, nor does pushing an attempt to do so ever turn out well. It creates a rather unnerving sort of frustration and uncertainty: what should I say? what should I do? will X help or just make things worse? Blergh. x.x

There's also the side-effect of usually wanting to find the guilty party and introduce him to a car bumper moving at an unsafe speed, which probably isn't good either. >.>

That aside...there's really nothing I can add to this. I'm glad you feel able to share something this personal, and painful, here. Anonymous or not, opening up a little invites so much space to push out the bad and let it get some sun, as it were. Give it some exposure to get it gone, if only a little bit at a time.

...that bit about the countdown just...some people, I don't even know. I mean, I understand how and why people can be born a little "off" in the head, but I always have trouble understanding how people that far off can lead otherwise normal lives. It seems like they shouldn't fit in as well as they do. Mystifying.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2012, 11:28:27 AM »
@zbeast: Thank you – and I didn’t mind at all. Appreciate your thoughtful musings. :) Fantasies, for the most part, I think are great things – they let you explore things that you probably can’t experience in real life, or you wouldn’t want to experience. When it comes to rape fantasies, I suppose it’s wanting to see what it’s like have total power and control over someone else.

As I’ve mentioned, I don’t understand it, but I have no issue with someone with those sorts of fantasies. Just don’t expect me to explore them with that someone at this point. :P I also wonder sometimes if darker fantasies like that are either a healthy outlet that lets a person “do” such things without ever needing to act on them in reality, or maybe they’re unfortunately a stepping stone sometimes to the real thing. I personally believe that 99% of the time it’s the former and not the latter, but I try not to dwell on that too much.

@Shjade: Thanks. I’ll say, at least for me, it’s been awkward as well accepting help. I’ve known well-meaning friends who’ve tried helping me through tough times … but what they think is help at times really isn’t, and sometimes it’s been hard to keep in mind the good intentions instead of lashing out at the results. Which, of course, usually means that those nice people will then ‘keep their distance’, ‘respect your privacy’, etc., … except that’s not really what I want. Trouble is, much as friends want to help but don’t really know quite what to do, most times I’d like help and support but I don’t know what to ask for, or how to ask for it. So I think support’s often an awkward thing for all parties involved.

That being said, support is crucial for anyone who’s been raped. If you’re trying to help someone out, just be there for them, even if they’re actively pushing you away. In the long run, they’ll appreciate it. And if you’ve been raped, remember the bottom line – these are friends who are trying to help me, even if it seems like whatever they’ve been doing is anything but help. I’ve gotten better at recognizing that, and reminding myself of how awesome it is to have friends with good intentions that want to help me.

Offline Kirce

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2012, 04:53:51 PM »
~hugs Zillah and squeeeezes~

I'm so sorry about that horrible experience but I thank you for sharing it so openly, it really says a whole book about you, you ARE very brave! As for that guy, I honestly hope that he dies in a fire. I know that you probably hear this quite often but if you ever need a friendly girl to talk to, about anything, then simply shoot me a PM! Sometimes talking to a stranger helps a lot! :)

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2012, 01:08:57 PM »
@Kirce: ~hugs back~ Thank you. If I need someone to talk to, I’ll definitely keep your kind offer in mind. :-) And yes, it’s odd how talking to strangers is sometimes easier … I guess that’s because you worry (or at least I do) about what friends might think of you, or how they’ll react to what you say. As much as therapy didn’t really work for me, it was easier talking to strangers in a support group for the first time about my experiences … and when I talked to my friends and family much, much later, I think it was easier because I’d done it with the group first.

As for hating my attacker, I can’t really say I hate him anymore. That being said, I still think he’s a piece of shit for what he did, and I’m not about to send him Christmas cards anytime soon … and I certainly don’t think I’ll ever forgive him. I’m not that big of a person. But when I think about how much of my life he’s affected, and how much he’s taken away from me over the years – well, I just don’t want to spend any more negative energy on him. I’d rather keep my thoughts and my dreams on more positive things. I’ve wasted enough time channeling my anger and frustration in unproductive (and occasionally hurtful) ways because of him, and I don’t want to do that anymore. When you hate something, you can’t let go of the bad parts of that thing, and I’ve reached a stage in my life – I hope – where I’m ready to let go.

Offline Remiel

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2012, 02:16:01 PM »
Zillah, thank you so much for sharing your story with our community.  I'm truly sorry you had to go through this ordeal.  Hopefully, the act of telling it has been therapeutic for you in some way.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #16 on: June 28, 2012, 02:47:51 PM »
This is partly inspired by Shjade’s post above.
 
I was going out with this guy a few years ago, well after the incident mentioned in my first post, and after a few other unpleasant incidents in my life as well. One of the things I both loved and hated about him was that he was one of the most painfully honest and blunt people I’d ever met in my life. No bullshit from him – he didn’t sugarcoat anything. Conversations with him usually went right to the point. Which most of the time, was something I really appreciated – I can be painfully blunt as well – but sometimes it led to some very uncomfortable moments, and on more than a few occasions, an ugly screaming match.
 
I forget how we got on the subject, but we were talking about something, and I mentioned that I wasn’t comfortable with a situation, and brought up being raped as a reason that I wasn’t comfortable with it. And so – and I mean this, he meant this without any maliciousness – he asked me with all sincerity so, when are you finally going to get over all this?
 
And my response – without the loud volume and the four-letter expletives, and the slamming doors – was essentially this: If I fucking knew how to ‘get over’ this, don’t you think I would’ve already?
 
In hindsight, in his weird way, my then-boyfriend was trying to be helpful. But he wasn’t, although he genuinely intended to be helpful – it just didn't come out that way. And in thinking about it, I think it’s because he saw rape as an event. To him, it was a finite point in time. It was something that happened to me, something very painful and traumatic … but as far as he could tell, it was just something in the past, something that could simply be left behind.
 
However, for me, and for anyone I know who’s ever been raped? It’s not an event. It’s an experience. And it’s probably the most brutally personal violation anyone can ever experience. It’s a total, humiliating loss of control, where someone does something so intimate to you against your will … it’s not something I think someone can ever fully leave in the past. It haunts you. There's times I can still smell my rapist's cologne, cheap and shitty as it was. I can picture every last detail in that apartment, and remember every single word of the conversations we had that night. I wish I could forget it all, but I can't – it's burned into my mind. And like a burn, it's slow to heal, and the scars won't go away.
 
There's the obvious ways the experience affected me. For example, for a long time, around New Year's Eve, I became an insecure, paranoid mess, to the point that I'd lock myself in my room that day and that night and turn off the lights. I didn't want to hear any celebrations, and I definitely didn't want to hear a goddamn countdown. And if I happened to be in a relationship at the time, under no circumstances did I want to see or talk to my significant other at the time. I wanted to be alone, even though I was miserable and depressed, and was doing little but reliving the whole thing in my head. I did that for ten years. It's only been the past two years that I've gotten past that … and even then, I don't drink, I don't go out, and I try to have an extremely quiet evening with the people I love most in the world instead.
 
But this experience also affected so much more in my life. I've mentioned my trust issues … by that, what I mean is that I would (and still occasionally do) intensely distrust most people when I first meet them. Especially if they're nice – I automatically assume that they've got an ulterior motive. But beyond that, assuming I don't push them away completely and then they somehow get my trust … well, then I tend to trust them too much. I put them on pedestals, and then expect too much from them. So when the inevitable breach of trust finally comes (which, a lot of time, isn't actually a breach at all, but at the time it happens I sure as fuck perceive it as one), the pendulum swings back too far the other way, and once more I'm back to intensely distrusting someone – sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad ones, but either way it's way more intense that it probably should be.
 
Also … well, sex. I mentioned in my initial post how it had been something special to me, something with an emotional component, something that was very personal and intimate. After being raped, the obvious happened at first – I didn't even want to be touched by anyone, let alone have sex with them. But later on, when I starting having sex again … the emotional component was gone. Vanished. Bye-bye. I got a lot of physical pleasure out of it, but absolutely zero emotional pleasure. Which, I'm sure, worked for a few of the guys I went to bed with, but for others, it was a problem. They wanted to make love, I wanted to fuck. Sex became very distinctly 'not special' to me for a very long time, at least on an emotional level, and certainly not personal and intimate. Being unable to connect the physical pleasure with that emotion caused a lot of destructive things to happen in my life, and ruined more than one good relationship in my life.
 
There's many, many other ways this has affected me … probably too many to mention, or at least coherently write for this blog. And for me, probably the most awful part of shit like this becomes the realization of how profoundly this one incident – fuck it, being raped, I'm sick of typing 'this incident' – has affected so many aspects of my life … and not wanting that to be an excuse for the bad things that have happned in my life. I think – and if I'm wrong, I apologize – but I think that depression can be sort of like this, too. I don't want the thought of yes, I was raped to be an excuse or a crutch for my shitty behavior in good relationships, or my severe trust issues, or my inability to connect emotionally with people, or in anything. To me, it sounds like a cop-out. I've consciously made a lot of bad decisions in my life, some of them appallingly bad. Nobody forced me to make these bad decisions, and rape didn't hold a gun to my head when I made them. So to say things like "well, I don't trust people because I was raped" and 'I didn't connect well to people emotionally because I was raped" doesn't sit well with me.
 
But at the same time, if I say that the experience didn't have any effect whatsoever on these things in my life … well, that's a lie. Because it did. It's not the reason such things happened … but it's certainly a reason. Acknowledging that can be depressing at times, but it's also true. Pretending I wasn't raped and everything's fine in my life and it didn't affect me in the slightest doesn't really work, and not only that, it's stupid.
 
A lot of this stuff, I guess, is mostly stuff that seems obvious. And to me, it should've been obvious … but it wasn't, not at all, at least not while I was living through it. There were plenty of nights I'd come home after fighting with one boyfriend or another about something stupid, and telling them what miserable, untrustworthy pieces of shit they were, and only then would I realize what I'd done – and why. I've found that it's one thing to be aware of the scars you have, and quite another to know how to live with those scars.
 
A couple of people have asked me if I've found the catharsis yet I was looking for by starting this blog. So far, the answer is no … but I'm feeling better for writing it. And I feel like I'm slowly inching closer to that day.
 
I also feel like I'm learning to live with scars a little bit better as well. :)

Offline NejraTu

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #17 on: July 18, 2012, 02:46:43 PM »
Please bare with me while I relate to you because I'm not always good at distilling my mind into these neat, linear sentences. I am moved by your open honesty and the conflict you feel in yourself about being raped. Reading everyone else's replies it's obvious you have a support network here that is as open as you are to facing reality even if we don't understand it or quite know how to respond to it. It warms my heart and makes me hug you all in a cosmic sense for we are human beings, not human doings.

I was seven years old when I was  first raped by someone I knew and I got the sense he was just repeating what had been done to him with a desire to be the one in control and I escaped into my mind and the reality I've come to call "Mandy land" where there is peace and understanding for all. I didn't tell anyone for about ten years (when he was scheduled to be released from prison for a different crime) after it stopped because I was afraid my Dad would kill him. Even as a child my heart was full of hope for peace even through atrocities and through my experiences and knowledge I can share some things that have helped me find peace in my life as a rape survivor.

1) Trust isn't something you just get, it's earned and every person is different so know that your lack of trusting people isn't entirely misplaced or your desire to trust them 'too' much. That said there are also different levels of trust and to assume giving one gives all is naive to the complexities of life. I trust my cat to love me but I don't trust him to catch my fall, if you know what I mean. :D I'm over simplifying so I don't ramble. Celebrate the small ways you trust and learn to identify the ways you don't and why. Is it a specific, displayed behavior or an expectation that it might turn up? When you feel you trust too much, consider why you feel let down or why you thought they wouldn't. Sometimes it's not trust that's the culprit its your own expectations and misunderstandings of anther's mind. Communication is key and understanding the combination.

2) I'm not sure how much you know about your brain but it doesn't actually know the difference between a memory and what you experience in your physical reality right...now. ;) ;D  -chuckles- Ahem, this comes into play when you feel the way you do about countdowns and how some people make you feel that prompts your lack of trust. All it takes is a trigger to act like a shortcut on your desktop to the memory of that night and your mind releases chemicals that allow it to experience the memory as it does reality which leaves you feeling sick. The key to breaking this is to rewire your response to the memory (neurons that fire together wire together). I do this by being aware of when I'm having an echo -as I call it- and forcing myself to think of something I enjoy instead, cutting short the memory and lessening the strength of the 'wires.' For you it could be thinking of something a countdown would make you excited about. Like a shuttle launch, or the countdown to the opening of a film, etc to force your connection to countdowns away from your rape and back toward the things that you enjoy. It's not easy, but it can be done.

3)  To the same effect as the above; the ways being raped has effected your life since then, you have to realize, IS a choice you made. The way you feel about something is a response, but what you do about it is a choice. Its a hard pill to swallow but by closing yourself in and allowing yourself to assume the worst in people you kept re-enforcing your connection to that memory and your experience but also tagging new experiences to it that become apart of it's network as seen in your recount of how your became. That you realize this (and even better) feel sick of it is an amazing step to recovering the life you want to live.  ;D I'm very proud of you even if that seems weird coming from a stranger, it's the Quantum Activist in me. So being aware of your echos and choosing to think differently about them is within your own power, you just have to believe in yourself and chose to do it.

4) Which brings me to that recovery and the "how do I 'get over' it?!".... the answer is, you don't. But some part of you already knows that because you very clearly understand that experiences aren't dots on a line, they are networks of impressions and realities exploding from the dots on a line we consider time. Right now your networks are like rapids, churning and coiling, sometimes swirling in on themselves with confusion and conflict of understanding and emotion. Once, I'm sure, you fell off your bike and scraped your knee real bad or some such and what ever you did to cause injury made you feel sick and shaky to do again but eventually, over time, you learn that the experience was an exception, not a rule to reality. You also learned that there were ways to avoid falling again while also knowing you can't control everything as I'm betting it wasn't the last time you fell or the last time you got back on the bike...You turned those rapids into an exciting and winding river of experiences that sometimes got stuck but you were always able to paddle through. I don't mean to compare rape to a scraped knee or kayaking but rather the way the mind and heart can overcome the echos of a scarring experience and find the freedom of enjoyment in future experiences again. The experiences are different but the 'fixing' hows are parallel as apart of human nature and the power of the mind.

5) It's not a race. It's been almost twenty years for me and I still have to remind myself of these things. I still feel uncomfortable when some men touch me but here's another little nerd tid-bit for you... people's intentions have an effect on the molecules of water (among other things) and being that people are oh-so-hydrated, the "feelings" you get from people sometimes is a literal reaction of the water in the cells of your body to the intentions projected toward you; so, trust them. If someone touches you and it doesn't make you feel good inside (in your heart too with compassion or excitement, etc) then there's a reason for it. Your body isn't just a husk it's a machine and like any good (superior) machine, it has built in warning signals.  ;D Life is an experience so don't let one rule your life. Choose to embrace others and know you are who you are, not what's been done to you.

I apologize for taking up so much room and time but I trust my compulsions to speak up and share and thank you for your time.

Cheers,
Mandy aka Tu

P.S. I welcome conversation so if I'm welcome I'll be checking back in again! :)

Offline NejraTu

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #18 on: July 18, 2012, 02:49:13 PM »
Oh... one last blurb: What others know about you doesn't change who you are, just how much of what makes you: you, they know. ;) Keep that in mind and other peoples responses to what you share will only embarrass them, not you.  ;D

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2012, 05:08:03 AM »
Wow. I know we don't know each other. Hell, I'm not even an approved member yet! But having the courage to talk about something like that is amazing. It might have taken many years, but at least you're talking about it and maybe getting some unresolved emotions off your chest.

I have never been raped, so I can't say I understand what you went through. Or what you're currently going through. You should just know that there are people who care about you and believe that you are a strong woman. Just by reading this, I admire your courage and strength.

You are your own worst enemy, so don't doubt yourself or anything else about you.

Offline Sujini

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #20 on: August 02, 2012, 11:07:19 AM »
Hello dearie,

It is unfortunate when something like this happens and I do know your pain. I won't talk about my experiences because it sounds so fiction even though I know it isn't. The unfortunate part is that once rape happens it stays forever. The key is to accept the fact it has happened and it is also in the past. It is when we are in denial that learning to live with the experience is detrimental.

Looking back at the experience, examining it and trying to figure out what went wrong and try to learn from it is natural and not always a bad thing. The only problem is you only have one experience so it is hard to look for the tell-tell signs of oncoming dangers. I am not saying you need more experiences just it is harder to learn from the experience. Most of the painful experiences we go through have a life lesson and when we do not learn what it is teaching us, it tends to happen again. I guess for me my experiences taught me enough to save myself twice from abductions, once when I was 8 years old and another when I was 17. I am almost 2 scores.

Rape is so all consuming because it affect not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. When your mind forgets, your body remembers. When you body forgets, heart remembers. There is always one part of you that is always in tune with the traumatic effect. You should set a side an appointment with yourself once a week for about 5 or 10 minutes and just grieve privately. One of those open mouth crying sessions where you can cry out all your pain. Eventually you get to a point where you do not need to grieve. Eventually you get to a point where it won't control you and you will learn to control it.

Eventually you do need to get to a point where you have to believe it is not your fault and you did not deserve it. You got to get to the point where you believe you deserve better and make sure it is part of your confidence. If you continue to have fear, it will pour out in your aura and your energy. When you go out and talk to people, you will unconsciously broadcast the fear and it comes across as being meek. The reason why I say this so you do not fall victim to other monsters in this world.

There is so much more I can write but I am out of time. But I will be back later to say more. You are not alone, and there is a way to find your center. Keep your chin up and shoulder squared, believe you are worthy.

Offline Sujini

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #21 on: August 02, 2012, 12:59:55 PM »
Hello dearie,

It is unfortunate when something like this happens and I do know your pain. I won't talk about my experiences because it sounds so fiction even though I know it isn't. The unfortunate part is that once rape happens it stays forever. The key is to accept the fact it has happened and it is also in the past. It is when we are in denial that learning to live with the experience is detrimental.

Looking back at the experience, examining it and trying to figure out what went wrong and try to learn from it is natural and not always a bad thing. The only problem is you only have one experience so it is hard to look for the tell-tell signs of oncoming dangers. I am not saying you need more experiences just it is harder to learn from the experience. Most of the painful experiences we go through have a life lesson and when we do not learn what it is teaching us, it tends to happen again. I guess for me my experiences taught me enough to save myself twice from abductions, once when I was 8 years old and another when I was 17. I am almost 2 scores.

Rape is so all consuming because it affect not only physically, but emotionally and mentally. When your mind forgets, your body remembers. When you body forgets, heart remembers. There is always one part of you that is always in tune with the traumatic effect. You should set a side an appointment with yourself once a week for about 5 or 10 minutes and just grieve privately. One of those open mouth crying sessions where you can cry out all your pain. Eventually you get to a point where you do not need to grieve. Eventually you get to a point where it won't control you and you will learn to control it.

Eventually you do need to get to a point where you have to believe it is not your fault and you did not deserve it. You got to get to the point where you believe you deserve better and make sure it is part of your confidence. If you continue to have fear, it will pour out in your aura and your energy. When you go out and talk to people, you will unconsciously broadcast the fear and it comes across as being meek. The reason why I say this so you do not fall victim to other monsters in this world.

There is so much more I can write but I am out of time. But I will be back later to say more. You are not alone, and there is a way to find your center. Keep your chin up and shoulder squared, believe you are worthy.

Sorry about the abrupt leaving. I had a friend bugging me to go with him to eat and it was messing with my thought process and putting it into words. Now that we have full bellies and he is busy with a shower, I should be able to finish this or add more.

Please also keep in mind, I tend to be very blunt and outspoken so I may come across as ridge and not empathetic. There is nothing wrong with not trusting because you did go through something traumatic and then you were victimized even more afterwards. The people who you thought would be there, were not. You told someone and nothing was done. The monster is still free to do whatever he wants to anyone he wants. The people around you who should be there for you taught you not to trust even those you think you should. The problem with people you think you should trust are the ones who will hurt you the most because you hold them close to your heart. They can hurt you easily without even know that they did. The key is you need to learn to trust your self first. If you cannot trust yourself, you will never trust anyone else.

You did nothing wrong. At the time, you were not aware that there are monsters in this world. They are not grotesque beings but people who look like your mom and dad. People who are other people brother, sister, mother, fathers, whatever. If you are not aware of real monsters, how can you prepare for it? Keep in mind, these monsters don't just victimize women. There are men who are victimized also but it is so much more harder on men than women because they tend to question their masculinity at that point.

Now that you are aware, you can now prepare yourself. Looking back on the experience is not bad but it is better if you can do it without the pain so you can analyze it better. Pain clouds our view and our judgement where we do not see what needs to be seen. When you are ready and had enough of the fear and pain, you will take that first step. The first step is always the hardest. Once you do, you will be able to live life and not just survive it, but you have to go at your own pace. You have to redefine who you are and believe in you.

I spent the first 8 years of my life in hell and plagued with monsters before I realize I can do something about it. It took me another 3 years to get rid of all the monsters in my life. I paid a hefty price to get rid of them but once they were gone, I started my healing process. I was alone in my healing and I stumbled a lot before I found my footing. There was no one there. I realize there really cannot be anyone there. They do not feel my feelings so how can they help. Only you know what you gone through and you are the only one that can feel your feelings. Only you can heal yourself. Stop looking for a hero to come save you. Be your own hero and save yourself.

Don't get me wrong I am still broken and damage but I am more damage than broken though. If you do not know what that means, broken is open sores that has not healed. Damage is when the sore is healed but left scar tissue. 

You need to find out who you are. Set up your own code of conduct. Sometimes writing your code down helps. Live by your code and do not deviate from it for anyone. If you do, you will feel worse because if you cannot trust your self, who can you trust. Once you get your code settle and you are living it as if it is a 2nd skin, you will be able to trust again. You will be able to live life for what it is worth in its true form and not the clouded one from your experience.

Also keep in mind, you have to take care of yourself. Eat proper, drink enough water, get enough sleep. If you do not take care of yourself, you are prone to negative emotions and it makes dealing with trauma even hard. When you are tired, you are prone to depression. Depression does hurt physically too. Don't forget to be active. Exercise is good but not everyone likes exercise. If you sub standing instead of sitting, you are still keeping your body active and in motion. Eat properly requires you to eat foods that have nutrients for your body. If you do a lot of physical work, not only have protein to build the muscle but have some potassium and calcium too. Reason being, calcium helps your body to absorb potassium and potassium helps your body absorb calcium. If you are diabetic, potassium absorption is hard. We need potassium for our muscles to avoid muscle cramps. This is why it is good to eat broccoli and cheese, or cream of spinach or spinach dip or even banana pudding (preferably the pudding made with milk and not water) after a work out or physical work. Increase your raw garlic intake (cook it in your foods), it is a natural antibiotic. It will help you fight off illnesses. I have digress back on topic, I think...

Even after this is accomplished, there will be triggers that will bring the memory back. Don't consider this a set back. Just consider this as an aftershock after the quake. If you have questions, ask them. If I see them, I will definitely try to answer them.

Hopefully I have helped some. I am still a novice at writing and sometimes I am not good at it. Good luck!

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #22 on: August 02, 2012, 02:19:36 PM »
The only problem is you only have one experience so it is hard to look for the tell-tell signs of oncoming dangers.

I wish that was the case. ::) Unfortunately, it's an experience I've had a few times ... just one I've ever been comfortable - if "comfortable" is indeed the right word - talking about. If it's germane to this blog, and I can find the right words to talk about those other experiences, I guess I will someday. Just not today. :)

But your words are appreciated, Sujini. Much so. :) As are everyone's who have been nice enough to comment.

I know I've made progress in dealing with my experiences, if only because I can admit they've profoundly affected my life. A couple of years ago, I never would've made that admission. I would've tried being the tough chick with the chip on her shoulder, who, y'know, nothing affects her. Which is complete and utter shit, of course, but I'd absolutely convinced myself of that. Now, I think I have a better (and more honest) perspective on how I've been changed by the times I've been raped. The struggle now is to take the objective, slightly clinical analysis - the stuff you know to be true, even if you don't like admitting to it - and actually using it in real life, which is far less objective.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 02:22:17 PM by Zillah »

Offline Kirce

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2012, 10:24:13 AM »
Hi Zillah!

I'm happy to see that you're still keeping your blog open; I truly think that it's a really good and healthy idea. As for your past experiences, I truly know what it feels like although maybe not at the same degree as you, everyone is different so it's difficult to find the right words in a delicate subject like this. But, I agree on that trying to be the tough chick doesn’t work and it's actually a really bad idea. I used to keep everything to myself and that proved to be a time-bomb kind of deal. It was a horrible idea but it looks like you're on the right track so, yay! :)

I know that it sounds cliché, but sometimes the only thing that you need is time, little by little it really heals the wounds.

~hugs and squeeeezes~

Offline Gekido

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2012, 03:18:22 PM »
I truly want to say that I am glad you got out of there alive. A good friend of mine was raped and murdered over five years ago, that is a pain that I still live with. I can relate in a way, actions like that it's what give man a bad name. Trust me I wish I could get the guy who raped and murdered my friend and blow him up to pieces however nobody ever found out who he was. I truly congratulate you on getting out, of fighting and clawing your way out of there. I want to say that you have a friend here that, well in a way went through the same thing. I truly wish I could grab the bastard that did that to you and show him some respect for woman. Woman are queens and should be treated as such. If you ever want to talk about what happened or just chat with a person that could relate to you in a way don't be afraid of contacting me.

I wish you the best luck in the world getting through what happened...
Love
Geki

Offline Shjade

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #25 on: August 07, 2012, 10:35:03 AM »
I forget how we got on the subject, but we were talking about something, and I mentioned that I wasn’t comfortable with a situation, and brought up being raped as a reason that I wasn’t comfortable with it. And so – and I mean this, he meant this without any maliciousness – he asked me with all sincerity so, when are you finally going to get over all this?

Oh wow.

I'm sure he wasn't really thinking about it that way at the time (which is a derp on his part), but...that's just not something you ask a person who's been through a traumatic experience. Any major traumatic experience.

I mean, if a friend were to lose a leg in some vicious car accident, you wouldn't ask them when they'd get over that whole losing a leg thing. The leg's still gone. It's not coming back. Some people might be better at coping with the necessary changes that brings with it than others, but I don't think anyone just "gets over" a life-changing injury like that. You learn to deal with it as best you can, and that's about all anyone can hope for.

Sure, being raped might not be as visible as a violent change of anatomy, but that doesn't make it any less of a major injury. There's a reason soldiers who haven't even been injured in the line of duty sometimes come home from wartime situations irrevocably changed by the experience. You can't just go back in time and undo the stressful periods in your life. Those things are always with you, unless you are one seriously lucky bastard who can compartmentalize like a boss. Most of us aren't that...err...bossy. Bosslike. Bossa nova? >.>

As an aside, your description of subsequent New Year's celebrations gave me an odd thought for an attempt to reach out. I'm curious enough about the idea that I thought I'd run it by you as a hypothetical (and really hope this isn't invasive; please just hit me with a truck if I'm being thoughtless and you don't want to answer): back in the really bad days, when you didn't want to be in anyone's company on New Year's eve, especially not anyone you were dating at the time, I'm wondering if some kind of distant or barred company would have been appreciated. To be more specific, something like a friend or boyfriend of the time offering to be there with you, but not actually there in the room: outside the door, not asking to come in, to keep that solid wall in place as a guarantee that nothing could or would happen; or just on the phone, maybe. Just providing a degree of support without the threat that they might be able to hurt you while they were providing it. Do you think that would have just been more upsetting?

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2012, 08:21:48 AM »
As always, thanks to everyone for their comments and thoughts, and especially for their support. :)

@Kirce: ~hugs~ Thank you. :) Yes, being the "tough chick" just doesn't work in the long run, especially when it's just a facade.

@Gekido: ~more hugs~ Sorry to hear about your friend, and the terrible loss you've suffered.

@Shjade: Yes, my then-boyfriend's comments at the time were certainly a DERP moment. I can honestly say now that he didn't mean it in any sort of malicious way - in his own sweet lunkhead way, he was trying to be supportive and understanding - but it came out completely wrong. (And I certainly didn't take too kindly to it when it happened; I don't remember exactly what I said, except a lot of f-bombs were dropped, and I kicked him out of my condo for awhile.) Again, I've learned over time that some people view rape as an event, rather than an experience. My then-boyfriend was one of them - he saw it as an event that fades with time, not as an experience that leaves deep, deep scars, even though they can't be seen.

In hindsight, yes, company would've been appreciated on all those miserable New Year's Eves in years past. It probably would've been something like you said, though, with someone in the house and not in the room with me - I've almost gone into hysterics in a room by myself, and I know if someone had been there with him, I would've had a total meltdown. If I'd been smarter and a little more open about my experiences and the pain I was feeling, I probably could've/would've gone to my sister's place and stayed in her guest room or something ... I would've felt safe with her and her family there in the house. I don't think I ever could've done something like that with one of my boyfriends, though ... wouldn't have felt safe with them, even as nice and caring and sweet and well-meaning as some of them were. The main reason I didn't ever do that is because I never really told anyone for a long time I'd been raped, apart from some friends and acquaintances at college (and I told them only because they would've found out anyway) ... and later on, I told a few steady boyfriends about it, but that was it. To feel safe with my sister, I would've needed to have told her about it, and why I wanted to stay with her ... and for a very long time, I was too embarrassed/ashamed to mention it to most people I knew. (In the past two years, I've talked to my sister about it - along with a lot of other things - though it's still not something I've ever discussed with my parents).

If I could do it over, I would've talked about it more with my friends and family, and more actively sought support ... but there's no do-overs on this. So I try to live and learn from my mistakes. :)

I'm still not quite good with New Year's Eves, although I've gotten better with them. This past year, I spent a quiet evening with my SO and a few close friends at our place ... I did fine most of the evening (we sat up and chatted; my friends and my SO drank some wine, I didn't; and we most certainly did not have the television on, or anything involving countdowns), but still, when it got close to midnight I found myself getting really antsy and agitated, and needed to excuse myself and lock myself in the bathroom for a little bit. It didn't last long - just a couple of minutes, unlike most other years where it's a full day and night of paranoid, paralyzing terror - but it still wasn't fun.

I'm still hoping someday to be able to get through a New Year's Eve without even thinking about it at all.

Offline Kenshin

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #27 on: August 17, 2012, 02:30:54 AM »
Thank you for sharing your story Zillah, I have met many survivors of this and I wish this would be taken more seriously in society.

Offline kckolbe

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #28 on: August 17, 2012, 03:07:06 AM »
It's a difficult thing to explain to people who haven't experienced it.  I would take it further and argue that it is sometimes difficult to explain to people that have.  While it hasn't been true in recent years every woman I was in a relationship with from 2001 until 2009 had previously been assaulted, save for one who had been molested and abused (by separate people).  They all had different experiences, and they had each had a different amount of time to try and move on from it.  Unsurprisingly, they were also all different people.  It had affected them in such completely different ways that I really don't think some could have in any way empathized with the others. 

It's remarkable how two people that have technically been victims of the same thing, in this case, can have almost nothing in common. 

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #29 on: August 17, 2012, 10:46:40 AM »
Deep breath ....
 
I thought I'd get around to talking (or writing) about this at some point. Just didn't think it'd be, well, now. But stuck on a mostly-empty airplane for a fifteen hour nonstop flight, after an incredibly emotional trip ... yeah. So here goes.
 
I worked for a few years at what could politely be called a run-down gentleman's club. The place was actually a converted bowling alley, in a less-than-pleasant neighborhood. Lighting in the parking lot was virtually non-existent, so when I went out to my car at three in the morning, I usually was escorted by one of the bouncers who worked at the club ... if I remembered, and if I was smart.
 
On one of the nights I didn't remember and was incredibly stupid, some guy snuck up behind me while I was fumbling with my car keys, and put one hand over my mouth and a knife to my throat. He calmly told me that if I didn't stay quiet and get into his van, he'd stick me like a pig and let me bleed to death in the parking lot.
 
So I stayed quiet. I let him duct tape my wrists behind my back, and got in the back of the van. He drove me to some seedy no-tell motel, took me up to a room, and forced me to do stuff to him … and then he did stuff to me. He kept either a knife to my neck or a gun to my head most of the time. I think that excited him more than anything.
 
He also hit me and cursed at me a lot, mostly towards the end. I think he wanted me to be scared. The odd thing was, I wasn’t scared. From the second I got in the van, the whole ordeal was like an out-of-body experience to me. I felt like some disembodied thing, floating around, watching some sick bastard do awful things to some woman who looked a lot like me, but it wasn’t me. I just felt numb and detached the whole time … and I remember feeling reasonably sure the whole time that he was probably going to kill me whenever he was finished.
 
He didn’t, though. (Obviously.) After what seemed like an eternity, I guess he got bored, or felt a slight twinge of remorse, or something.  Whatever the reason, he smacked me around some more, blindfolded and duct taped my hands again, and brought me down to the van. The next thing I knew, my face and shoulder were hitting gravel … he’d driven me back to the club parking lot, and unceremoniously thrown me out of the back of the van.
 
I don’t remember being raped by him in the same way I remember being raped by my ex-boyfriend. Even now, the details are all jumbled and hazy, probably because neither the conscious or subconscious parts of my brain care to remember it at all. (Although, if someone starts asking for specific details, I can usually dredge them up … I just can’t do it without prodding.) I vaguely remember getting in my car, and driving to a police station, and doing the whole rape examination/making a statement stuff there … and going home. I remember calling the club later that night, and talking to the manager, and telling her what happened, mostly as an explanation as to why I wouldn’t be at work that night.
 
I don’t remember much about the rest of that day. Or the next.
 
And the day after that, I went back to working at the club, like nothing happened. I told my co-workers what happened, mostly so it didn’t happen to them (the manager, quite rightly, also had let them know there was an incident.) And to the club’s credit – the place was always notoriously cheap – they at least fixed the lighting situation in the parking lot, and they set up a policy of having the bouncers escort all female club workers to their cars at night, usually in a group. But after a few days, I went on with my life like nothing happened.
 
Never told anyone else about it. Not friends (at least those who didn’t work at the club), not family, not loved ones. Ever. This is the first time I think I’ve bothered to “tell” anyone about it since then. And in some ways, I still don't know why I'm doing this.
 
I got a few follow-up phone calls from the detective on my case – apparently, my rapist did similar things to a few other women over a period of years. But they never caught him. As far as I know, he’s still out there doing the same thing.
 

 
Had to put this away for a day or so. When I wrote the paragraph above, I lost it. I don’t ever remember crying about this whole situation … but last night, I cried a lot.
 
I wish I had something clever or witty or insightful to say about this. I don’t. All I can say is that I took something incredibly terrifying and traumatic and wadded the whole experience up in a little ball and shoved it as far under the sofa cushions in my brain as I possibly could so I wouldn’t have to think about it anymore. And it’s just kind of festered there … it’s never really gone away, much as I’ve wanted it to just shrivel up and die.
 
I guess I’m finally confronting it.

Offline Secretwriter

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #30 on: August 23, 2012, 12:39:40 AM »
I am not going to go into my story here, it's not the time or the place, but I will tell you that even years later it's not going to necessarily go away. Some people can put it behind them like it never happened and pretend to never even ever think about it, and can muddle through their life with that pattern repeating.  Some people face it head on and learn that if they let themselves remain the victim then they'll be a victim forever.  Confronting it is hell. Confronting it means admitting that it happened and that someone hurt you. It means that you have to live it again and face the music, but it also means, especially with you writing it down like this, that you're able to work through it and get it out, so that it's not so bottled up.  I love you, girl. I'm proud of you for confronting it.

Offline Secretwriter

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2012, 01:32:33 AM »
Oh goody, I get to post twice since I can't edit my previous post for some reason...  >.>





 I won't talk about my experiences because it sounds so fiction even though I know it isn't.

That is how I always feel when I tell someone something. I fear that they're going to think that I'm lying and not believe me.  My bio-dad's family didn't believe me, told me that I was lying, that this person who shall not be named here didn't do this, couldn't have done it. That it wasn't in him to do it.  They didn't know him quite as well as they thought they did. 

It comes up with writing partners pretty regularly, and every time I have to say "I can't do that because it bothers me, it hits home because of my childhood."  I explain, usually with as few details as possible. 

Offline Adammair

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2012, 09:35:34 AM »
Zillah, I know you don't know me from Adam (pun intended), but you are definitely a strong person, even more for openly telling your story as you have. I would share mine, but I don't feel that comfortable doing so, so suffice it to say, I share a similar experience, which happened many times by the same person (who, by the way, if I EVER see again, will rue the last moments of his life, as I take every effort to make them as miserable as possible), and, although I don't feel like a "survivor", in a certain sense of the word, I know that I am.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #33 on: August 23, 2012, 10:35:36 AM »
@Secretwriter: ~Hugs~ Thank you so much. Your words and support mean a lot to me. A lot. :)

@Adammair: Hugs for you as well ... sorry to hear of your own experiences. And I totally understand about not wanting to share them here. It's been easier for me to share my experiences in some places - and with some people - than in other places. All I can say is that I hope there's someone you love and trust in your life with whom you can talk about what happened. Keeping it all bottled up inside - at least in my own experience - hasn't worked too well.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #34 on: August 23, 2012, 10:39:23 AM »
So I finally told my parents last night about being raped.

I went to my parents' house for dinner last night after work. My sister and her husband and their kids were there as well. After we ate way too much food (my mother always cooks enough to feed an army … it's an Italian-American thing), my sister's husband took the kids out to play in the backyard, and the rest of us went on the front porch. I'm incredibly glad my sister was there … she knows what happened, and I don't think I ever could've said anything to the rest of my family without her there, sitting next to me, and knowing she had my back, no matter what.

We're on the porch mostly so my dad can smoke. My mom won't let him smoke in the house anymore. And while he stubbornly refuses to quit, he pretty much limits himself to two cigarettes a day – one in the morning with his coffee, and one after dinner. I'm pretty much a health freak. I rarely drink anymore, and I don't smoke … unless I'm really, really stressing out. So when I asked my dad for a cigarette, I got the raised eyebrow of surprise. But he handed over the lighter and a cigarette without any hesitation.

I told my parents I wanted to tell my parents something.

"Good news or bad?" my dad asked.

"Mostly bad," I said. "But good, too, I guess."

And then I told them all the stuff I've mentioned here about being raped. Well, not all of it – I left a bunch of the minor details out, mostly because they didn't matter, and it was hard enough just telling them the words someone raped me. But I told them what happened, finally.

It was kind of surprising, in a way – I thought I kept it pretty calm and matter-of-fact, without getting too emotional … and my parents listened. I actually thought I kept everything together really well until the end, when I realized I'd dropped my cigarette because my hand was shaking that bad.

I haven't gotten along well with my mother in a long time. So when I finished, I went right into this paranoid defensive mode I've mentioned before, not entirely trustful of her, just waiting for her to pass judgment on me … now that I've written that, I kind of suppose that's why I never told her about anything that's happened to me. I was waiting for the wrong thing to come out of her mouth, some kind of backhanded insult along with her sympathy … and it never came. She didn't say anything, she just came out and sat next to me and gave me a hug.

I don't really remember the last time that happened.

And that's when I lost it … and I felt like this tremendous weight was lifted from me.

My dad (who's usually pretty quiet) actually did most of the talking from there. Are you okay? What can we do for you? That guy on New Year's Eve, was he the one who came here for Thankgiving? I knew he was an arrogant little piece of shit … And we talked a little more, and while it wasn't super-productive – no, Dad, really, there's nothing you need to do, I'm dealing with it – just the simple act of talking about it openly with them made things so much better.

All these weird irrational fears I had, of them not believing me, or supporting me, or even saying I deserved it … they vanished. Because they were exactly that – weird, irrational fears. But they weren't anything more that. My parents were nothing but supportive last night, and I was reminded of how much they love me, and how they'll always be there for me … if I let them be there for me.

I wish I'd done this years ago, but that's neither here nor there. What's done is done.

I'm just glad I did this now, rather than never.

I'm feeling a little better today … like I claimed back a little piece of myself.

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #35 on: August 23, 2012, 10:49:37 AM »
Zillah, I can't claim I'm proud with you, because not having done much to help you, I've got no reason to be proud.
But you have all the reasons you need to be proud, and you should be!

Me, I'm just glad you were able to tell them. I'm also glad it worked out and they reacted as they should. Makes me a bit proud about humanity, which is a feeling I haven't had in a while ;D!

Also, I'm totally glad I checked who have posted before posting an earlier draft of this post, or you would have received one of the most inappropriate responses possible 8-)!

Offline Adammair

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #36 on: August 23, 2012, 10:52:34 AM »
*hugs Zillah* Thanks. I waited almost 20 years, maybe a bit more, to tell anyone about what happened to me. I'm glad that you didn't wait as long as I did. And I'm glad you got such a supportive, positive response. It's harder for a man, especially when it's another man boy there is no word to adequately describe him, because he is not, and never will be a "man", in my book. But I kept it hidden, for reasons that are still mostly unknown to me, and I got support from my mother and step-father (both psychologists), but I know it hurt them to find out. I'm still not sure I did the right thing, letting them know, but what's done is done, and at least my life is somewhat better for it.

I still suffer the occasional nightmare of powerlessness, but thankfully, they are few and far between.

Offline rahatngt

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #37 on: August 24, 2012, 03:38:50 PM »
Glad to here about your experience with the parents. You deserved something like that and I'm glad to see it happen.

Offline Sylk

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #38 on: September 24, 2012, 11:11:45 AM »
Zillah;

statistically;  3 in 5 women will be raped.  2 in 3 women will be raped by someone they know or a relative.  of THOSE numbers 4 of 5 of the women each and every one of us knows has either been raped or abused by someone.

Yeah. I was raped too.  Long time ago.  I was almost 19 and still a virgin.  Was my first week of college. I lost most of the memory of that year due to the side effects of what ever it was the guy slipped in the one beer I had all night.  I am now 49.  30 years.  It still hurts. It still affects me in how I deal with some things.  I guess the difference is that I can recognize why I do some things or think in certain ways and can act on them before I actually DO them or say things or hurt someone out of my auto-defense.

It will never go away.  It will always be something horrible that happened.  But it will get better with time.  How much is not for me to say.  How you deal with it is also not for me to say.  Everyone survives how they are able and goes through their own grief, anger and resentment.  Eventually though, you'll come to see that you are and always have been a worthwhile person.  You still have a great deal to offer people in your life.  Lastly.... you have to decide when you're going to stop letting this guy rape you over and over in your head.  Which you are doing now. 

Be proud of yourself.  Be proud of who you are, how far you have come and the commitment you have made to put this behind you and heal.  I wish you much luck and love on this journey.  I know you can do this.  The first horrible step is gone and behind you.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  Soon the journey won't seem as long and you might even find adventure along the way.

Much love,
Sylk

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #39 on: December 28, 2012, 03:47:29 PM »
So it's getting close to New Year's Eve. Which, as I mentioned in this first post of this blog, is a painful time of the year for me. I was kind of hoping writing about my experiences would exorcise some of my inner demons, and be a catharsis of sorts.

Not sure it's working, sadly.

The past decade or so, I've usually spent New Year's Eve curled up in the fetal position in my bedroom, with the lights off and the door locked, trying unsuccessfully to not relive the nightmare of being raped. The past two years, I've managed to not quite be that bad, spending it with a few friends for support, having a quiet and sober - but good - evening.

I get the feeling this one's not going to be as good. I find myself dwelling on a lot of negative things of late, and already I find myself wishing I could just curl up in a ball and make the world go away.

Not all of this revolves around my experiences of being raped. My father passed away suddenly a few months ago, and I'm still struggling to cope with that ... and the relationship I've been in the past few years is falling apart. So there's that. But all those old feelings of helplessness, of dread and self-loathing ... they're back. And they're just incredibly ... strong.

I really don't want to be ... I don't know, controlled by the hell I've been through. Or owned by it. Yes, maybe owned is the better word. I'm tired of feeling helpless and numb. And I don't want to lock myself in dark rooms anymore.

So I have tickets for a concert in New York City this New Year's Eve. It's one of my favorite performers, and it should be insanely fun. I'm hoping that when the time comes, I'll get all dressed up, walk out the door, and go ... and when that damn countdown to the New Year begins, there's a big, blissful smile on my face, and it's nothing but an amazing and happy evening.

I hope.

God, I hope so.

Offline rahatngt

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #40 on: December 28, 2012, 03:50:14 PM »
I truly truly wish for a beautiful fun New Years Eve for you, one that will set a new tradition for you from now on.

Offline persephone325

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #41 on: December 28, 2012, 03:52:38 PM »
Well I hope you are able to have fun and go to the concert. :) Nobody blames you for reliving what happened when New Years comes around. It's been about 5 months since my car accident, and I still get panic attacks when I have to get in a car. It does take time, and every day is a step in the right direction.

<3

Offline Cycle

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #42 on: January 01, 2013, 12:20:40 PM »
I came to this site looking for something else.  I stumbled onto your story by accident.  It moved me.  I am so sorry for what you have had go through and are still living with.

I wish you the best in 2013 and the years to come.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #43 on: January 29, 2013, 09:08:50 AM »
Couple of things. I'm not sure if some of them are relevant to this blog, but whatever. It's my blog.

New Year's Eve this past year went spectacularly well, much to my own surprise and delight. :) I won't lie, I had one or two moments where I was uncomfortable and started to freak out ... but that's all they were. Moments. All in all, I had a great time, and I smiled a lot, and I was very happy ... and I can't really remember the last time I could say that about a New Year's. So ... progress. Yay!

On the downside of things, the relationship I've been in the past two years is not in a good place, and is probably more-or-less over. And I've realized that this hurts way, way more than the end of any other relationship I've had, well, since being raped all those years ago. I've had a bit of time to think about all my different relationships over the past couple of weeks ... and I've finally recognized that for most of them, I was always 1) emotionally guarded, and 2) always chose to pick partners where I had a default excuse to end the relationship if we got too close. So whenever the relation hit a "too serious" stage in my mind - and required a level of intimate emotional commitment that I really couldn't handle at that point - I'd just use that excuse to bail out on things. So, unconsciously ... I was entering relationships doomed to fail from the beginning.

The past one was one I definitely didn't want to fail. And it's the first relationship I had in a while where I bared my soul to my partner, and we did connect on a very intimate, emotional level. Honestly, she was the first person I deeply cared about - and loved - in ways I never thought I could care about anyone.

And now we're drifting apart, and it's probably over.

Still ... the simple fact that I've let down all my emotional walls, and I'm willing to risk the hurt of a broken heart ... I guess that means something.

I hope.

I also learned at a doctor's appointment last month that I'm not capable of ever having children. Which ... well, I don't quite know how I feel about that. Melancholy, I guess. There's a part of me that's slightly relieved, since I've always feared that I'd be a shitty mom. I'm still an emotional basket case at times, and I have a bad temper, and god only knows how many other sorts of issues ... so I guess I feel a baby would deserve a way better mother than I think I could be. On the other hand, though, I feel like a choice has been taken away from me. It's no longer my decision to be a parent or not ... and that thought has been gnawing away at me the past few weeks, and it depresses the shit out of me.

(Yes, I'm aware that adoption is a possibility. And it may be, some day. But it's not something I'm ready to look into or consider right at this very moment.)

So ... things.

Some good, some bad.

Trying to appreciate the good, and deal with the bad as best I can. :)

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2013, 03:09:28 PM »
I read this and read this and then read this again. I want so badly to hug you, tell you that you are good and strong and awesome because well...you are.

I would share my own story but I won't. Too much, too painful and to be honest tis YOUR blog and your place and I would feel like I was overstepping.

I just wanted you to know that your words, your actions, your heart...made me cry and remember my own pain...and it also made me recall something I told a very good friend of mine, a while back.

You are a survivor. So am I. But we are both far more than that...and in some instances...far less. We are here because we are strong. We are here because we fight.

Some days drawing breath is the most you can do. Just be proud that you are still here to do so. If you are still breathing, it means the assholes haven't won. And that is a good thing.


Stay blessed and love yourself.

Offline Cerelia

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #45 on: February 19, 2013, 08:41:18 PM »
I read your story, and unfortunately I didn't make it through most of the responses due to thoughts of my own stories coming up. I can't even imagine how hard that must be and I greatly commend you for surviving and being able to share your story. When I was younger, I have trouble remembering my exact age because I have found to have some holes in my memories from those times, but I believe I was somewhere from 7-9, I spent the night over at a friend's house. A female friend. She had two brothers and I ended up sleeping in the same bed as her. This was common since we were two little girls; I think she was a few years older than me. In the middle of the night she proceeded to pull down my underwear, since we'd slept in long T-shirts and underwear, and touch me. I didn't want it. It felt wrong to me. She coaxed me into thinking it would be okay and she proceeded to "explore" me, as she called it. I shared this information with one other person and he told on us. I remember convincing my parents, as well as hers that the boy made the whole story up thanks to some ambiguous wording. Other than that I have never really shared this story with anyone. For years it hasn't really affected me; I am 19 now. However for some reason the whole ordeal has been coming up in my mind more lately. Other than this one situation, the girl, who I'll name Amber, attended day care with me and often times made the girls kiss in the closet or do other sexual affiliated things. I was in a very messed up day care and as a result never said anything. Since the first happening with our parents getting involved, I thought it was so horrible that I was never to bring the subject up again. I don't really know if this is the correct place to display this story, and I sincerely apologize if it is not.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #46 on: February 20, 2013, 08:46:08 AM »
@Wolfling72: Thank you. :)

@Cerelia: ~hugs~ this is definitely the right place for stories like yours. Part of the way I've been trying to deal with and understand the things that have happened to me is to put them into words. It doesn't always work, but it's infinitely better than ignoring them, or pretending they don't exist. Posting your experiences, I hope, will help you to make sense of them, or at least cope better with them. :)

Offline SweetSerenade

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #47 on: February 20, 2013, 04:27:15 PM »
I have a story, I would like to share. Just two of my experiences, if that is alright? I wanted to ask permission first, because I wanted to make sure I wasn't stepping on the owner of the blogs toes. I wanted to ask permission first, since what I have to spill out... may not seem 'as bad' as what others have been through, but I want to share my story. I want to let it out.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #48 on: February 20, 2013, 04:37:18 PM »
It's all right. :) If you want to share, by all means, please do

Offline SweetSerenade

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #49 on: February 20, 2013, 05:07:51 PM »
It's all right. :) If you want to share, by all means, please do
Thank you Zillah, and thank everyone that has shared their empowering and heart breaking stories.

Being a survivor, is not as easy as people want to make it out to be. Every morning, it is a hard task, and every night, it is the same. Just to wake up, or go to sleep, and whisper to yourself 'I'm a survivor, it wasn't my fault, they did it, they were stupid and selfish, it wasn't my fault.'. It's not ok, and it will take a long time before it is. It's going to be something that will effect the rest of your life. For me, I only experienced on 'instance' of rape, but it lasted over the course of a few weeks. The other instance, of something life changing, was actually a molestation when I was 13.


People may say 'molestation is nowhere near as bad as rape', I simply state it's subjective on the person. I spent an entire summer, being molested. I was never vaginally raped, or anally, but the things he did to me made me wish I had been. Always, while he forced me to do these things, he whispered how much he loved me. He'd tell me how good I was. It's why I can't stand men talking to me in sex, I can't stand them whispering how much they love me, and how good it is. I need to know them for awhile now, before it settles into my brain, and doesn't trigger anything.

I'm not going into much detail on this, because I was quite young when it happened. I was only 13, and my body forced me to forget most of it... when I moved away from him. I started a new life in a new school. Completely unaware of my past.


When I was seventeen, I started to get some memories back. They came in flashes, and freaked me out. Finally, I fully understood what had happened. I entered my Junior year of High School, got a creative writing class. The teacher asked us to write a story, a writing prompt if you would. Could be as long or as short as we wanted. But it needed to be about what made us into the people we were today.

So I wrote about my life story, how I was raised, and all I had been through up till that point. The teacher called me up after class, and said he needed to see me after school. When I showed up he said  "Is all of this true" and I nodded, told him he was. Then he uttered the line that still chills me to the bone. "You're perfect, drops your pants and bend over the desk."... He grabbed my wrist and slammed it down on the desk.


He told me there was no getting away, he had locked the door... no one would hear me scream. Then he said... one thing... that made me stop fighting. "If you don't do whatever I tell you, your sister will lose her star slot in the Choir."... I couldn't fight against him, the one large weakness I have is threatening my siblings. It took me a long time, to be able to fight back against all that. Then he did it, he came up behind me, and took it away from me.

Mind you, at this point of being seventeen I had just started having my period. I had no figure at all. There was 2x4's who were hotter then me.

I spent an entire three weeks, dealing with all of it. The pain, the shame, the humiliation. Trying to get someone to listen to me, trying to get my voice heard. I was told the same thing, that I was just lashing out. That I was lying. He'd punish me for it too, and sometimes he'd taunt me about not being heard.



No, my story is not as traumatic as others. But let's face it, it's all based on how the person reacts to it. The simple fact of the matter was, in both of my instances the person got away with it because of the society around me. The society that says "Tell us if something like this is happening"... And then when the person comes forward, they call them a liar. Say they are acting out, that the person they are accusing is too nice of a person.

Rape is not right, no matter if it's just molestation or rape. You have the right to say no. It will be a battle every single day, and you may have permanent long lasting damage. But you need to make the choice to continue onward. You make the choice to trust and love. If a man/woman truly loves you, they will give you time. They will sit and hold you, listen as you cry. They will help you get over it, to the best of their ability. Just remember, you are not alone. There are others out there, with quieted voices.... asking the same thing

How do I survive?

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #50 on: September 05, 2013, 09:56:04 AM »
Well, the shoe is on the other foot now, so to speak … and I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do.

One of my very best friends is currently in a relationship that charitably – at best – could be termed "unhealthy". Personally, I'd just call it "awful". The guy she's dating, I suppose, is sweet to her at times, particularly when they're out with friends ... but mostly, he's mentally and physically abusive to her. Even when I’ve seen them together in a public setting where he’s mostly behaving himself, there’s a constant barrage of condescension and insults towards her that’s wrapped in a veil of smiles and jokes, but I don’t think he’s kidding. She's also “been clumsy” and “tripped” more in the past few months than in the entire time I've known her over 6 years, she constantly has bruises that she’s trying to cover ... and she's also not a very convincing liar.

And he rapes her. Frequently.

I know that because I've gotten that particular confession from her a few times – usually in a panicked text or phone call in the middle of the night, which is also usually recanted the next day as “I was drunk” or “I was kidding” or “it was a misunderstanding”.  Again, she’s not a good liar.

I can see what’s happening (as can several other people), but as of now, there’s not much I can do … which is just an incredibly helpless feeling. I’ve let her know that I’m there to help and support her, ranging from the passive “if you want to talk about anything, I’m here to listen” to the most active “if he’s hurting you, you need to leave him”. But apart from a few slips here and there, according to her, no, everything’s fine and wonderful … except I can see the hurt in her eyes. And the guilt, the guilt that shouldn’t be there because she isn’t doing anything wrong. I used to see that hurt and that guilt when I looked in the mirror, and I know what’s going on, and I understand it all too well …

… and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it, because she’s shutting me out. She’s shutting everyone out.

Just like I used to shut everyone out who wanted to help me.

So, I’m left to my own advice. When she asks me to leave her alone, I do, reluctantly. When she tells me to shut up and mind my own fucking business, I do, reluctantly. But I always make sure to let her know that I am there for her, unconditionally, and that I love her no matter what.

I’m just kind of scared because I found out today that she needed to go to the hospital – again – for the second time in several months, this time with a few broken ribs. Apparently she “fell down” again, which I don’t believe at all, unless by that you mean “the asshole boyfriend’s fist fell into her ribcage”. (If I could actually prove otherwise, I’d call the police … unfortunately, I can’t.) I can see things getting progressively worse and worse … and I worry. A lot.

So I do what I can … which isn’t much at the moment. And I think about all the times I pushed the people I loved away from me who wanted to help me … and realize how helpless they must’ve felt. And I’m so, so sorry for doing that … not only because it hurt them, but because it meant I was further hurting myself as well, for far longer than I needed to, just living in a world ruled by guilt and shame and pain and self-loathing.

I just hope she’s stronger than I was … and that she reaches out for help sooner than I ever did.

Offline Oniya

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #51 on: September 05, 2013, 10:06:02 AM »
Does she know that you had to get out of a similar situation?  I know you've said that you haven't told many people (outside of this blog anyways), but this could end up helping both of you.  I'd also completely understand if that wasn't something you were ready to do.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #52 on: September 05, 2013, 11:24:15 AM »
She knows about my own experiences - I told her about them, not too long before (I think) her own unpleasant experiences began. It's how I've even led off a few of my not-so-subtle offers of support to her - "you know all of the shit I've been through, so if you're going through anything like that, believe me, I know how tough it is, and I understand ... you're not alone." Which usually gets an uneasy laugh and a quick brush-off.

It's ... strange (?), for lack of a better word. On the one hand, my own rape experiences has given me perhaps more insight into what's happening with her, and to be able to offer support and help where I might not have been able to otherwise do so. (Several of our mutual friends have noticed she's "off", but didn't see any signs of abuse until it was pointed out.) On the other, I understand too well the defensive mechanisms that go up the moment you suggest there's a problem, and despite having been the one to operate said mechanisms for many, many years, I still have no insight as to how to get past them, apart from patience, kindness, and honesty. (Especially patience, which is the hardest/most frustrating part.)

Intellectually, I know that someone you love and care about really can't be helped until they want to be helped ... but that doesn't make anything any easier. The person she most loves and cares about at the moment is also her abuser, and until she recognizes that fact, I'm not sure what can be changed. (Again, he's done nothing to her that I've directly witnessed, nor have any of our mutual friends, but if he ever does the police will be notified so fast it'll make his head spin.)

Offline Oniya

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #53 on: September 05, 2013, 11:53:50 AM »
Keeping the lines of support open is a good start.  Even having a regular 'girls day' where you get together and do something without talking about him at all gives her a possible 'safe zone'.  The fact that she does know, and knows that you've found your way out, means that you're probably going to be her first choice for advice when he crosses the lines.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #54 on: September 05, 2013, 04:41:08 PM »
~hugs~ Thank you, Oniya. It's pretty much what I'm doing now ... but it's good for my own sanity to hear someone else say that it's the right course of action. I want to do so much more, but I know that it might just push her away (and not in a good direction), so I'm resigned to making sure she knows she has friends - and a life - beyond her main unhealthy relationship.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #55 on: October 27, 2013, 06:42:15 PM »
I read this story and I couldn't help but feel moved to contribute a story of my own on this board. I will comment here further once I'm finished. I just want to say that I respect your aftermath philosophy. You say (in so many words) that you choose to stand and not let yourself be defeated by a tragic past. I had a similar experience as a child by a grown man. I won't say its the same but I would think it similar (in reality) to having a vital peace of you taken away. For me it was my childhood, but as you say: "I'm a survivor, not a victim." It took me a long time to develop that perspective. I think that despite everything that happened, your choice in the end is quite gallant. :)

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #56 on: December 31, 2013, 03:41:30 AM »
Hi, New Year's Eve. Looks like you're back again.

Well, this year I plan on going to some posh party with my girlfriend, the kind of party where I have an excuse to wear a slinky, shiny cocktail dress and a pair of I-paid-way-too-much-for-these high heels. And while I expect the ugly things that happened to me on a New Year's Eve so many years ago will do doubt cross my mind many times tonight, they won't haunt me or define me, as they have so many times before. In fact, I plan on raising a glass of champagne when the ball drops at midnight this year, whenever the countdown starts.

I want to celebrate moving forward, not being held back by the past.

I hope so, anyway. At least that's the plan. It sounds brave, I just hope I can actually do it.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #57 on: January 01, 2014, 07:16:39 AM »
Made it. Survived. Had a fantastic evening.

Here's hoping you all did as well. :)

Have a wonderful 2014, everyone.

Offline kckolbe

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #58 on: January 01, 2014, 07:18:04 AM »
Good job.  I am proud of and happy for you.  Way to start the year off right.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #59 on: January 01, 2014, 01:42:36 PM »
That's amazing!! I'm so glad you had a good time! <3

Sounds like you've come leaps and bounds. ^^

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #60 on: January 02, 2014, 02:46:24 PM »
Thank you both very much! Slowly but surely, it's been getting better the past few years.

Talking about what happened (and posting about it) certainly helps; people listening helps even more. :)

Offline Cycle

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #61 on: January 03, 2014, 08:35:55 AM »
Made it. Survived. Had a fantastic evening.

Congrats, Zillah.  I was happy to read this.  Each step forward counts so much. 

And I am positive 2014 is going to be an amazing year.

Offline The Lovely Tsarina

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #62 on: January 06, 2014, 05:50:13 PM »
Hooray! Oh I'm so very happy, for you!  :-)

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #63 on: January 08, 2014, 03:14:15 PM »
Cycle, T - thank you. :)

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #64 on: June 26, 2014, 02:11:33 PM »
I haven't written here in a long while - for a variety of reasons - but one of the main ones is because with what little free time I've had over the past year or so, I've been volunteering at a rape crisis center as a counselor. It's been an experience that's hard to classify as "good" or "rewarding" –  you're trying to help people in pain, and you wish that they simply hadn't been hurt in the first place –  but I'm glad to be able to help where I can, and I suppose that's what really matters.
 
The main reason I'm writing here now isn't anything new. It's simply a lesson I've learned that I think is worth repeating. Since I decided to start talking and writing about my own experiences of being raped, it's helped me tremendously in my life. Not that it’s been particularly fun, but it’s been therapeutic – I was consumed by my own pain, guilt and self-loathing for a long, long time. It’s only by confronting my own experiences, instead of trying to deny them, that I’ve learned better to cope with the pain, and to realize that there was never any reason for the guilt or self-loathing. I’ve learned that while being raped becomes a part of who you are – and nothing you can do can change that – it doesn’t define who you are.
 
And by talking about rape with others, you realize you’re not alone. You never were alone.
 
That being said … as I’ve told some of the people that I’ve counselled lately, talking helps, but talking’s also painful. There’s no way around it. Talking brings up all the ugly, horrible things that you’re dying to forget, and pulls them all out in the open, with nowhere to hide. But talking’s also the release of that pain. If you hold it inside, all it does is grow and own you. Letting it out is how you can try to own the pain instead, and to eventually let it go.
 
I’ve come to terms – more or less – with the first time I was raped. However, the second one, not so much. I was in an office meeting the other day when an older gentleman – a company client, and a rather important one  –  introduced himself to me … and I realized that he was wearing the exact same cologne as the guy who raped me that second time. (It wasn’t him, in case you’re wondering. Too old, different size, different skin color.) But still, it was enough to put me in a full-blown panic attack that was bordering on a meltdown, to the point where I needed to quickly excuse myself, and sprint to the nearest restroom so I could throw up, and then I curled up in the fetal position for the next five minutes and began crying hysterically and wished I would die. Fortunately, my confused and concerned co-workers found me, and called a paramedic – and between people doing their best to calm me down and a handy sedative from the paramedic, the panic eventually passed.
 
I mention this for two reasons. One, I still haven’t really told my co-workers about why I had the panic attack. Part of that’s because I would genuinely feel bad about making aspersions about our client – hey, you smell just like a rapist! – and having people look at him differently. But part of it … I’m still embarrassed and ashamed by what happened. Even though I know I shouldn’t be. And even though I’ve spent god knows how many posts talking about finding the courage to be a survivor, not a victim – well, it’s still hard to talk about it sometimes. It feels easier to just keep quiet and wish it would go away …
 
… even though it won’t.
 
The other reason is because tonight I’ll be going to my rape crisis center, and I’ll be talking to a counselor about what happened. And I’m hoping that helps me to talk to the people where I work about what happened after that.
 
One step at a time.
 
Talking. It helps. Really.
 
I just need to remind myself of that sometimes as well.

Offline Ariel

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #65 on: June 26, 2014, 02:34:30 PM »
I want to hug you. Can I just hug you and protect you forever?

* Ariel clings to Zillah *

You are such a strong and beautiful woman. I admire you so much. You've been through hell and the fact that you can be so strong blows me away. Reading your posts made me hurt and want to cry for you, but the fact that you braved through all of this makes me happy. You're amazing.

I just can't believe so much evil is out there. The part about the guy in the van was the hardest thing to read.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #66 on: June 26, 2014, 03:43:29 PM »
~hugs~ Thank you, Ariel. :)

The van and the motel still give me horrible nightmares. I've started to remember more of what happened then, which I guess is both good and bad. I think those surfacing memories are what triggered the panic attack, and remembering that cologne smell.

Offline Oniya

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #67 on: June 26, 2014, 03:52:56 PM »
Smells are something that get terribly tied up to memories, both good and bad.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #68 on: June 26, 2014, 03:57:32 PM »
Yep. Normally I couldn't tell you the difference between one type of cologne and another - they all smell the same to me. But when I caught a whiff of what our client was wearing, I recognized it instantly, even though it's been years since I lasted smelled it.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #69 on: July 02, 2014, 08:55:58 AM »
I got groped this morning on the way to a client meeting this morning. Right on a crowded subway car. Strange hand right up my skirt, grabbing me between the legs.

Tell you what, though - throwing an elbow and screaming RAPE at the top of your lungs gets that fucking shit to stop in a hurry. And gets the attention of the off duty cop sitting at the opposite end of the subway car.

Fuck.

Going to the police station later to make a statement.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #70 on: July 04, 2014, 08:54:56 AM »
I've been sitting here at my laptop for a long time now, trying to write something insightful about what just happened the other day.

I can't.

All I can say is that I'm struggling to deal with it. I'm coping as best I can, and I'm trying to make sense out of something that really doesn't make any sense - I know this, and yet I try and do it anyway.

And I have an amazing girlfriend and a wonderful family, who have been very supportive of me, as have been my friends as well. Not keeping what happened a secret from people, or keeping everything bottled inside ... well, I won't lie. As I wrote not too long ago, it still hurts. But it hurts far, far less than pretending everything's okay, when it's not.

One day at a time, I guess. :)

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #71 on: December 12, 2014, 09:57:54 AM »
What happened this summer affected me a lot more than I really care to admit.

But I'll admit it anyway.

At the moment, I can't get on a subway without being physically ill. I'd rather walk 30+ blocks to work than take the subway that should make my trip to and from work super easy. I have a hard time going anywhere by myself, for that matter.

I don't like even being touched right now, let alone hugged or kissed. And right now sex is something that I just find repulsive, which isn't making things easy for my fiance and I.  I take about four hot showers a day, to the point that I rub the skin on my arms almost raw at times. I just feel constantly disgusting.

I'm seeing a therapist again. I go to a group counseling meeting each week as well. I'm taking some prescription medication for depression, and all of this helps ... somewhat. But I don't remember feeling this low in a long time.

I promised myself that I would write about my experiences here, the good and the bad. This is the bad. I'm not looking forward to New Year's Eve this year.

I hope for some good in 2015.

Offline ImaginedScenes

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #72 on: December 12, 2014, 10:38:42 AM »
You are very courageous to write this on a forum that isn't intended for survivors.

I felt a lot of things and had a lot of thoughts while reading this blog, and I don't know how to put some of them into words.  I empathize with becoming ill in certain situations that trigger bad memories. I sympathize with not knowing how to get past something you have been struggling with for a long time.

I'm angry and want to yell into the internet about people who do horrible things or are careless enough to think so little about something so serious that they blow it off as you being a tease and lying or exaggerating.

I want to relate personal concerns and admonish nameless people about what they say and things that they think and how that enables others.

But this is your space, and I don't want to take away from that. So I hope that just describing how strongly I feel about how strong you are (whatever your weak moments), how wrong what happened to you and how people responded to you was, and how much I hope good things for you is enough to give you some happiness.


Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #73 on: December 14, 2014, 07:17:51 AM »
You are very courageous to write this on a forum that isn't intended for survivors.

I'm not quite sure I agree with this statement (or perhaps I'm just not understanding it correctly). I think this is a site for everyone, including survivors of rape and other sorts of traumatic experiences.

But I thank you for your kind words, and for taking the time to write them.


Offline kckolbe

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #74 on: December 14, 2014, 07:29:06 AM »
From the brief glimpses I've seen from you over the years, I think you are doing very well.  Admitting weakness isn't easy, even though none of it is your fault.  I'm glad you are seeing a therapist and talking about it, especially to people that you know care about you, in life and online.  It will get better.  You know you are strong enough to eventually overcome it because you've done it before. 

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #75 on: December 30, 2014, 07:40:07 PM »
Thank you. :)

Offline Cycle

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #76 on: December 30, 2014, 09:11:15 PM »
At the moment, I can't get on a subway without being physically ill.

Don't blame you one bit.  Seriously, if anything, I admire what you did.  Sonofabitch tried to do something and you fought back.  And won.  That's says a lot about who you are.

Quote
I hope for some good in 2015.

I will do the same for you.  Hang in there, Zillah.


Offline Ariel

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #77 on: January 01, 2015, 01:04:49 PM »
*tightly hugs Zillah*

Just like all the other years, you can make it through this one, beautiful. You're strong and brave. I really hope you're doing okay tonight. ♥

Offline TheMusician

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #78 on: January 02, 2015, 11:04:20 AM »
Thank you, so, so much for sharing your story. I know it isn't easy. And the only reason I say that is because I've never, ever shared mine.

Just as ImaginedScenes said, this is your space. I'm not going to take away from it either by slapping my story on here. I don't want to look or sound like a victim, and I don't want to seem like I'm just fishing for attention. Plus, I don't think I could share my story on here just yet.

However, I used to go to a therapist for anger issues....I lied to him for four years about where those issues came from. But I think I'll give him a call sometime today. I'm ready to talk. And I want to thank you for giving me the ability to do that.

:) Thank you, Zillah.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #79 on: January 02, 2015, 04:48:19 PM »
You're quite welcome. :) I'm glad my rambling posts here do some good on occasion.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #80 on: January 04, 2015, 10:18:19 AM »
Paradoxes.

The thing I constantly crave is sleep, but it's a good night lately if I can manage two or three hours of uninterrupted sleep. And that usually has something to do with some combination of Ambien and Scotch.

My friends keep telling me I'm brave, but all I want to do is curl up in a ball and hide from the rest of the world.

I want the person I love most in the world to hold me tight and never let me go, except I can't stand being touched and I keep pushing her away, even though I don't want to, and even though I know it hurts her.

I tell myself constantly to be brave, but I always see a coward in the mirror.

I read the words of the person who started this blog and sometimes wonder who she is. There's days that she's a total stranger to me.

The happiest things in my life make me want to cry.

I don't know anymore.

All I know is that I'm trying. Whatever that means.

Offline Cycle

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #81 on: January 04, 2015, 10:22:25 AM »
The definition of bravery is not the absence of fear.

But the determination to proceed, in the face of fear.

What you are doing, by trying, is bravery, Zillah.  And that is worth everything.


Offline Dimir

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #82 on: January 04, 2015, 03:25:27 PM »
Zillah I am so sorry for what have suffered over the past 15 years, however I can not truly understand what you went through since I'm not a sexual assault victim. Always believe in yourself and you are truly admirable.

Offline ultraperv9000

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #83 on: March 12, 2015, 04:26:54 PM »
I'm a survivor of rape, as well. It's opened my eyes to a lot of things, but has shaken me for what will likely be the rest of my life. You're right, Zillah, it's not just a one-shot event that you never have to think about again. I relive it in my mind, often right at the time when it's least convenient, healthy, or sane.

I was an eight year-old boy that went to a gymnastics studio. I had a friend who was four years older than me. My parents decided to take me to his house. I wanted to talk about Pokemon and toys and stuff, but he wound up tricking me into going into the bathroom with him. Completely naive, I had no idea that when he locked the door and pressured me into taking my clothes off and getting on all fours in the bathtub, he was going to try to penetrate me. But, it happened, and he was already inside me by the time I knew what was happening. Thank goodness, his older sister came and banged on the door after about five minutes of this, but I definitely didn't know what was going on, and never could have imagined that this was something that I ever consented to. I left bewildered, and feeling wronged and violated for reasons I couldn't really describe.

It wasn't until I joined the Boy Scouts a few years later, and picked up the handbook, that I realized what happened. I remember it as vividly as the rape itself. I was sitting in my father's truck in the front passenger seat, and read through the manual until I got to the section on molestation. I was able to put the pieces together, and that's when everything fell apart in my head. That wasn't just some weird "experimentation". That was rape. I had been raped. I felt, for what was probably the first time in my life, the corrosive anxiety that still floods me when I'm stressed. From that point forward, I would shut down when things got tough. I would just sit and wait for it to go away, just like I had to when I was trapped in that bathroom with the rapist. It's been a long way up since then.

It may be somewhat unique that, in my personal experience, I didn't actually understand what had happened until I had thought about it, and had enough information about it to make an informed decision. But here's the thing: I never told a soul. The rapist moved to another state about three months afterwards. I didn't know how to contact him. I probably could have followed paper trails and such to get to him. But the chief reason I didn't was because of this pernicious thought that males are not raped. Already a rather insecure kid thanks to other issues, I wouldn't have dared face further ostracism from my peers, and knock down my own fragile identity for a crime which I would likely never see redressed. I just didn't trust other boys, or adults both male and female, to not either mock my perceived weakness, or coddle me for being a victim. Both of these questioned my maleness, which was already rather shaky from mostly abstaining from "manly" activities and behaviors. I thought that admitting to being raped by another male would destroy the last shred of masculinity I had managed to develop since then.

I've since learned better, though. I cursed myself for my naivete for years, but eventually realized that not only can I never change the past, but in the circumstances, I was only doing the best that I could in a coercive and manipulative situation. I just wasn't equipped to handle it, and I shouldn't be blamed for it. It's like putting a 700-pound rock on top of someone's chest, then blaming them for not being athletic enough when they cannot move it aside. Victim-blaming is always absurd.

Trauma like this is always lasting, it doesn't go away, and it's a Sisyphean battle to make sure that you don't backslide. I suppose another important thing to realize is that sometimes, a survivor will backslide. Work to reflect, understand, and seek support, but blaming yourself for letting yourself slip is not only pointless, but in a way, a form of victim-blaming in itself.

I hope more men who have experiences like this can come forward, but there's no pressure from me to do so.

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #84 on: March 22, 2015, 07:20:34 AM »
I'm so sorry to hear of your experiences, but glad to know that you're working to cope and deal with them. That's the important part. You can't change what happened, but you can try to make sure it doesn't affect your life negatively as you move forward. There will probably be days that it will, but hopefully those days are few and far between.

And yes, anyone can rape anyone, irrespective of gender - male on female, male on male, female on female, female on male. Pretending otherwise isn't acknowledging reality.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #85 on: March 22, 2015, 09:07:00 AM »
Form one survivor to another, THANK YOU. <3

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #86 on: March 22, 2015, 09:07:56 AM »
*from...LOL I Have NOT had my coffee fix this morning. Heh

Offline kckolbe

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #87 on: March 22, 2015, 10:18:18 AM »
It's a shame it isn't discussed more often, considering how common it is.  All but two of the women I've been with have been raped.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #88 on: March 30, 2015, 09:41:06 AM »
In the long term, it's something that's not only important to discuss, but healthy.

In the short term, though, it's painful, on so many levels, and I understand completely why so many people choose not to talk about it. I remember trying to tell some of my close friends when I was raped the first time, as well as campus security, and being shocked and hurt by the less-than-supportive reactions I got from some. (My rapist was a mutual friend of some of my friends, which complicated things.)

But, still:

Maybe it wasn't really rape, just a misunderstanding.
You probably led him on.
He wouldn't do that. You're a liar.
What were you wearing?
Things happen when people drink, sometimes they get carried away ...


Meanwhile, none of that changes the fact that he wanted sex, I said no multiple times, and then he proceeded to rape me anyway.

I lost some people in my life who I had considered friends, had a negative stigma attached to me for rest of college ... at the time, I really regretted saying anything about it to anyone. It's why I mostly stayed silent about subsequent sexual assaults. Not worth the headache or heartache. It was easier - or so I thought then - to just sweep things under the rug, and pretend they didn't happen.

Now, I encourage talking about it. I strongly believe it's the best way to deal with such a traumatic experience, and to begin the process of healing, at least as things can best be healed. But I do think it's something a person needs to be ready to talk about, or at least think they're ready to do so ... and be ready to possibly deal with the potential backlash of said discussion. I still have a few experiences in my life I've only told to my therapist - not my family, not my friends, not even my ex or my fiancée, who are the two people I love most in the world. It's not something I'm ready to do yet.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 07:57:58 PM by Zillah »

Offline ZillahTopic starter

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #89 on: May 29, 2015, 05:07:55 AM »
Coping is a weird thing at the moment.

On the one hand, I'm better than I have been in awhile. That's partly due to seeing a good therapist, and partly due to finding a good medication dosage for anxiety/depression that doesn't leave me feeling like a zombie. I don't feel disgusting all the time. I'm not completely terrified to go out somewhere and get a coffee. I don't feel isolated and alone.

On the other ... my most recent serious relationship is on hold. That's for a lot of reasons, but one of the main ones is because it's hard for me to emotionally connect with her. It's back to something I've talked about before - she wants so bad to be there for me, and to help me, and ... I push her away from that. Even though I know it's stupid. And I'm disconnecting emotional relationships from physical ones again - I'm fine with sex again, but I'm not fine with being intimate, if that makes sense. Sex only works for me right now if there's zero emotional component to it ... which, again, not good.

So. I don't know how I'm doing. It's not so much two steps forward, one step back as much as dancing around in circles. Some things get better, others worse. And I wish I knew how to deal with it all better.

It's frustrating.

Offline Dallas

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #90 on: June 08, 2015, 03:20:29 AM »
Personal peeves with outsider opinions and thoughts like that that upset me in general...

"Maybe it wasn't really rape, just a misunderstanding."

Rape isn't something one "misunderstands". Neither is molestation (from my experience). It is impulse-driven, regardless of the motivation or "intention". It is a choice.

"You probably led him on."

Even if you did lead him on... you would have every right to pull the plug on the whole scenario. Unfortunately, people without a sense of honor choose not to control themselves. Again, one chooses to assault... to take or hurt, just as much as one chooses to nurture, protect and mend damage that another coward does.

"What were you wearing?"

While it is recommended one dress appropriately to not readily invite people that do so on a platter... even wearing "slutty clothes" doesn't give anyone any "right" to treat another human being that way. Period.

"Things happen when people drink, sometimes they get carried away ...

I drink all the time to drown my sorrows and self-medicate. Even when I'm with other girls, even if I find them attractive and even if I lust for them... I could not rest easy at night if I had decided to act on one night's "need" if it meant fracturing another human soul for years. Point being, I call BS on that too. Being drunk is another cowardly excuse for one to hide behind out fear of accountiblity for one's actions. One can drink themselves to stupor and in my eyes, it never distorts between what is ultimately right and wrong.

Those that rend the hearts of people with scars that take many years to heal with this kind of attack are the true cowards. Not you, Zillah. I mean it.

Offline Dallas

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #91 on: July 30, 2015, 08:45:08 PM »
Just wanted to say that you've given me courage to open up my past and face it with courage. I didn't feel like I had that power until you happened.  :-)

Offline SapphireHaven

Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #92 on: August 11, 2015, 02:42:56 AM »
I really appreciate this post. And I love the title; a survivor, not a victim. Similar experiences with a family member left me feeling like garbage for more than a few years of my life and I've almost made it over the "it was my fault" bump, but reading your post made quite a bit of headway.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #93 on: August 11, 2015, 09:20:00 AM »
My problem, I think, with my experience (That's an amazing distinction, by the way) is that ... well, where do you run to? When something "normal" happens to you, you can run away and hide and push it away. But what do you do if the only place in the world that is supposed to be safe for you - your own body - is the place where you can never leave and are never safe? You can't ever clean it out. You can't ever forget that feeling. When someone makes you angry, you can turn away from it. But with this,  the very fabric of you, now, is tainted with their presence.

I won't go through the details of my experience, but I can say that as much to myself as anyone else, it was particularly disturbing to realize that I tried to take a bath in near-boiling water (Causing severe burns) because it was the only way I could get the internal reaches of me to feel clean. Like I could be myself again without parts of them still inside me. It's in my body and in my mind, that moment of complete helplessness, and it will never get out. People who have never gone through that will never know the desperation to have one minute's safety, one minute's healing.

I've had people ask me, too, "How long are you going to keep punishing everyone around you for something those guys did?" I wish now I'd had the presence of mind to ask him (it's usually a him, for whatever reason) "How quickly would you silence me?" At least more often than I have.

"Why didn't you just _______________(Fill in the blank as you wish)?" Alright, then you show me how it's done.

"I can't believe that would happen to you. You're so ________________(Whatever you want to say or observe)." You're missing the point.

It had nothing to do with me. I could have done nothing to prevent it any more than a chair prevents being sit on. They could, and they did, use force. At that point, I was not a human being. I was neither person nor female. I was a project, an object, a means to an end. They could not see me.

And they don't, now. They don't see those moments when I can smell scotch and everything in me lashes out. When I need to use all the violence I didn't that night to push it away. (Frankly, if I'd known I'd have been fighting this so long, I wouldn't have decided against lashing out as I had when I thought "If I just stop, let them do it, it'll be over and I can get away.") They don't see those moments when I start to feel that swirling in my head and my mind associates it with the tearing and the bleeding and the pain. They don't feel that. They don't see it, or hear it echo in every time men laugh.

It's been a decade and a half, some reactions have dulled. Now, sometimes, it's just a moment when my heart beats too hard, too fast, before I realize that I've managed to surround myself with good men, innocent men. Sometimes it's the way my breath catches and it makes me feel like I'm being strangled, all because of someone's hands on my shoulders. But I can swallow it back, and remind myself that I'm a force, now, that I wasn't at sixteen. That I wasn't that night.

It had nothing to do with me, and I am the one who has lost the definition of self to the inability of another to adhere to the boundaries between where he ended and I began.

I choose the people I'm around carefully. I remind myself daily that too much time has passed - all physical trace is gone now.

But the mental aspect, of remembering that there is not a place in the world I am safe if my body could not be that for me, that is something that will stick with me for a long time. It has made me more compassionate. It has made me more thoughtful, and in some ways brought me back from edges of damage that might have been caused by other things. But I have to remind myself that people who have never experienced it are a blessing. They've never had to go through that, and the thought is beautiful. I have to focus on that before I can deal with answering why I have to struggle not to see myself as half a person: Half myself, and half of someone I never wanted.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #94 on: August 11, 2015, 09:27:56 PM »
After talking to a person here on the site who’ll remain nameless and reading this topic, seeing as there are so many out there who went through something similar, I decided to also share my story.

As some of you already might know, I grew up in Malaysia. I had a great childhood with five older siblings, all brothers. So I’ve never really been shy around boys and such. Though when I turned 14 and all my friends started to talk about dating and such stuff, I noticed I wasn’t really interested in boys. Instead I found myself more and more attracted to girls. For two years I struggled with myself as in the village I grew up, being gay was looked at the same as you killing someone. But realizing this is who I was, that I liked girls, in particular was in love with my best friend who also happened to be one of the most popular girls in school, decided to make a great spectacle out of telling people how I felt. After all I ‘ve always been a sucker for romantic movies and thought that perhaps if I made a big show when declaring my love for her, everything would turn out okay. You know it’s like you realize your life isn’t a movie and such but you still hope to get to that happy ending.

So I decided to use my birthday as the perfect time to come out. Most of my family and all of my friends would be together and such would be the perfect moment. Well I can tell you I think my 16th birthday party has been the party that’s been talked about the most in town. Sadly not in the way I liked it. From the moment I declared I was a lesbian and in love with my best friend, I became an outcast. My so called friends didn’t talk to me anymore, in town everybody turned away from me if I passed by and my own family. The one group of people that normally should have your back no matter what acted as if I died that moment. I’m going to spare you all the details but for a month it was as if I was a ghost walking amongst people. Trust me that is a feeling you never ever want to experience.

The only person to stick by me was my dad. He also realized that he had to make a choice, either stick by me and see his marriage fail and lose all of his friends or treat me the same as everyone else. He chose to do the first and called his friend who lived in the UK. They had always been as close as brothers before the friend moved to UK. And when he had started his own business he had told my dad if he or one of his sons ever needed a job there, he should call and ask for it. So my dad did, explained the situation and his friend helped us with everything.

A month and two weeks after me coming out, we were on a plain to the UK. He had a work permit and I a student permit (all thanks to some well-placed local bribes). Here our new lives could start as he had a job and I had been accepted as a transfer student to an international high school. Off course there were a few issues for me. My English wasn’t that great. I mean I could make myself understandable and when people talked to me I understood most of it. My reading and writing however was horrible as the same could be said about my math. As this wasn’t an uncommon thing, the school had teachers that volunteered to help students catch up on these things after school.

Also when I first arrived at the school and was asked to introduce myself, I told everyone I was a lesbian. My dad had kept telling me that I should do this, after all this was who I was and then I wouldn’t have to worry about making friend who later would disappear on me again. And he was right. Some people didn’t like that about me but most just accepted me for who I was. So life became good, I had some good friends, found a local club where I could continue practicing Wushu and had teachers helping me out. I even can be called happy at that time. After all a new life had begun for me and it looked so good.

Sadly enough Tuesday 11 december 2007 that happiness was taken away. Normally after school, the teacher helping me with my math and English would come over around 7pm until 9pm. Some occasions I went to his house and he would teach me there. Normally he should have come over but he called and said when going home after school, he had sprained his ankle and couldn’t move so well and asked if I could come over. Thinking nothing off it as I have sprained my ankle several times I just went to his house. The thing is normally his wife was there, or at least his baby son was there while his wife was gone to work. Now both weren’t there and when I asked about it, he just said she was gone to see her mother as she wasn’t feeling to well and had taken the baby with her.

Again this should have been a warning but again I didn’t really think about it. Why would I, he was my teacher and I had been in his house before. Though what really got me suspicious was that normally when I would arrive, he would have his books out and ready. This time they weren’t. So when I asked about he just said he was going to give me a special lesson before closing the distance between us. Off course I realized what was happening and tried to resist.

Now I do Wushu and at practice had even once taken down a full grown man by accident. But I’m also small of posture and skinny so my strength has never been that great. So when he grabbed me, all I could do was try to break free from his grip. I managed to get in some elbows and kicks but when he smacked me against the head several times and burst my lip, I stopped fighting him. Why? I was scared to death and hurting and just wanted him to stop hitting me.

Though I tried to fight him once again when he tried to pull down my underwear, determined a few blows to the head wouldn’t stop me. After all I was still a virgin and didn’t want to lose it like this. In the end I gave up when he started to choke me as I was terrified that if I kept on fighting he would just kill me. And even though the rape itself lasted no more than five minutes, it still felt like those five minutes lasted forever. When he was done, he just threw my pants back at me and told me that if I ever told anyone about this, he would make sure I would be on the next plane back to Malaysia.

My luck at that time, or bad luck depending on how you look at it, was my dad working evening shifts. So he didn’t see the state I was in or that I was back home way earlier than normal. Scared to death that my teacher had the power to send me back, I know naïve of me but at that time I truly believed it, I played my head injuries off as practice going wrong. It wasn’t until he asked me what was bothering me, as I had been acting very strange, a month later that I finally told him what had happened. 

He then took me to the cops and to the schools administrator and told them about what happened to me. I would never forget the reactions of them. The police told my dad that if what I was telling was true, I had waited too long to report it.  Not to mention they had doubts that my teacher, who was an upstanding member of the community, would do such a thing and this looked more like an attempt of some Asian immigrant in trying to get rich by claiming to be raped and hoping to get a big pay out in court. But this wasn’t America so I shouldn’t think it was that easy. The school’s reaction was that they also didn’t believe me. They just thought it was me making up lies in an attempt to hide that I wasn’t learning things as fast as I should and that my teacher would never do such a thing as he had been a teacher for such a long time and never had there been one complaint about him. Instead I should count myself lucky to get his help.  (These things are the very good and brushed up version of the things they actually said but this is what it came down to.)

Off course rumors spread and for the second time in my life I became an social outcast. Only two other people, two of my classmates and to this day best friends believed me. The rest gave me those cold looks. No longer able to take see those dead eyes stare at me, I broke down completely. I didn’t talk to anyone, didn’t leave me room except to use the bathroom and maybe eat from time to time. Also didn’t sleep a lot and well thought it would be better if I just didn’t exist anymore.

My dad with the help of one of my friends mother took me to a therapist. The first session my dad sat in and explained what had happened back in Malaysia and what had happened now, and talked about my hobbies and things I liked before leaving me alone with him. That first session and the two there after I just remember me sitting there, not saying a thing while he just talked about daily life, stuff that was in the newspaper and things he had been doing.

The fourth session is actually also the reason I’m on this site right now as he suggested we should do a story together. He explained that he did roleplaying games with his old college buddies and knowing that I liked to read fantasy novels he suggested we together created a story of our own and created our own characters who we would play like. As he explained how this would work and how I had to think of me as that character and feel as how that character would feel, I got interested in it. After all he sounded so exciting and made it sound like a very fun thing to do, I started to write with him.

It’s this that helped me open up again a little to my friends as they would also write with me. And well they knew that if I made it so my character was hungry, I was hungry and kinda communicated that way before talking to them again.

Though what really helped me was another girl of my class that an half year after me, was also raped by the same teacher. Only this time he was caught by his wife coming home early. Off course now suddenly everyone believed me and were all apologetic and such. But I didn’t really care about that. On the advice of my therapist, I went to the other girl that the teacher had been raping and talked to her. It is this what has helped me the most, knowing I wasn’t alone. Knowing there was someone else out there who knew how I felt.

I also think we helped each other through it. Even now that she has moved to live in Dublin, we still keep in touch and still think of her as a sister. Sure it still isn’t easy and the first few times someone I didn’t know tried to touch me had me freaking out. But I can say that I no longer hide myself and after finishing high school, I even worked as a waitress for almost four years before. Okay that wasn’t easy, especially not in the beginning and there have been times drinks have ended up in peoples laps and once a wrist might accidentally be broken when a man tried to move his hand under my skirt. Something I only started wearing again after I got the job as waitress and I had to wear it. After all I was scared that if I showed to much skin or looked to cute I might end up having another experience like that. However now I’m comfortable again wearing skirts, dresses and a bit more revealing clothes. After all I realize now at that time I was wearing a sweater and jeans and it still didn't stop him from raping me. So I keep telling myself it doesn't matter what clothes you wear, just make sure you think you look cute in it and you feel comfortable wearing them. And for me this helps.

And while I’m happy now and have good friends taking care of me and I can say I enjoy myself again, there are still days I just don’t want anyone near me and have to push myself to get out of bed and be the happy jolly person people are used to see. It’s those days that are the worst for me as if anyone then even touches me, I either end up freaking out and turning into a sobbing wreck after calming down or get so sick that I can’t hold anything down.

As those days no longer outweigh the good ones, I recently started to think about dating again. Don’t know if I’m ready for it and how I really will react when someone will become more intimate. So we’ll just see how that goes and take it one step at a time. But I also know that I can’t let this control my life and have to try to make the best out of it. I’ve been given a second chance by coming here and I don’t want to lose that chance. And I like to think a few good things came out of all this mess. I made three awesome friends, one who is even more like a sister than just a friend. And it got me into role playing and that had me ending up here. Having me meet a group of fantastic people so far and more to come in the future.   

Those that wonder what happened to the teacher: he got arrested, had his teachers license taken away and was sentenced to jail for a long long time.

And well that’s all I wanted to say. So thank you for reading my story and if there are people who want to talk or have questions, feel free to pm me any time.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #95 on: August 11, 2015, 10:26:15 PM »
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Shekinah. I appreciate it.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #96 on: August 11, 2015, 10:46:04 PM »
My pleasure, just wanted to let people and Zillah know they are not alone and I can understand perfectly what they are going through and that if they need anyone to talk to I'm always willing to listen and talk to them. Know how important that is.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #97 on: August 11, 2015, 11:01:01 PM »
I just wanted to say something about all the people who have posted in here. I just want to say that all of you are strong. While what happened to you may have made you feel weak, worthless or such, all of you are strong in my eyes (and certainly others). It takes courage and strength to not only talk about it, but have a positive outlook on life. You may not think that your story will help anyone, but it might be the person who is just reading the thread, afraid to post themselves and they feel empowered by your post. I also want to make it clear that the people who read this thread, having a similar experience and haven't posted yet... you are not weak because you haven't posted. I think anyone who has survived rape (male or female) and have the courage to continue on are brave. They say despite what has happened, I move forward with my life. It may take them weeks, months or years. You are not weak for taking longer to cope with what happened. But just remember, you are never alone. There are others who have been in your shoes before and the people who stick with you in these times are the people who are worth keeping around.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #98 on: August 13, 2015, 02:54:19 AM »
It took me a couple of tries to put this together.  I couldn't make it feel right, and I didn't want to ramble- though I think forcing my mind and hands to put all that text up here was good.

But none of it worked, and none of it felt right.  I guess all I can say is "I wish," and tell you that I admire everyone who has shared their story here- and that my prayers are with you, as well as all of the people who haven't shared their stories.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #99 on: August 13, 2015, 06:49:56 PM »
I'm glad the words I've written seem to be of some help to others.

It's your collective words that mean so much more to me.

Thank you, everyone, for sharing what you've shared.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #100 on: October 02, 2015, 10:19:19 PM »
And a big thank you for the bravery and honesty in posting this.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #101 on: January 04, 2016, 06:57:56 AM »
Dear Zillah,


While awaiting to be approved and being up at an ungodly hour, I decided to peruse the parts of the site I am allowed and stumbled across the blogs. Blogs are always fascinating to me because I wishI was capable of actually making use of them. But there is a part of me that frets that I'll only seem like I'm fishing for attention or that what I put out will be used against me later.

I digress.

Like many who have read your blog, it seems a tragedy makes kindred souls of us all. In reading the frustrations and fears that you've laid out for us, along with seemingly the rest of your soul there are things that you mention that brought a chuckle or two from me. Not a 'oh this stuff is comedy gold' kind of laugh but more of a 'wow..heard that before'.

I think the first was the boyfriend who, in his own twisted sort of way, tried to help by asking "When are you ever going to be over it?" And your reaction echoed my own similar reaction when a friend asked me something similar long ago.

A few years ago while waiting for a bus, a woman struck up a conversation with me. Funny how sometimes life puts the right people in our path to teach us a lesson...
Her son had been arrested and she was on her way to go see him. She was the only one who would even bother and as she continued to talk at length, (believe me ..it was lengthy.) I discovered my initial hunch about him was right when she let slip how long he'd be in prison. Her son was a rapist.

But the comment that slipped from her mouth as she was bemoaning the fact that her son would never again be free while she was alive at first made me want to scream and shout. "It's not like he killed anyone.."

My first reaction was to tell her in so many colorful and descriptive words that yes. Yes he had killed someone. He killed the person his victims had once been. He didn't just violate their bodies, but with that vile act he cut away something very precious about them and no matter how much time goes on...will never, ever get back. All the counseling, all the therapy and all the self-help books in the world can never, ever bring back what once was.

But as I prepared to tell her how wrong she was, I realized that as the mother of a rapist, maybe she of all people aside from those who had been raped themselves, could understand the shame I carried within me. Shame I still carry to this day. Because she refused to abandon her son and denounce him like the rest of his family had she had become a pariah. The lines on her face told a story that her still-flapping lips did not. More to the point, why she would opt to blurt something like what her son had done to a complete stranger made me see how truly lonely she must have felt. However disgusting and heinous her son might seem to me, for a brief moment I came to see that tragedy had made this woman and I closer than I'd felt to anyone in a long time.

I won't say I know how you feel because I don't. You mentioned how countdowns make you cringe...I can't stand to hear 'Happy Birthday' being sung to me and hated having to explain that to certain people I was once friends to. Seeing their empty expressions while they tried to wrap their head around why even years later, hearing that song sung to me made me incredibly uneasy.

To echo the sentiment that many hear have said, you are brave. I can imagine on some days it doesn't feel that way. Some days are harder than others. And while we can never gain back what was stolen from us, the single greatest revenge we can serve to those who harmed us is to never let them take away any more of who you are. And also to never be silent. I applaud you from my corner of the world for you speaking out and continuing to live when giving up is far more tempting sometimes.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #102 on: January 05, 2016, 06:57:05 PM »
Thank you. Knowing that some people find some good in this blog makes it worth writing. And sharing.

I don't think I'm particularly brave. It's a struggle. Some days are better than others.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #103 on: January 05, 2016, 10:20:25 PM »
Thank you. Knowing that some people find some good in this blog makes it worth writing. And sharing.

I don't think I'm particularly brave. It's a struggle. Some days are better than others.


I can definitely relate to the some days being better than others. That you've created a small corner for people to share and connect makes you a very beautiful person.

And you don't have to think of yourself as brave, I'm sure there are plenty of others beside myself who will assure you that you are. Courage without arrogance is a wonderful thing and speaks volumes of how truly spectacular you are.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #104 on: January 05, 2016, 10:30:16 PM »
Your story is way worse than mine and I'm so sorry to hear that happened to you. I can't imagine at all.   For mine it was coehersive rape. I didn't even think of it as that until I told my story to a therapist a year later, a story that I've mostly blocked at this point.  I was 19.  And I went out with this guy a few times.  I would say my self esteem and confident nature wasn't quite as strong back then, at least underneath the surface.  This particular night, he rode me back to his dorm on his motorcycle, which I hated, cuz I can't stand those things.  And we were making out his bed. I remember he tried to take off my shirt and I told him no.  I remember I did this numerous times.  Said no.  Yet, he kept, trying, like no didn't really mean no, it meant try harder.  And being less strong, at a point in each 'step', my no's got weaker.   All the way.  I didn't want it.  I didn't enjoy it.  It was like, I didn't really have a voice or wasn't being listened to.

The next day he told me, it was fun but yeah, he was done, didn't want to see me anymore, something like that. 

As girls do, I blamed myself for not 'being stronger' and 'not walking away' or 'not say NO more forcefully.'

But in the end, the first no, should have been the only no I ever had to say.

I don't feel scarred.  More, I suppose since at the time I blamed myself, I also told myself I would never let someone use me like that again.  It might have been something that pushed me to be stronger.

But that doesn't mean that guys don't do that to girl every day, breaking them down their will until they feel guilty for saying no.  And that not everyone can walk away and not feel something awful inside.   And I would wager that many of these experiences don't ever get reported, and that 1 out of 4 number might be much higher than we realize.

Just remember, you didn't do anything wrong. He was the horrible person that used his size and strength to force you to do something you clearly said no to.  He is the broken person.  You are the butterfly.

*hugs*

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #105 on: January 06, 2016, 07:50:50 AM »
The question I've truly grown to hate when it comes to rape is this:

"Why didn't you go to the police?"

(Or, as it tends more to be phrased, if you were really raped, why didn't you press charges?)

Because it's not always that simple. That's why.

Not all rapists are anonymous strangers lurking in the shadows. Most people know their rapists. Many love them. Some have children with them. And it's a traumatic experience to begin with. So when your rapist might be someone you know and trust - and love - it's even more traumatic and confusing.

You tell yourself you weren't raped.

You tell yourself there's no way the person who raped you could've ever done something like that.

You find yourself wondering what you did wrong.

You find yourself thinking that maybe you're overreacting. Or what you think just happened didn't really happen, not the way you think you did.

You doubt yourself. You hate yourself.

You just want to pretend it never happened.

You don't think anyone would believe you anyway.

If you feel any of these things ... it's why you wouldn't go to the police. It's complicated.

Eight years ago, I dated a guy for awhile. Charming, funny. My family liked him a lot. I loved him. We had a lot of fun together.

But there were times I'd come home to the apartment we shared, and he'd want to have sex, and I'd usually say yes ... but sometimes no. I was working nights, and sometimes I was just tired. Or not feeling right. And I just wanted to sleep.

Saying no at first got a sigh, but sympathy. That later evolved into a glare, which got progressively nastier over the next few months.

And then, one day, I said no, I just wanted to take a nap, but maybe when he got home from work later that day ... and I got a hard slap in the face. That became a regular response to no. Which was better than what came later on for no, which was either a punch in the stomach or a kick to the back. One of the kicks left me pissing blood for a few days.

But slap or punch or kick, I'd then get grabbed by my hair or my wrist, and either dragged to the bedroom or shoved on the floor. He'd pull most of my clothes off. I learned to let him. There were more punches otherwise.

And then he'd do what he wanted. He usually didn't say anything. If he did, it was to call me a selfish bitch. And that I didn't understand. And he'd make me understand. Towards the end of all this, he'd put his hand around my throat and squeeze until I passed out. Again, I learned to let him. Punches.

When he was finished, he'd get up and leave the apartment for awhile. I don't know where he went or how long he was gone. I'd stare at the wall or the ceiling, feeling totally numb. When he came back, he'd sit or lie down next to me and stroke my hair, and tell me that he loved me, and that I loved him, right?

I'd smile and nod and say yes and still feel numb and empty inside. Sometimes we'd have sex after that as well.

We were together for two years. This happened a few times a month during the last year we dated.

He left me. I didn't leave him. And when he left me, I was devastated. I was in love with him.

And it's only been over the last year or so that I've processed the fact that he raped me.

As I've said, it's complicated.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 07:54:14 AM by Zillah »

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #106 on: January 06, 2016, 08:28:20 AM »
Sits down and thinks.

It's hard. Sometimes it's beyond hard but one goes on because one has to. To do less, be less, is to let them ~ALL of THEM~ win. Hell with that.

Sexual Molestation. Not even a pre-teen but it was my fault because I'd developed and that meant I'd wanted it, right? "Old enough to bleed, old enough breed." Yeah? Yeah. I only told when he tried to mess with a different family member, after taking it and hiding it and carrying the scars for TWO years. I wanted to die. That was the first time I attempted suicide. Ten years old and I wanted to be on any other plane of existence but this one.

They don't tell you about the guilt that you feel for telling.

The fact that you are complicit and no matter how young you are, you KNOW it.

You let it happen...at 8 and 9 and 10...they don't tell you about the unreasoning jealousy because your RAPIST is looking at a new little thing to touch and it's your sister, your brother, your cousin...

Eighteen? Raped by my boyfriend at the time and his best friend. I was drunk enough to spew vomit EVERYWHERE. Ended up with alcohol poisoning and a lovely case of the Clap from one of them. Rape. The gift that keeps on giving. It was THEN that I decided Victim MUST be written somewhere on my body because it JUST kept happening.

The last time. 24. A female. Nice, right? You think that just because there is no penis it isn't rape? It's rape. If I say no and you persist? It's rape. If I fight you off? It's rape. If I have to whip your ass and then you try and call the law on me for defending myself, for having enough of this shit, for being tired of being everyone's little sex toy? That is rape again because you made ME the bad guy.

It took YEARS of therapy and I still snap at the slightest things. I still have unreasoning rage, I still stop moving completely if someone touches me on the back of my neck or breathes into my ear. I can not STAND soft touches. I do not allow random hugs. No cheek kisses. No touches unless I have bonded with the person offering. I trust No-One. I doubt I ever will again.

And I am fine with that.

Except, not really.

But I am here, still. And I am breathing. And I will be here until the gods decree that it is time for me to go.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #107 on: January 07, 2016, 08:19:09 PM »
A woman tried it on me when I was very young. I was about 11, she was 15 or 16. We were friends and she lived across the road from me. We normally spent time together, and on this day I was told she was under my neighbour's house (which was built in like a flat downstairs). It was twin male friends of ours that lived there but they weren't home.

There was no one else around and she locked me in. I don't remember a whole lot of details except her sitting in a rocking chair, exposing herself to me. She wanted me to touch her and I told her no.

I had these earrings, like small silver hoops (known as sleepers in Australia) and had lots of little rainbow coloured rings on them that I'd put on them. I was uncomfortable with taking earrings in and out so left them the way they were most of the time. I remember her grabbing me, dragging me into the bathroom and pulling the rings off my earrings. She told me they made me look like a slut and flushed them down the toilet.

I don't remember too much else except I got out of there. She told me if I ever told anybody, she'd bash my face in. I never trusted her again after that and now when I think about it, I don't know that she wouldn't have tried to hurt me.

I became very shy about anything woman or sex related, and got very uncomfortable when certain topics were brought up. I think it started there but I feel most comfortable around male friends in RL, and I've always had a little bit of discomfort around other women, even though my best friend was female. I feel attraction too but I find men easier to be around, and I really think this is a lingering effect of what happened.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #108 on: January 07, 2016, 08:37:58 PM »
I can't see how to edit my post on here (if I can), so I'll just add that I think those of you who have been through so much are strong, brave survivors.

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #109 on: January 07, 2016, 11:30:56 PM »
I don't see an edit Amber, but I also want to say the same, that every person who has ever experience a situation like these is brave.  Period.

I admit I really try not to dwell on these things, but deep down I know as my daughter is getting older and older, there is that fear of all those things that could happen you know?

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Re: I'm a Survivor, Not a Victim: Coping with Rape
« Reply #110 on: January 08, 2016, 09:30:20 AM »
I understand what you mean. A martial arts class might be helpful if she has problems with anyone someday?