Guest choirgirl

for those who didn't call it rape

93 posts in this topic

most ppl probably know the book I never called it rape and I was just wondering for those who that applied to what the differece would have been if you had been able to call it rape right away.  For me I think it would have helped me to get out of what was to be an on going situation straight away.  Also I didn't get any help for 2 years until a friend took me to the dr and said what had happened.  If I had been able to call it rape right away I could have got appropriate help right away.  So I was wondering if this applied to anyone else - if being able to name your expereince empowers you to get help or to get out of a situation or anything else that would have made your things  better for you.

Steph

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Well I wasn't raped but I guess this kind of relates to me because although I was sexually abused as a teenager I wasn't able to recognise what was happening as sexual abuse. If I had I probably would have said something to someone - a teacher, parent, whatever. But I just kept it all locked in and lived with it. I even remember a teacher approach me and ask me and I clearly said "oh no, i've never been abused" and the thing is that that was at the age of 15, right in the middle of that abuse period. I was at that time being sexually abused and i couldn't see it - I really believed that I had never been abused. If only.....

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In one way, yes I think it can help but in another, I use it as a wall. For so many years I have been able to say "I was raped" but I am only just beginning to be able to deal with what that really meant for me. Its like saying the word was like some magical formula, I can't explain it really but if I could say it, it would go away and I didn't really have to deal. Hope that made sense :)

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I wasn't ever raped, it was only attempted rape.  I still don't think of it as rape since it wasn't.  but I did underestimate how much it would affect me, since I was only 11 and didn't think he did anything wrong, it was all my fault.  I think if I had realized that it was a big deal, I would have told someone, since I didn't for five years, in which time I let it fester in me and slowly change my life for the worse.

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I was raped twice and denied that for 20 years!!!! Never called it that. I have experienced an attempted rape and I have been abused by men. I always denied this, hiding this deep but it still came out.....and I can only tell that it hurts like ####. I am so mad sometimes at myself that I have denied this for so long. The pain I needed to experience than is here now and I can only say that if I had realized what they had done, or admitted it I would have done a lot of things different....I just know that. I just wasted 20 years of my life. I wish it was different, I wish I didn't feel it this way...but I do.

Charly

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Yea I think I would have changed a lot.  Actually that book is what helped me define my experiences years later.

If I had called it rape and gone public, (there were rape crisis lines in my town in 1981) then I might have been able to develop a greater sense of entitlement as a person to have wants and that I had the right to say no.  If I had heard that no one has the right to touch me unless I want them to and that I had the right to not want to be touched it would have made a huge difference.

My thinking about it was so far the other direction that this really caused a lot of problems later. I ran away from the conflict of wanting to say no and not feeling like I could by not having any physical relationships for the last 12+ years.  A lot of wasted time…

Hugs, Kala

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IT definitly changed alot, at first i said i was just pushed to the ground and violated. ANd even that attack was bad enough, and mum and dad, and my T took it seriously.

But once i came out and said it was rape, it went to a whole new level in a way. I think its because its the ultimate, there isn't any "well atleast 'that' didn't happen".  BUT that doesn't mean that people who are just violated or attacked etc shouldn't hurt as bad as people who are raped. We all deal with stuff differently and its all relative.

I hope this helps, and please if anyone disagrees let me know.

Take care all

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Thank you for your replies - I really just wanted to know if this was an issue that needs addressing.  Kala - you summed up what I felt - that I wasted so much time in which I could have been protecting myself and concentrating on getting better.  Also what you said about knowing that no one has the right to touch you if you don't want them to.  I do think that being able to name your expereince - what ever it is - is really important.  Charly you said it to - wasted 20 yeras of your life because you couldn't name what had happened to you.  I Think young ppl need to be taught about this so that ppl can name their expereinces properly and so ppl around them can support them.  It just goes to show that not recogniseing can go so deep by what you said jaandoe.  I think as well that I let it fester in me choirgirl and really did not help me at all.  Thanks again for all your replies I do think that maybe this is an issues that needs to be looked at. - STeph

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TR***

 

 In my case it was during my teen years till I was over 17 and there was no violence so I was so majorly Brain-washed that  it was only when he threatened my life that made me tell - I was like so stupid...saying "I had an incestuous relationship with my dad "(it was over more than 4 years time period)....no one knew that I really was not understanding or registering the idea of this "relationship" like they did....I had been convinced by him that since he never"forced" or "made" me do any of it that I had made choices that it took me so many years to realize that he had really given me No choice...he knew I might be able to be under his control-he did not realize my fear of being abandoned by him again (he abondoned me and my mother and my brother when I was 4 and after that my mother got married to an alcoholic controlling wife hitter who SA my little brother -she did leave him and he then he died - a couple of yars later dad showed up wanting to see us 7 1/2 years since he had any contact) That was what was making me do everything I could to keep him in my life - to the best of my ability (because at one point he told me he wasn't sure if I would be "too old" for him to do it when he was considering his approaching me - bleck....I was"too old" under normal circumstances.....but was not because of "fear"......) Anyway it took me 5 years -after it was over- to Really really realize it was not a "relationship" and so far I have not come as far in my recovery because I never went thru with therapy because I do not trust my RL support system(ie my hubby) to help me if things get rough for me in painful parts of my counseling (this weekend I was honest with him about this ).....I never blocked or "forgot" the abuse so recovering memories is not something I need(unless I was abused before he left and I don't know it-something I never really thought about till I joined Pandy's )....Anyhow for my own good "they" should have helped me to really realize  if they could...(he always told me they would mess up my head and make me see "our realtionship" as wrong and that the reaction of the "do good church types" is really what makes people get tramatized  so "they" would have had to break that idiotic gem into pieces before I would begin to have a clue on connecting it all mentally).....

 Anyhow....yes....more help...sooner.....Therapy before I was 4 kids 3 serious relationships(on second (final!)marriage),plenty of self-help and numerous "errors in judgement" 20 years out from the "end of the abuse"...... Am not currently in T but should be and Pandy's ya'll gonna be part of my support system when I do because I have been sitting here for 3 years...with only 1 attempt at therapy during that time peried and 2 very short p/t jobs....uhg....those are my choices get a job(what hubby "needs" me to do) - get therapy(what I "should" do) or sit here and wish that everyone would just "leave me alone" (what I hav been up to)....good topic....ty

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((((Deb))) I Wasn't abused as a child but I sure know about getting my head messed up.  I think it is the way these abusers work - manipulation and control.  I certainly didn't see a lot of what was going on until I was a few years down the line.  I am sorry that you don't feel your hubby will support you through therapy - mine doesn't like me going either.  Also I think there is this idea that sexual abuse or rape is not real if there is no physical violence which is a load of crap.  Rape or SA IS violence - you don't need anything else to make it real - but that is the way ppl see it.  Thank god for the internet that's what I say! - Steph

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I have a problem with calling it rape because 'rape' implies a violation of your right to have control of your body and I don't feel like I have that right, and I don't think anyone else really thinks I have that right either, because I'm not attractive so I should just be grateful for any attention I get. Funny, I never really thought about it in such explicit terms before, but that's how I feel.

Also (and this contradicts what I just wrote, I think) the other reason for not wanting to call it rape is not wanting to acknowledge that anyone could dislike you so much that they'd want to treat you like that.

Rachel.

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Not being able to label it rape, kept me in that relationship for another 8 months. I just couldn't come to grips with the fact that he could do that to me. And I also thought that if I labeled it rape, I would be admitting to failure and weakness.

After a year, I can say it. At times it is unbelievably easy to say: "I was raped." Almost as if it's just the words that hold the power. But being able to say that has not made it any easier to deal with it. It's so odd, the first time I said that out loud, I felt empowered. But,now I just feel trapped all over again.

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for me, i'm coming at this from the other side: i called it rape almost immediately, before my brain even had time to process it. i over rode all my mental objections: it was just something that happened, i wasn't careful enough, i should have known better, i'm smarted than that, why didn't i leave, how do i always get myself into situations like this.....

by labelling it rape right away [which it WAS, i <i>know</i> that, i just still don't <i>believe</i> that]] i think i hurt myself more, somehow. i don't think i can explain it, but i feel more damaged by calling it rape than by calling it "something stupid i did"...

i guess, deep down, i really don't think it was rape. i put myself in that situation, it was my doing, so what right do i have to call it rape?

does this make any bit of sense to anyone?????

~aimee

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Well, I been wanting to respond to this thread but haven't had a chance and haven't really found the words. This has hit VERY close to home.

Trigger warning for real words and slight potty mouth.

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When I was attacked in college, I tried to reach out for support. I got nothing but secondary woundings from being called a liar to just being told it was no big deal. I wasn't raped after all, it was just an attempted rape - no big deal. Forget about the fact that he not only tried to rape me vaginally but tried to force me to perform oral sex. I called it a "bad experience" and that was that. It took me 14 years to call it attempted rape!

If I had called it attempted rape, I may have gotten the help I needed THEN and would not be dealing with it all now.

I also didn't acknowledge my relationship with my ex 10 years ago as abusive. Well, that isn't completely true. I knew he was verbally abusive. THat's why I left him. What I didn't see and didn't know was that he was sexually abusive as well and he raped me. I am still having trouble with this. I don't know what I would have done differently had I labelled it then. ####, I am still having trouble calling it what it was now.

The bottome line is my experiences got their labels when I was ready for them to if that makes sense. Looking back at college, I can't really say for sure that the attempted rape label would have made a difference. I had no support. Bottom line. There was no penetration so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit. I knew him so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit again. I had no visible bruises so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit once more.

Yeah, here I am at Pandys after 15 years. No trauma huh?

End of my ramble.

Love,

Shell

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good topic...

it took me exactly one year after i was raped to realize that what happened was not my choice. it was months after this realization that i was able to say the word "rape" in reference to myself. like some of you have said - i KNOW it was rape, i KNOW i didn't want it and they did it anyway, i KNOW in my head that i was violated and manipulated. but i still don't believe it. i still feel that i could have left, i could have chosen a different path than the one i took. it's still so difficult for me to believe that i did not have control over the situation at all. i haven't started real therapy yet either so maybe that will come with more self-work.

but to answer the question, i think if i had called it rape from the beginning, first of all, i would have a court case. if i had recognized it for what it was, i would have gone straight to the hospital, where they would've found GHB in my system. instead of telling my friend who picked me up that i had just had a crazy night of wild sex (which is what i believed for a year) maybe i would've told him to take me to the doctor. and i would've gotten help and support. (i think. i'm still not even sure if people would have believed me. i don't think my friend would have. sidenote: we're not friends anymore, over something unrelated.)

i agree that young people should be taught about rape and what it is, because there are so many misconceptions about that guys often think what they're doing is ok, and girls don't think they have much of a say about it. it's scary.

i'm just glad it only took one year instead of a lifetime to realize what happened, at least a little bit. still have a longgg way to go.

love,

Amy

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I would really like to move this to 'wonderful threads' if that would be ok with everyone. If you would like your post deleted from this, because it's going into a public forum, then please PM me and let me know.

Hugs

Emma

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(((love to ALL)))~

this is definately a thinker... good question Stefka!

i've had a couple different experiences with this so its hard to get my thoughts straight.

at 16, after being raped and sodomized, i escaped to the main high way and a 7-11. i used the pay phone to call my best friend. i can still hear my voice to her on the phone "he raped me". it sounded so harsh and brutal to my own ears that i wasn't able to say it again for weeks. i was taken to the hospitol and treated for cuts,abrasions, bruising and swelling but i couldn't call it rape. the paperwork says 'patient states "attacked"'. the adrenaline of my immediate escape had given voice to my truth, then it was frozen in the deeper workings of escape, the blocking of reality. now ,after years of doubt, there isn't another word i can think of to describe what transpired between us.

almost three years later i passed out at a new year's eve party and woke up with a man inside of me. for the extent of the time that i was awake, i moved myself into a position which recreated my first rape and passed out again. there is NO WAY i gave consent to this man. some part of my subconscious recognized it as rape and wouldn't allow me to feel the pain. i went on a very strange search for the truth that was ultimately EXTREMELY damaging just to find out what i had already locked away inside my brain. five years later, i know it was rape.

in present times, my therapist calls what my bf has done to me "rape". she argues that eventually i will be able to see it for what it is. this is a strange concept to me now, that she should think this, cuz i KNOW it is wrong what he has done... but he had my consent when he started. i prefer to think of it as abuse of power. when i told her this, her next question was, "isn't that what rape is?". left me feeling kinda floored.

i guess what i am trying to say is that i think SOME doubt is almost INEVITABLE... even under the most obvious of circumstances. i think that external danger causes us to recognize the truth and once we are in a safe place again, we try our best to protect ourselves from the reality of the experience. basically, and Bailey asked this, i understand that even when we KNOW it is rape... sometimes it just hurts TOO BAD to let it in. healing is required before the wound can be explored and named for what it is. Bailey, in answer to your question, i think it is possible that you feel wounded by your early recognition because it is at odds with this very basic and overiding survival mechanism we call denial. that it just a thought but i hope that it helps some. i look forward to reading more perspectives on this subject. Stefka, thankyou once again for opening the discussion~

all love,

sparrow

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Thank you everyone for your resposnses.  I guess that it is different for everyone and I can u nderstand the need for people to be in a safe place before the call it rape.  Obviously the attitude of society as a whole also adds to the problem  I can only speak from my own experience when I say that I wish that I had had the knowledge to know that it was rape when it happened so I could have protected myself and got some help sooner.  I didn't really start to get better until I could begin to name it properly for what it was - other wise why get help? Help for what exactly?  And knowing that I was reacting normally to what happened to me was such an immense relief.  I never had any education on the subject at all - I didn't have the language to call it what it was and having that language was really important to my recovery.

STeph x

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Interesting thread...

If I had called the abuse abuse...  If I had looked at it as what it was instead of trying to pretend there was nothing wrong with what they did...  I think that a lot of things would be different.  I might have seen myself as worth helping, instead of as someone who was overly sensitive or just plain batty.  I might have thought enough of myself to seek assistance immediately, instead of waiting almost sixteen years.  I might have gotten help for my fears and might have had a LIFE instead of hiding in my house for so long, afraid to go anywhere or be around anyone.  Afraid that men might want to touch me that way again, afraid that they'd hurt me that way again.  Because I didn't call it assault or abuse, I didn't fully understand that it was a crime and that I had recourse.

If I had called the assault rape or attempted rape (still can't remember how it turned out), I would have understood why I felt the way I felt, and I might have been more gentle and understanding with myself.  Others in my life might have offered support -- my sister certainly would have, and my father.

Not knowing what to call it, trying to deal with the sexual abuse and assault as just "things that happened, no big deal" or even as flattery, as my teacher at the time suggested they were meant to be, really screwed me up.  It's left me with over a decade of lost years on my hands, unresolved issues swimming round my head, and a nearly broken marriage.

If I'd known then what I know now...where was that type of education when I was growing up?  Why didn't anyone ever try to teach me, or any of my peers, what to do if we were assaulted and how to recognize inappropriate behavior?

I just don't get it.

Love to you,

Amy

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(((Amy)))) Some ppl shouldn't be allowed to teach!!! I can't believe your teacher came out with that crap!  I think you make an excellent point when you say that you would have seen yourself as worth helping - I think that is also what prevented me from getting help.  Also understanding the way you felt - I can remember how crazy I thought I must be to be reacting in the way I was to something that was nothing.  And you raise the question that I am wondering about - where was/is the education?

Stefka

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#Moderation Mode

This thread is wonderful, and has therefore been moved to 'wonderful threads'. If you would like your post removed because it's now in a public forum, please let me know.

Thanks

Emma x

Moved here

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I'm secretly a bit proud lol

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As well you should be - it's a great thread.

:)

Emma

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Yeah, this is a good one.

For me, I started with "what the #### was that?" and quickly moved on to self-blame, with no thought whatsoever that 'what happened' might have been a crime.

Then, I realized that 'it' was a sexual assault...  I added the "...but it wasn't rape" postscript every time.  

Now, my brain at least knows that it WAS rape.  I'm still working on actually believing it, feeling it.

Everything--every last detail--would have been different if I had been able to call it rape from the beginning.  I always thought that rape had to happen in a dark alley, by a scary stranger with a knife.  (I intend no offense to those of you who endured such a terrifying reality!)  I simply had no idea that a FRIEND could be the perpetrator.

*trigger warning for words*

Likewise, I had no idea that the weapon of rape didn't necessarily have to be a penis.  If I'd known that "simply" his hands could have done the same damage, gosh... that would have changed everything.

Had I known that that dreaded word applied to me, I think...I hope...that it would've given me more impetus to seek help.  And, to release myself from blame.

The ghastly word 'rape' is still my break-point; my brain knows that it is the truth of my experience, and yet my heart simply will not quite believe it.

Trish

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(((Trish))))

You really have hit the nail on the head with your post there.  In fact I Was wondering if I could quote you as part of my research - I am doing a theatre peice on rape and we are devising it - I Really want to get this point across - how important it is for ppl to be able to name their experiences - the paragraph starting 'Everything - every last detail' and then the little one about 'Had I known'would be all I would use and it would be anonomous of course.  I don't mind if you don't want me to do that tho.

I was similar to you in that I had no clue that a friend could be a perp of rape - it just wasn't a concept I had.

IT is still my break point too.

Steph x

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