Guest choirgirl

for those who didn't call it rape

93 posts in this topic

Wow, Stefka--absolutely!  Use whatever you want from that post (or any other, for that matter!) for your research!  Absolutely!

And let's hope it helps someone out there...

Hugs,

:) Trish

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thank you hon - that is really helpful  - STeph xx

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I have been mulling over this post since it was started.  I haven't re-read the responses, because for some reason I have a hard time keeping my thoughts straight.

I dated Eric for 5 years, a period of time marked by abuse and what I now can say was rape.  I didn't really call it 'rape' until 2 years ago, 9 years after the first time he raped me.  Maybe if I'd called it rape when it first happened, I'd have left him.  The rapes that have happened since I was an adult have been immediately validated, and have also been followed by a quicker 'healing.'  But who knows if this is because of validation or the fact that I'm not 13.

I also wonder if my not labeling it was because of my CSA and that it went unacknowledged.

To muddy the water even more in my head, I have this assault from last month.  I won't, I seemingly <i>can't</i> call it rape.  I am not sure how it will affect my healing long term.  I know I don't call it rape, because I can't compare it to what Eric did.  It doesn't <i>feel</i> the same inside all the time.  I don't have the fear of it happening again.  I do have the same vulnerability, and I feel raw and exposed.  But maybe that is caused by trauma of any assault, I don't think it is unique to rape.

I'm talking in circles!!

Thanks Steph for the thought provoking thread.

Laney xxoo

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((((Laney))))

I think the thing I have seen with this thread is that it all means different things to different ppl at different times.  You have to do certain things to protect your brain or something.

IT is interesting the connection between validation and healing - does healing depend on who is around you at the time? Who knows.  

I don't know the answers really - just that I am always amazed at how powerful one little word can be.

Steph

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(((((((Steph))))))))

Thank you for this post.  This is something that I've been struggling with for a very long time.  I haven't been able to call my experience anything other than "that incident in college".  For some reason finding a name for it is important to me, though I'm not really sure how to go about it because of the confusing circumstances.  I just ordered that book, maybe it will shed some light.        

(((((thanks & hugs))))))

~smile

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(((((smile))))))

You are describing exactly the proces that I went through - and am still going through - over what happened to me at college.  Finding a name was and is important to me too -  very.  I think because how can I get help if it wasn't rape - why do I feel this way if it was my fault?? If you want to talk to me about this pm me or anything - I hope also the book helps - (which one was it?).  Take care - Steph x

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(((Steph))) I was not r*ped.  I got away.  Does that mean I don't belong here?  You made a comment to Laney ...

<i>IT is interesting the connection between validation and healing - does healing depend on who is around you at the time? Who knows.</i>

It <b>does</b> depend on who is around you.  My gf and several people here have helped me heal from things that have tormented me since I was a child.  A part of me was not in very good shape.

I'd never told anyone about my assault before.  I didn't want to call it ANYTHING.  I didn't want to acknowledge that it happened.  I didn't tell anyone about any of the things that happened in the year following.  Nobody ever heard about it.  I didn't tell anyone about my own fears that I didn't even know my own sexuality.

I fall between two worlds, one where being masculine means only being <b>Masculine</b>.  Do you think I could call this anything at all in that world?  That would mean acknowledging that a man was attracted to me.  Then I'd have to explain <i>why</i> a man would be attracted to me.  They would not have understood.  Now I could care less.

If I had called it sexual assault privately to a counsellor, I think it would have saved me years of useless worry, self-doubt, recrimination, risk taking ...  I would have had so much less to prove to myself.  There is one good thing, though.  It's allowed me to have the friendship of many gay men and women, to understand that gender or preference isn't what determines whether a person is a predator.

I had predatory people, men <i>and</i> women, hitting on me from a pretty young age.  What was with me?  Maybe I had a vulnerable quality.  Maybe I still do, because it still happens, but in different ways.  Maybe if I had been able to talk to a counsellor I could have understood better and saved a lot of grief.

Kevin

(Edited by dream of water at 3:09 pm on May 20, 2003)

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(((kevin)))

fisrly you definitly belong here! Getting away doesn't change the fact that someone assaulted you - I don't think personally there is a difference between rape, attmpted rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse.  They all do damage, they all hurt. The resposnes to them are the same.  

The taboo that ppl face is hard enough  - it must be twice as hard as a man in a man's word so to speak to try and find your voice and make sense of your expierience.  I think it is brilliant that you have found your way here and that you managed to tell a counselor too.    Also you have managed to pull something good out of it in the friendshiips you have developed which is brilliant.  For me it is really imporant to try and find good things that came out of it - no -  good things that I made out of the situation.

I had no support at the time - not for about 2 years infact - I think it would have made a big difference to my expierence for sure.

Steph

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I called it rape as it was happening... but afterwards I pretended nothing happened. I pretended I actually liked my rapist, or that we just fooled around. It crossed my mind to go to the police, but I pretended instead. I felt so guilty for that; I felt that doing that would not allow me to go to the police. For years I battled with calling it rape after that- even though initially I thought it was. I would often think that even though I hadn't enjoyed it, I thought people would view things differently anyways.

Then I would watch a movie, or a TV show with the topic being rape- and i would remember it as being abusive.

I often felt judged for everything that happened- if I flirted, or said anything to encourage it, or if I was virgin or not always seemed to be weighed more heavily into it.

I can remember being told "it's your body" like I should've had more control over the situation- when in reality my abuser was physically aggressive with me, and I had little control.

L

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I think what you describe is pretty common. Often survivors will try to find ways to normalise what happened - I suppose because it feels easier than actually dealing with the fact that you have been raped. I am sorry that you have felt so judged by others - remember that those people were not the one who was hurt . You were there and they were not and they have no right to tell you what did or did not happen - only you can do that.

Take care

Steph

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First time I saw this, wow, good question. If I would have known what happened to me was rape, I wouldn't have blamed and hated myself for so long. I wouldn't have wasted so many years before I started the healing process. It makes me sad how different just my life would be if I realized what happened was rape.

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It wasn't till I was raped when I was 21 that I was able to admit that the rapes that happened with my abusive ex were rape. Before I'd always just pretended that it was OK. That he was just rough with me. That he was sleepy that one time and didn't notice I was crying. I just didn't want to have to say that I'd been raped, I didn't want to be a rape victim. Unfortunately I was and I felt like one whether I called myself one or not.

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Trigger

I guess I am here because I am at a stage where I am re-validating everything. I call it rape, then I stop and question it. He pushed me towards the room, he was aggressive with me before getting me to the room. He would grab my breasts, and held onto me so tightly I could not move. I said stop it, no, as he pushed me towards the bedroom.

Maybe I meant it playfully? I am confused between force and playfulness. Though I think with him being so much bigger, and stronger than me, when he pushed me, I just instinctually did not fight. He grabbed me so hard in the beginning, and he would not stop.

He pushed me into the room. when he got me in he just stared at me, but I did not say, "hey buddy look... I'm not interested." I just looked for a moment. Maybe I was flirtatious, or expressed interest. I said nothing though. I really did just nothing. All these things run through my head, why didn't you run, why didn't you yell. I felt transfixed to the spot.

He jumped on me. He pushed me down aggressively. He pushed his lips aggressively against mine. I responded to him. I kissed back I think because I felt forced- I just responded back- out of confusion? I touched the front of his jeans. This is expressing consent. I quickly changed my mind though I remember pulling away as he shoved his fingers into me, and immediately started trying for penetration. But just changing my mind is what I know, not what the rest of the world would perceive. This makes it hard to call it rape.

Then again I doubt I was changing my mind... I was instinctually on survival mode already. If it meant acquiescing slightly, or going quiet or still- this meant I would be hurt less. I froze. I did not want it. I did not want it before we got there- this should've counted too. I still said no.

He gave me little choice on what I wanted to do. And that is the bottom line. This is why this should be called rape.

He bit my lips as I stopped kissing him. He laughed at the look on my face. I felt practically raped as he ran to get his friends. He tried to force me to have oral sex with him, in front of his friends. He hit me when I said no.

I call it sexual assault because rape suggests intercourse when it never happened. Though this was a very traumatic sexual experience for me- my family's response afterwards was horribly abusive. I was beaten in the worst manor. Too triggery to talk about. I am trying so hard to manage anxiety these days- a constant battle for me. Their response was like rape again.

This incident coupled with my family assaulting me, has made it the hardest period of my life to recover from.

i never called it rape because of the idea that full penetration is required, even though penetration with a finger, or oral R*pe can be just as bad.

I am still confused, and especially hurt by responses to me afterwards. I hate myself for responding to him. it's a part of me I am not sure I have fully forgiven yet. Though his aggressiveness makes me believe it was rape, despite what anyone else wants to think.

L

Edited by Lyla

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This is a good question that I have never thought about. I was so young (6-7) that putting a name to it wouldn't have mattered. I didn't know anything about sex so the word "rape" would have had no negative or positive conotation to me. At the time, I was doing what I was told to do by my uncle so I would have attention and love.

As I have started to deal with the resultant damage as an adult, I have struggled to call it rape for some reason. I am not sure why.

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When I called my bff, the horrible night this past fall I asked her if it was r*** if it's done from behind ,

:unsure:she told me it was if I said NO! :angry:

Edited by blondie2002

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i maybe didn't know "rape" but i knew what had happened to me was completely wrong. no one should do that to someone ever, i just didn't believe it or acknowledge it for so long. the rape two years ago was alot more "obvious" in society's eyes as i was unconscious due to drink spiking. everyone was telling me that was rape, the police, the counsellors, hospital, everyone, so, i dunno... i always have it in the back of my head because i can't remember maybe i did consent... i dunno. i wish i'd been awake sometimes, even though 99 percent of the other times i am glad i wasn't

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In January I read a research article for one of my Sociology classes about some men who had been convicted of rape, and despite being Found Guilty they didn't seem to understand why they were in prison. They had lots of excuses--the girl dressed a certain way/looked at him a certain way/women always say no for their reputation/she had an orgasm, etc. These were men who had all been rather violent, too. I was absolutely horrified after reading this, because I had thought that, when a person says they've never raped someone when they really have, they may just be lying to avoid prison. I never thought that they may actually really Believe that they didn't do anything wrong. I started thinking, how many people do I see around campus or elsewhere who have hurt someone terribly but absolutely don't think that they have, because of some weird sense of entitlement, or "that's how it is with sex"??

It also freaked me out because I thought, if sexual assault perps don't think they are doing anything wrong, do survivors think that nothing wrong has happened as well? So I went online and found lots of sites saying that perps and survivors will answer "yes" to specific questions of "did you/did someone...without saying yes?" but at the Same Time answer "no" to whether they had been assaulted/assaulted someone.

So that was how I found out that I had been assaulted by someone. He hadn't acted like he had done anything wrong at all, and so I had decided that he hadn't--I'd thought that someone who was assaulting you would, you know, openly say that they didn't care about what you wanted or something, and get by on thinking that you wouldn't be able to prove it to anyone--not that they weren't doing anything wrong at all. I thought I was feeling bad for some stupid neurotic reason, that I'd gone too far and was regretting it. I did this reading about 7 months after the first time and 4 months after the second time.

I'm still in denial about it a lot though--I mean, I know cognitively that what happened was assault, but I don't feel it very strongly. I think to myself that I have been, I say it on here, but I always feel some doubt. I feel that I must not have really made clear that I didn't want to, or that he thought it was okay because I was still there with him when he had made it clear that he had wanted to--but, he had always said he wanted to, but then didn't actually, at least for a while...

But it's very hard to label something as assault, there have been lots of times I wish that I hadn't found out about all this. Even after reading the basic clear-cut "if this happens, it is assault" for a while I was still like, "Yeah, but what happened with me is different. I feel more unsafe now knowing there are people out there who just don't know the definitions, although at the same time it is of course good to know, since not knowing about something doesn't make it go away. I think it's so hard because everyone knows that "assaut" and "rape" and other terms like that are very serious crimes, very taboo, so people, both perps and survivors, get very defensive and try to distance themselves from those labels as much as possible, even as they experience the actual events.

It's horrible that these are so "taboo" that people can't even get the right education about it so that they realize when it's happening!

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Thank you for that post, Lissa.

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Lissa, I was talking about this very issue to my internet friend just yesterday. I was asking him about all the boys/men who do not seem to realize they are doing anything wrong and how can we even begin to start educating them that they are not entitled to anything? This just confirmed my impression of how men think in our society today. It scares me.

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Hi Kwanfan, yeah, it freaked me out so much. But luckily it is not everybody, one of my guy friends is extremely careful about not going too far. I told him about these articles and he was like, Well, they're surveying prisoners, they don't represent all of society. Which is true enough. But he hadn't read the article himself so didn't see what it said about how they believed that what they'd found from interviewing the prisoners could extend to larger society. It argued that given the assault stats in the country, the problem just can't be pinned on a couple of "psychopaths" like lots of people try to do, since most rapists do not have a psychological disorder. They are socialized to have certain ideas about women. They didn't all have the same reason for thinking what they were doing was allowed, but that sort of makes it scarier, how many so-called "justifications" a person may have to choose from. Also kind of sad that, even when you've got people who behave completely appropriately, they won't necessarily buy that many other people do not, so the issue continues to go undiscussed/addressed.

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Lissa You could say to him that in response to "they were interviewing prisoners" that these were the guys whose victims reported it and were caught. There are plenty of men on the street today who have done exactly the same things and are not in prison and who think the same way. I am sure of it.

As for the original question of the thread, WOW.

I think of what I would have changed and I am not real sure. I did not call my incidents rape either. I still today after 15 years away from my ex have a hard time believing that it was rape. As one post said, if I admit it was rape, then it makes me more damaged. I am freaking out quite a bit since I have begun to admit the real truth. It is like admitting I was so screwed up instead of thinking I was able to keep it all together for all those wasted years with him. If I had labeled these incidents as rape from the beginning, perhaps I would not have stayed around as long while the incidents continued to become more humiliating and degrading and more forceful leading up to the night when I was forced to beg my ex to hurt me which he did. By choosing to stay with him all those years, I could not admit rape and he was controlling me in every aspect of my life including in bed, because if I admitted it, then I was everything he called me and deserved everything he did to me because I did not leave. Even today, I say to myself "It was not that bad, really." Because it is hard to face the fact that it was bad and I did stay for so long. If I had admitted it as rape, perhaps I would not have suffered such a bad period of depression after I finally got rid of him as if I were grieving for the lost relationship or the loss of my love for him which he killed. You would think I would have been relieved yet I felt such a sense of loss in my life. A big hole and a lot of years spent all for nothing.

Also, if I had admitted it back then and got away from him because of it, then perhaps I would not have been such a doormat when another guy came along who raped me and tried to manipulate me. I would have recognized the signs of a controlling man and gotten away. Instead this man ended up leaving me. So I could not even admit that he raped me either because I was unsure how to leave him, too. To my credit, I did know early on that somehow I needed to leave and it did not take me 7 years to realize it with another 3 years trying to get away for good. This relationship was only a few short months. But how long would it have been if he had not left and gone to Miami? How long would I have stayed and how many more times would he have raped me?

As one poster said, admitting to rape is like admitting I am a failure. So now all these years later I am dealing with the fact that I failed. Failed at the relationship-not necessarily my fault, but failing at protecting myself and getting out-yes my fault.

So my question is this: is it easier to say it was rape if it was some stranger attacking you versus someone you knew and possibly loved? I wonder about this. What would I say if it had been a stranger instead of a man who asked me to marry him or the other boyfriend?

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So my question is this: is it easier to say it was rape if it was some stranger attacking you versus someone you knew and possibly loved? I wonder about this. What would I say if it had been a stranger instead of a man who asked me to marry him or the other boyfriend?

Personally yes I think it is easier. Stranger rape tends to fit better into the media's representation of what rape is. Despite the fact that most women are raped by someone they know society still does not acknowledge this.

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What might have changed for me had i called any of the incidents rape at the time is i may not have been silent for so many years about it.

Stranger rape tends to fit better into the media's representation of what rape is. Despite the fact that most women are raped by someone they know society still does not acknowledge this.

Steph, i back this up 100%, i totally agree, it even shows in sentencing, the stranger rape sentences are tending to be much longer than the rapes by known persons.

one wonders how long it will take the rest of society to wake up. :angry:

Tania

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Probably nothing to answer the original question. I would still have been hurt, depressed, forgiving, lenient. I would still have attempted to talk to him about those incidents, been patient, persevering, loyal in not telling (wish I had told my then-best friend, who's male btw). He would still have tried to justify himself and not given me a true apology. He would still have been seen as the nice guy. I would still have lost conception of physical boundaries afterward, leading to bad situations. I'd still have tried to break up with him, and exhausted by his clinginess, would have finally cheated on him.

Oh well. :)

Camellia

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one wonders how long it will take the rest of society to wake up. :angry:

Tania

Society will only wake up a hundred years after women finally get to run everything: when women make up the majority of world leaders, politicians, and CEO's intstead of just a small percentage. Men and their inferior superiority complex :P just cannot allow women to actually run everything and dictate laws and attitudes. I firmly believe that man as a gender has a deep-seated feeling of inferiority which causes man as a gender to want to dominate all around them including other genders, races, countries, religions. The world would be a much more peaceful place if women were in charge.

Edited by Kwanfan

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