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You didn't report it...

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Hey Everyone:

First, some background info. Four years ago I was raped by the cousin of a good friend.  It happened @ a wedding out of state & he was a cop.  W/in two hours of being raped, I was on a plane home.  I didn't report it.  I told no one for weeks.  I know part of the reason was b/c I was obviously traumatized.  Another part was that he was related to my friend & we were both from diff states in a third state together.  I'd been drinking, not to mention he WAS the law.

For a long time I struggled w/the guilt of thinking he'd hurt someone else.  I think I have finally found some peace .  I know that I am not responsible for his choices.  I know I did what was right for me @ that time.  I don't know if I'd make that same choice now, but it was my right.  Ironically, it appears that my rapist raped someone two years before he raped me.  I harbor no blame towards that woman he hurt.

Lately, I hear from so many women that they are consumed by guilt for not reporting it or for dropping the charges b/c they don't want to go through the #### of a trial. If it even got that far.  Rather than focusing on themselves & their healing, they are filled w/the fear that they will be responsible for someone elses choice.

I have the utmost respect & admiration for those of you who spoke up & did prosecute.  I "wish" things had been diff for me & for many of us.  But they weren't.  

I hear all the time that it's our responsiblity to stop them from raping again.  That goes against therapy #101.  We are only responsible for our own choices.  How then can it be that if he hurts someone again, it's our fault?

Jackie
Thanks for listening to my rant!

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People can be really clueless.

How dare they have the gall to blame the victim for something they had no control over.

(Edited by Dart at 7:31 pm on Nov. 6, 2002)

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it's not our responsiblity from stopping them from r*ping again. we are not responsible for their actions.

however, i wouldnt have been able to live with the guilt if i found out they'd hurt someone else.

i later found out that one of the men who r*ped me that night, was wanted for r*ping a child.  that is something i would not be able to live with, if i knew he did it again.

however, i do know it's a personal choice, and i dont judge anyone for not doing the same as me.  i also dont blame anyone they r*ped before me.  any blame i take and put on someone else, takes the blame off 'them', and they are the ones at fault.

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Nope, I didn't report him or prosecute or take any legal measures to prevent him from doing this to any other child or anyone else at all.  I didn't, and yes I have felt my share of guilt, for surely the monster didn't stop.  I remember wishing at the time that I could do something to be sure he never hurt anyone else...but I didn't.  I ran....the first chance I had, I up and ran as far away as I could, I got the #### away.

HE is responsible for what he does though, and anyone who wants to judge my choices can go right ahead.  No one has walked in my shoes.  I did the best I could.  That's how I feel about it.

((((hugs))))
Tasha

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I really respect anyone who goes through the legal process of reporting a rape, and I think that wanting to help stop your attacker can be a powerful motivating factor for putting yourself through that.

But is it your fault if your attacker hurts someone else? Not at all. Because even if you do report it, he/she might have already hurt someone else, or he/she may have hurt someone before, etc etc etc. We are not responsible for someone else's actions. Your attacker was the one who made the decision to rape. Not you. You can't take on that blame.

I made the decision to report partially in the hope that maybe they'd catch him, maybe he wouldn't do it again. And the fact they never found him haunts me (especially considering I did a little research after my laughable reporting experience, and *I* found the guy, and I know he lives in a province where the legal drinking age is just 18. He got me weeks after I turned 19. He goes for barely legal, inexperienced, naive girls. I know he raped again. That kills me inside. Could I have stopped him though? Am I responsible? No. He's responsible.)

Anyhow... The way I finally stopped feeling guilty, was when I turned the table. I thought - what about any of the survivors he raped before me? Did they owe it to me to "stop" him before he got to me?

No.

I don't want them feeling bad. I just hope they're okay. That they've managed to pick up their lives, and heal, like I'm learning to do. If I ever met one, I'd hug her, I'd cry with her - I'd never, ever, ever be angry with her or blame her or even think to ask if she ever tried to report it. That wasn't her job - her job was to take care of herself.

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Anna,

That was a beautiful response.

Hugs,

Jes

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It sure was, Anna.  Thank you for that.

(((((Anna)))))

Love,
Tasha

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in case anyone was disagreeing w/ my response: ( or maybe i just take things too personal)

i never said i blamed myself, i said i'd feel guilty; which is what this post began as.

and when i was referring to 'them', as in any blame i put elsewhere takes the blame from 'them', i meant my r*pists, not the previous victims.  

i agree it's the r*pists fault for r*ping, not the other females who let them go.

i also made it clear, that i wasn't judging anyone decisions, incase that was mislead.

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((((Lucia))))

I didn't misunderstand you at all sweetie, although I can see why the tone of my post may have made you think so.  (Um....I have a tendency to take things personally/be sensitive too...lol)  Just for the record...I understand what you were saying and I'm in agreeance with the way you feel.  My post was kind of harshly worded I'm afraid, but I didn't intend it to be that way.

The one person I battle with the most regarding guilt and judging what I did/didn't do.....is me.  I face her every day in the mirror, and we battle.  You know?  And as far as "them", I was speaking of a hypothetical "them"...those who are not rape/sexual abuse survivors, who seem to be the ones I've heard saying things such as "You have to report; you have to keep this from happening to someone else" etc etc.  I feel great anger inside of me, I suppose, when I hear these things from people who just don't know.  They didn't walk my path, or your path, they weren't there....so yeah, that kind of judgment provokes anger within me.  That came out in my earlier post I think, but I didn't mean it directed towards YOU or in regards to anything you wrote at all.  

I am glad that I don't have to know whether or not he actually hurt anyone after me....I don't really know what he's been up to these past years.  I can see what you mean; it would be hard to live with that knowledge if I found out he had done this to someone else.  That would be a whole new and crushing dynamic to deal with.  I'm so thankful I don't have to.

Take care.  ((((safe gentle hugs))))

Love,
Tasha

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I agree with what everyone else has been saying.  We're never guilty for another person's actions.

For me, the decision to report was a given, due to the circumstances (stranger rape, won't get into details here).  There was never a question of not reporting, so it's obviously a different situation than a lot of other peoples.  But since that was the case, I think I feel a lot of peace knowing that I've done everything I can to prevent him from hurting anyone else.  But it was very black & white in my case, and I realize that a lot of people are not in that scenario.  And the most important is that you make the decision FOR YOURSELF.  Just after having someone take your ability to make decisions about your own life from you, in such an intrusive, violating way, it's even more important to be the one to control your recovery & healing process.  You have to decide what you want & need to do.  

What the abuser does is on his (her) own head.

raqueli

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Lucia,

Of course that wasn't directed towards you!

I just felt that Anna eloquently spoke, darlin'.

<i>any blame i take and put on someone else, takes the blame off 'them', and they are the ones at fault. </i>

And you spoke eloquently as well.

Hugs,

Jes

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When I tried to report they didn't listen.  And I know I don't have the courage to try again.  But I admire those that do go through with the legal process, and hope that someone is listening to their voices the way I wished they'd listen to mine.  

I did feel guilty for a while, thinking that I should have tried harder, and not given up under pressure.  But it would have been a crippling experience for me, it still is, in a way.  So I did what I had to, in order to keep myself safe.  And I know I'm not responsible for anything he chooses to do with his life.  It's his decision, his crime, and his blame.  

It's great if you can bring some a***ole to justice and prevent anyone else from getting hurt.  But you have to take care of yourself first.

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You most certainly are not responsible.

The legal system is nothing short of ####, justice is rarely served, rapists are given the weakest sentencing and they are renowned for re-offences. At best, you may be merely delaying future assualts.

I reported mine, they were found not guilty and while out on bail a couple attacked someone else.

Reporting rape may be a liberating and strong move on the part of the victim, but really doesn't have an effect on the community.

And it sure doesn't stop the scum.

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Just wondering if anyone saw the episode of "The Practice" on ABC this past week, that dealt with this issue (in typically sensationalized tv drama style).

Personally I'm grateful I didn't see it, but only heard about it later -

There were a couple of catches to the simple assumption of "Are you responsible for future victims if you didn't report", but the basic plot was that two friends were both assaulted by the same person (a priest), and the second to be assaulted sued the first. And won the case, to the surprise of everyone.

However, they then finished the show by the second to be assaulted being served with notice that he was being sued by the third victim - to show the chain that would be started.

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I think its both, you are and are not responsible.  Your not responsible for the actions of others, ie the rapist, you don’t control their behavior.

But on the other hand keeping silent stops any potential action to prevent further events.  Even if law and justice are ineffective, reporting releases you from the responsibility, you’ve done your part and the result is out of your hands.  So either way it goes if the step to report or tell is not taken there is no further result.

Anyway this is way I think about it intellectually as an adult.  Its a whole another thing as a victim and I totally was lost in the feelings of shame, needing to hide, to keep secrets, that is was my fault and I deserved it and it doesn’t matter what happened to me I didn’t have any strength or power.  This was true for both the date rapes, it never occurred to me to tell and for the gang rape when I was 15, that was a total secret.

My grownup self is ashamed I didn’t report, didn’t help prevent further rapes, my feeling self still tells me to shut up and don’t tell…

I don’t think any of us can win on this one, you're damned if you do and damned if you don’t.  Is all bad.
Hugs, Kala

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I don't believe there is anyway that we can be responsible for the choices and behaviors of anyone but ourselves. Choosing to report is no guarantee that a rapist will not rape again. It is not a guarantee that s/he will be found guilty and pulled off the streets. We have absolutely no control over there behavior...

I have reported and am going ahead with a trial, and I hear you in that I had plenty of pressure from others about getting him off the street, protecting potential future victims and "what about his kids??" Those are guilt inducing statements, but all along I think that I knew that whatever I chose to do, it would in no way guarantee how he would make his future choices.

The legal system isn't easy to navigate. I think the only reason I chose to report was because it was my only hope in getting it to stop. I'd tried everything else known to man and it didn't work to get him to leave me alone. I was and continue to be reluctant to do this b/c I am related to this person and I know everyone that will be profoundly effected by this process. I think if he were a stranger and I didn't know him or anyone related to him it would be a hands down "oh, sure I'll report" (for me). I think the choice is more complicated when you know them, or are close to people close to them. There is this sense that somehow your actions of prosecuting are hurting all those people (even though it's not *us* we didn't choose violence *they* did. Our choice to prosecute is directly related to the choice they did, so in that vein...they brought this onto their loved ones, not us. That is so difficult to remember).

I'm long-winded--this is what happens when I'm overtired and sick ;) But yeah, we're not responsible for his behavior at any point in time. His behavior = his responsibility. We are only responsible for taking care of ourselves, and that will mean different things for different people.

Take gentle care,
Rain

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I reported my first and he got out early and did it again. I never reported the last one, and I found out later that he got one of my best friends after me.  It's hard not to feel responsible for that because it was shortly after he got me.  If I had said something, maybe I could have saved it from being her.  I try really hard not to listen to that but you can't help it.  It hits you a little harder when it's someone you care about.  Hopefully in time I can forgive myself for that.

As for the topic in general and this is going to sound a little hypocritical, but I agree in general with the other posters.  It's not our responsibilty to stop them.  

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I think maybe the idea that it's our fault if we don't report it is us just being hard on ourselves - usually we're more critical of ourselves than anyone else is. And a common feeling for survivors is guilt. This is just a suggestion, of course, because I've been thinking about this lots and lots since I posted earlier.

Another thought:

What if we do report, and he gets released, and rapes again? Or what if he isn't convicted, be it a legal technicality or a not guilty verdict? Have we "done our part", or are we going to blame ourselves for not trying hard enough?

I had a heated talk about this with a close friend after the debate initially started, and these were some of the questions that came up from that...

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"We are only responsible for our own choices.  How then can it be that if he hurts someone again, it's our fault?"

As you said dear WE ARE RESPOSIBLE for our own choices, if our choice is to not prosecute then that in itself says we are taking care of ourselves. The first and foremost choice is to take care of ones being, i never prosecuted, does it bug me? Yes it does.

But my choice was not to. See our choice was taken away that minute, that hour, that day, that time, our lives changed, we had no choice.

See pain affects and affects and affects, pain is a scary thing. Especially when it is so #### traumatizing. Like this shit.

Is it our fault if one rapes or assaults again? #### no! It wasnt our choice to begin with, it will never be. No matter what.  The rotten fuck that made his own decision to hurt, his own decision to fuck over, his own decision to rape, to assault, to abuse HIS choice, our MAIN thing for each SURVIVOR is to take care of oneself.

Compassion and love resides to those that are sadly hurt by the same #######, so what i do when i think that this may happend or may have already happend is when i am down and out know that they may be too, if there is a they. If i am happy hey maybe they are too.

If i am good and possibly they are not, keep whomever in my thoughts and prayers.

I tried to make sense, hope i didnt ramble on and on.

Take care.

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I didn't report it. I wish I would have now, because I live in a new place so he can't find me or my daughter. But then I think of my mom and my grandma and I realize that I still have to protect them. And I still work where I worked then so I would still be frightened.

The worst part is my mom has such a big issue with the fact that I didn't go to the police. And I was protecting HER! I mean, yeah, others, too, but she was one of the people. She has this idea that I should have filed a restraining order long ago. Lots of people have told me that. Sometimes I want to scream, "He's a r*pist! Do you really think he gives two sh*ts about law?" Grrrrr. I mean...okay...here's what would happen. I would get the restraining order, watch him walk right through it, and then call the cops(if I got that far), and wait for them while he hurts me or someone I love. Oh...okay...maybe he would finish the job though. Yeah, my family would all die, but gee....besides murder and r*pe they could get him on that good ole restraining order too...*sighs*. I DO think that it's a great thing when criminals are punished, but sometimes, depending on the situation, it is so much easier to deal with the guilt of the 'what ifs' than the fear of punishment for speaking out.

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Not only did I not report it, I told absolutely No One.  Then I apparently blocked it from my own memory for years.  Today the memory of it has resurfaced, and I have had to deal with healing from it 30 years after it happened.  I wonder how different my life would have been if I could have told.  I don't know.  Maybe I couldn't handle it then, but can now.  My therapist told me that our subconscious protects us and directs us as to what to do according to what we can emotionally handle.  So, I believe there is no wrong answer -- just answers tailored to each of individually.  I also agree with all of you who have said that it is not the victims responsibility to report in order to prevent the violater from further foul play.  I have to use these cryptic words instead of the real thing.  I am still healing.

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 it's a bunch of bullshit to blame someone for someone else's actions...You aren't responsible for anyone but yourself. Even if you did take it to court, there's only like a 50/50 chance they'll get convicted here in the states...I have to admit though, i do still carry that self-blame around with me everywhere i go.

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I did report it to the police, but I didn't really remember anything much about what happened.  I think now I've started to deal with this whole mess.  The more I remember, the more I think I'm not sure if reporting him is enough.  I know the chances are it won't even get to court because he lives in another country (he was studying here for a year).  The more I remember about how he terrorised me and how afraid I was, it makes it hard to make a decision.  Last time I spoke to him (before I remembered all this stuff) he told me he had a girlfriend.  I think that's what worries me most about the whole thing.  I know what he's capable of, and I worry that by not taking this whole thing further I have left her in harms way.

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I told my dad that his best friend molested me right after he did it (I was 15) my dad's response: "Do you mind if I'm still friends with him?" What!!!!!! Well, my dad did nothing about it and it came out a few years later that he had been incesting his daughter from the time she was born till a few years after he molested me.

Just think if the highly intelligent adults that were suppose to be protecting us actually listened and did something. His daughter would not of had to go through those last few years with her dad.

Do I feel guilty? Yes.  Am I mad that nothing was done about it? Yes.  Do I think most of the blame should go on the molester and then my dad, mom, step-mom, the molester's wife (she called me a horror and a lot of other lovely names, and said I asked for it.) Yes, Yes, Yes!!!  But, I know that they all have to live with the guilt of not doing anything when they found out about me.  I must say though I am VERY, VERY, VERY ANGRY that nothing was done about my pain and that my dad continued to make me see him (the molester).  Thanks dad (me, being very sarcastic)

I still have to see the molester's wife because she is still my wicked step-mother's best friend.

Casper

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