Guest mistral

Shame and Telling-My Thoughts

51 posts in this topic

Hi Mistral,

Wow what a powerful post. I was told to read your post as my counsellor want's me to tell my choir why i am wearing trousers (we are supposed to wear skirts).

but to me that is such an unthinkable thing to do, But after speaking with with my choit teacher (whom is my rock who has got me through this) and reading your post i am beginning to realise that if i do decide to tell them (well actually My choir teacher would tell them). I have began to think differently about doing so.

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Carolyn, sweetheart--good for you. I hope you get the support and caring from your fellow choristers that you deserve. If not from all, I hope you can know that it's their problem, not yours. If you tell, let us know how it went, won't you?

Mistral my love, could you ever have imagined how much positive impact this post of yours would have? I know I continue to think about the points you made. You are a creator of light, and what we say has a ripple effect and this continues to ripple in some very fine ways....

Love and admiration

Rachel xxx

(Edited by Rachel Pike at 6:55 am on July 21, 2001)

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Amazing, amazing, amazing.  You all have me completely awe-struck and inspired.  I had no idea there was this huge thread going on that reflected exactly what's been plaguing me in my own brain!

Is it Rape?


Sexual Assault?

What's the difference?  Rape is an ugly blunt word, how perfectly described by Ms. Brownmiller.  And Mistral, when you said to say to people, "if rape makes you feel uncomfortable, imagine how it makes me feel", you just blew my mind.  Imagine that WE are the ones who feel we need to comfort others for having the gall to bring up this life-shattering experience?  

Oh, pardon me, I'm soooo sorry to have dirtied your mind with my life!!!  

That's how it feels!  Even with the best-intentioned of people.  Like yesterday, when I asked my husband not to joke about certain things pertaining to sex, and he got all pouty and said, "Am I going to have to live my life walking on eggshells?"  He's as supportive as one could be, but even he can be so hurtful.

Somehow saying "sexual assault" seems to clean it up a bit.  I can imagine telling people about one of those, but not about a dirty rape.  Am I being untrue to myself by using different words?  Eventually, "sexual assault" just becomes "the assault", and the sexual element is taken out of it.  Is that creating even more of a lie?  Or does it enable me to talk about it more freely, hence ending the silence albeit not as perfectly as I'd like?

You all are the rocks of the universe.

safe hugs,


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Oh, pardon me, I'm soooo sorry to have dirtied your mind with my life!!!  

That's fantastic Kimby - I was talking to a friend of mine about my abuse yesterday and I still feel like I'm burdening and boring and upsetting people. I'm going to write this down and stick it up next to my computer and hopefully it will start to sink in!

Thanks fantastic woman!!

lots of love


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Thank you for bringing this post up to the top - you are SO Strong and powerful just for writing what you wrote...It still is difficult for me to look in the mirror and say "I was raped" - i just hate that word...and Rachel's analogy to diaorrhea (sp?) just proves my point - rape is an easy word to say, easy to spell and just as easy to ignore.  You are right, and I will start speaking out, in fact I am going back to my old high school to talk to the teachers and see what sort of feed back I get from them...Thank you for your strong words.

With Love,


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Bouncing this up for Disappear. Hope it helps.

Lots of love

*safe hugs*


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This seems to have vanished from wonderful threads [or I'm blind and stupid - one of the two] so boosting it up to see if it reappears.



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Thaml you!  This has given me the courage to tell my friends "face to face" after 16 years of silence.........I think.  I am going to try tomorrow night.  You are so wonderful.  I am in awe of you and in awe of you and in awe of you!



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Well Aoife I am glad you boosted this because I probably wouldn't have gone looking for it.  Well Mistral says it all right there.  I blame myself for the exact reason that Mistral says, to give myself some of the control.  It is probably going to be a long time before I can accept anyless.  

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Telling the truth is so hard, I love the "dirtied your mind with my life" so true and just says it all.  Its so hard to not have peoples repugnance for the issue not be personal. My repugnance not become self hatred.  I dont even want the truth sometimes.

Thanks for the excellent words that I need to read often to give me strength.

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This was just one of the most empowering things I have ever read and want to sincerely thank you for posting it.  Now I have a very strong desire to get the #### ink cartridge for the printer that I keep procrastinating with so that I can print it out!  In my personal opinion this needs to be boosted and often!  Thanks again so very, very much.  You rock!



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Thanks for this post... i just read it, maybe i read it before, i don't remember..

I do think it is stil hard to say the word, i hate the dutch word for rape (verkrachting) even more, i can't get it out of my mouth, it was even hard for me to write it down.

I feel that people are always weird about these issues, when i hear people talking about a person who was raped, they always talk about it in a way... i mean, like the person isn't who she was before, like u have to take care for her as if she can't make own decisions anymore, and like she can't leave the house anymore.

Or they talk like she has an dissease, or like as if she can't hear people talkabout her, so there's  a silence when she enters. Thats one of teh reasons why i can't tell friends or so, i dont want them to see me different. I am still just Maaike. I'm good at hiding, i mean, many people wouldn't know what happenend to me, when i am with people, alot of times i seem ahppy, and have fun. But i hardly really ever have, too busy hiding my emotions.

Well, i ope one day, poeple who were raped will be seen normal...

Just liuke u said: when u are robbed, or hit by a car, no one treats u different...

There's alot to change in this  world..

Hugs Maaike

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Its late so Im going to copy what I wrote which was meant for the guilt and shame area but didnt seem to work.

 Guilt and shame are what kept and to this day have kept me from speaking out.  I victim of incest by my own father.  No-one suspects.  The previous isnt entirely correct.  I told my closest friend just before graduation from high-school.  All I sayed through long spaces & questions though was that I was raped by my father once when I was very young.  I could not say it all.  After this I never discused it again & its like it never happened in the first place.

 I connot remember how old I was but I remember when it started.  My father showed me how to wash my private parts when I was in the shower.  I remember he looked at me and smiled when he touched me.  I giggled (or something) back.  After, the usual tickle before sleep was different.  He shut the door just enough so you couldnt see out in the hallway.  He then tickled me but under the sheets.  He ran his hands over my pants, then eventually under.  He then invented games which basically envolved the same thing, but sometimes more focused.

 He said it was Satan who caused this and not to tell my mother.  I didnt understand but said I wouldnt.  He kept assuring me it would be or that was the last time.  Even after being tought basic sex education & danger by my mother at a young age (after) I did not think it was the same.  I didnt think it was sexualy related.

 Of course I realised it was later, but still denyed to some extent.  When I was 13 I started partaking in this activity & it developed to a sexual level. This continued untill I was 18 when I left home.

 I suffer from PTSD & have since grade 11.  Guilt & shame follow me wherever I go.  I blame myself for not speaking out before it got worse.  My father sayed "I no I am partially to blame".  I feel guilt & shame becuase Im the one who didnt ever say no & even sayed yes.

 The only syptoms I have of PTSD which wern't cured (bed wetting till grade 6) are:

 -illness leading to vomiting (If I eat) before any event (even minor) including school.

 -Trouble swallowing food (this was mainly if stressed from anything, any event which envolves leaving the house)

 I find that I lose the symptoms If I am not near my father but it reoccurs if he is around for long periods of time.

 Sometimes I get really down, but usually I appear very happy, thats why nobody realizes.

 After freqent visits to doctors I was diagnosed at 15 with a stress disorder.  I always remembered him saying "post traumatic stress disorder" once.  My father was with me at the time.  I wasnt sure if I had heard correctly.  My father sayed to mum that I had a stress disorder.  I sayed I had PTSD once to my brother & he just laughed & said "yeh sure" so I though he was probably right.  I only started to realise my disorder was was because of the abuse at around 18.  Today Im sure its PTSD.

 If there is anything you want to say, my email is:

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Hi John,

Welcome to Pandy's.  I am so sorry that you have a reason to be here, but I am glad that you have found this wonderful place.

There are many posts on this board that discuss similar experiences.  You are not alone.

Take good care of yourself, and please visit often.

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I'm sorry you went through that. I didn't know what any of the symptoms for PTSD were. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you didn't need to be here, but I'm glad that you found us. Please post and reply or just read as much as you need to. We'll be here for you.

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 I forgot a few other syptoms:



  -panic/anxiety attacks

Thank you both for replying so soon.  I couldnt believe I didnt have to wait long. I'm not sure what to say.  The truth is I was afraid of what the replies would be.  Im still lost but at least I know I have somewhere to look to.

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Again, thank you for sharing. I think it's very brave of you. I wish you the best in your healing.


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This is really powerful. Quoting it here so it's easier to find :)

Please be careful.  These are my thoughts on Our Collective Shame, why we feel it, and why we must not.  The posts to the Telling and Shame thread I started made me think.  These thoughts may be triggering.  Please be safe.

Rape. Molested. Incest. Abuse. Sexual Assualt.

These have words have such power.  From us, they have taken control, safety and power.  In replacement, we have been given hurt, anger and shame and we are silenced by it.

They have power over our families, our friends, our peers and co-workers, too.  These words have the power to them say things like "Are you sure?" or "Why didn't you do this, that or the other thing?"  They make them call us liars.  They make people we know and trust physically recoil from us, look away or just blush.  It's all hurtful, so hurtful that it silences us.

Why do we feel shame?  Before we even tell, we are ashamed.  This is a society in which sex crimes are Unspeakable Crimes.

When we tell, our feelings about the rape, molestation or incest are influenced by the way the person we trusted enough to tell reacts to us.  To those of you who told and recieved no support, I applaud you. Your search to heal is just heroic, and shows unwavering bravery. To tell takes untold courage.  Again, I applaud you in your search to heal despite the shame given you. Rape is not the unspeakable crime; What your friends and families did by silencing you with shame is.  

So why DO these people we trust so much look away?

Fear.  Thinking that, "Well, rape happens to other people.  Not to people I know.  If it happened to someone I know, then it can happen to me, and it can't.  Therefore, my friend, my daughter, my sister, wasn't raped."  

Ignorant.  Just fucking ignorant.

Control.  Blame is a way to control.  We blame our own selves, too don't we?  By saying, "Why didn't you, run, scream, fight harder...etc...." our friends, families and peers put the control into our hands.  They think..."If she had fought harder she would have gotten away.  If she had yelled, someone would have heard her.  I Would Have Yelled.  I Would Have Gotten Away.  I Would Have Been Heard.  This Can't Happen To Me."  It's a way for non-survivors to think they actually control their own environments.  The survivor, she didn't. But This Can't Happen To Me.

When we blame ourselves, we give control back to ourselves.  I Should Have Fought Harder.  I Should Have Yelled.  It's a way to protect our own mistaken belief that We Control Our Own Lives.  We don't. Shit just happens. Us survivors, we learned that, in one heartbreaking minute.  

We don't want that control, do we?  Not when the shame comes with it.  But people give that control to us, unasked for.  And it makes us really ashamed.  And silent.

Discomfort-People are generally uncomfortable with discussions about genitals, and when we tell them that our genitals were so horribly abused, they become uncomfortable.

I was mugged, two years ago.  Total control was taken from me, by a man with a gun to my face, and I reached into the back pocket of my jeans and gave him money.  He walked away.  Was I ashamed? NO.  Did people treat me differently? NO.  Sympathy, and What can I do for you? Are you Ok?  That must have been scary. This is how people reacted. 

Rape is the Unspeakable Crime because it involves the control of our genitals.  Our genitals to be treasured.  They are to be worshiped.  We do not speak of them.  

Seven weeks ago, penis was put into my vagina without my consent.

The reluctance to speak about a crime involving genitals makes what is essentially a horrible mugging more awful for me.  I Am Horrified that this happened and people don't want to hear about it, even though I desperately need to talk about it with those who can help me make sense out of this world.  However,  People Don't Talk About These Things. I AM SILENCED.  Quickly and effectively.

I am silent, because their words hurt, because I am afraid of more abuse, because I am afraid of their pain and their reactions.

For those of you, especially those of you who have been more effectively silenced than I have; I am in Awe of You.  To heal must be incredibly difficult.

Too many women are raped, molested, abused and assaulted because of the silence.

Too many women feel this Collective Shame, because of the silence.

I am going to ask people a favor.  Don't Be Silenced.  

Stepping out can be so frightening, but so much can be gained.  Sometimes statistics jump into my head and I can't help but think about what would happen if every victim of sexual assault were to simultaneously scream.  People would begin, and those who had hadn't been able to acknowledge what has been done to them, would hear, look around, realize that they were not alone and join in.  It would be the scream heard across the world and it would be the scream to change the world.  No place would be silent, no person on this earth would not hear that scream and the effects of sexual assault would be frighteningly audible and thus undeniable.

That is an unrealistic vision right now, but it is not unrealistic to break the silence on a smaller scale.

End the silence at your own pace.  Any step is a good step, no matter what it is.  These steps are acts of bravery.

Stay safe when you take steps.

If just reading this was the biggest step you can take, Good for You.  You have something to be proud of.

If you can, write it.

If you can say your word to yourself, say it.

If you can say rape, incest molestation to a friend, try it on for size.

If you can yell it, like I did last night, yell it.

If you can speak out, then do so.

Any step you take, is a step in ending this Collective Shame and Silence, that we all feel. Now that is empowering, to us, the survivors, and to all women.

I want to acknowledge my mother, a woman with her Ph.D. in Womens Studies, for raising an empowered daughter.  Also, I'd like to acknowledge my partner, for calling it Rape, when he called the police.  I wouldn't have.  I want to thank my father, for saying, "This is the first night I slept well since you were raped," at the dinner table.  My partner gave me a word for it, and my father made it alright for me to talk about my rape at the dinner table.

These people are the reason I will not be silenced.

Thanks for reading.  The courage I have seen on this board gives me courage.



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I have decided to not squirm at the words any longer. I have decided that I am going to own my experience, and say, fuck! i was raped, and it HURTS. I have read this thread several times since i was raped in april and since then i've been thinking, well, why shouldn't I use the words I know apply to my experience. Why should I be worried about what other people's reactions are, even though that IS what i've worried about the most. Thankyou for helping me to take my power back in a small way. thankyou very much


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Posted (edited)

Good evening/Hello all,

I hope you are fairing ok.

I am new to Pandy's and I feel so lucky to have found this forum.

This is a bit of a selfish rant. The email may contain some triggers as it partially describes my most recent experience- which has resulted in my PTSD becoming worse than ever.

My ranting intro and segue into comments on shame.

I have recently left my abuser. Emotional abuse which escalated over 1 year into severe sexual and

emotional degradation. I was so brainwashed within that 1 year, I only figured it out after 8 months of intense therapy. Therapy only started as I became increasingly depressed ng just got me into more and more trouble - Horrible.


Because of his severe psychopathology, I managed to almost avoid intercourse for the last 4 months of our co-habitance. Mind you I soon learned that he found and even created numerous other ways to sexually debase me and then used them in between the few times we did have intercourse. He did manage to emotional berate(sp?) me and physically threaten me to the point where I totally caved during our moving/splitting period. The last day we lived together he coerced me into intercourse during which he repeated his usual BS of erotic denial but added some serious inference/mild occurance of erotic strangulation. Frightening is that he would hold himself back as if to keep from losing control because he got so sexually excited from my terrified state. However he would start up again with his hands around my neck once he felt I wasnt as terrified (in his control). I was so mortified I went to work that morning and carried out my tasks in order to keep what was left of my sanity intact.

It is since then I have found myself realizing the multifaced effects of the prolonged abuse.

The wind blows against my neck and I feel as though I am either going to pass out or throw up.

I havent slept in months. I am fortunate to have a very patient T. With respect to the flare of my ptsd, I already feel somewhat "better" and I realize what can improve will take quite some time; I also realize that other aspects of the aftermath may not improve (permanent triggers) and I will have to adjust how I deal with them- this in particular really pisses me off. I prefer being dissociated phases of PTSD versus hypervigilance- and I am stuck in hypervigilance.

Out of EVERYTHING: I find especially exasperating the shame aspect

of self-acceptance. After you have been vicitimized,

unwittingly and then perhaps even wittingly dance the dance with the the domestic assliant....

there is shame.

It is almost impossible for even close friends not to view the

victim-enabler as some kind of imbecile. Most people do not

knowingly choose to be into what is an initially self-perceived

abusive relationship. I cannot tolerate for length- my "well-

intented" friends inferring that we maybe idiots

emotionally/intellectually to reinforce their own sense of security.

I fully accept I responsibility of my role as victim and

(somewhat in remission) "enabler" in my relationship with my X (deleted).

I hate the word enabler- its not our fault that the abuser treated us like shit.

We can make healthier choices in prevention- but sometimes those healthier choices arent an option when your already in the midst of danger.

Anyways.......I find that those I am around can make it more difficult to accept and

subsequently move on- since they cannot even fathom the possible monstrousity

of other technically speaking- human beings. Really conducive to feeling even more isolated than our abuser wanted us to feel to begin with.

Yes knowledge is power and we can make more intelligent choices esp.

with enhanced awareness. Anybody may or may not meet a "nice"

individual to have a relationship with....but on the same hand

anybody may meet an abusive partner. Even those not "vulnerable" can get sucked in

by these individuals- which is horrifying to say the least. Metaphor:

On any given day anyone could be in vehicular accident or smacked down by

a large vehicle while crossing the street. Most individuals cannot

consciously plan for such an event. While you can choose to use the

crosswalks and look both ways before crossing, regardless of

your "vulnerabilities" a mack truck will emotionally (and/or physically) obliterate

either an 85 y/o or 26 yr/old. Mack truck= abuser.

When you (or at least with myself) try to share your experience(s)

with someone relatively close to you....they just cant comprehend

the dynamic of an abusive relationship and of course "it" will never happen to them.....

Thereby reinforcing the shame factor, paranoia and inhibiting

healthy growth. I have had all I can do to divulge a handful of the antics to 2-3 friends. One is directly supportive, the other is directly consoling as she realizes she cannot process what happened. The second friend at least tries not to say anything too inconsiderate; but the other day asked why I was so upset the morning after I last spoke with my ex. (Duh?)

The/your links with respect to the dynamics of victims and society and it is

certainly a bonus to have validation in that regard......The whole

it would never happen to me dynamic is getting really wearing on me

right now and tending to spark my repressed rage. I am having all I

can do to grapple with my recollections of what occured and moving on in that regard without others unconsciously reinforcing shame....

Rape is rape. No one can "weigh" anothers experience against another.... However I feel as though I am less entitled on some level to feel violated as my abuser was X (deleted); as maladjusted as that maybe. I also feel less acknowledged by those who I have confided in- example. There was a report of a young woman being attacked on campus- horrible. My colleagues usually commented with thoughts of blaming the vicitm but also of arent we lucky "that" hasnt happened to us. My thought: Thanks for forgetting it has and thank you for invalidating my experience(s).

Thank you for finally ;) allowing the opportunity to vent/rant to those who know.....

I welcome your response/advice/feedback.

Take care


Edited by squirrely

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Hi everyone~

I thought I'd send a little encouragement about what can happen when we do find the courage to speak out about what has happened to us.

I switched Churches going on 4 years ago and with the reasons I left the other one still in my mind, felt I would never want to disclose much about my past with anyone at my new one. There was a problem with this as when I wanted to get back into where I worked I would have to sign a paper which would disclose my sexual ab*se as a child.

So, I prayed and thought it through and decided I would try to do this my own way. We are a very large Church so I decided to watch the Ministers and see which one I would give "My Story" or what is referred to as my "Testimony" in Church language. So I watched and wrote it and it sat on my desk at home 2 weeks. I decided the Minister I would give it to would be my choir director as I was in choir and had more interaction with him and therefore felt more comfortable sharing it with him (he ended up being one of my triggers as he looks like my ab*ser). I gave it to him after practice one Wednesday night and told him it was for "His Eyes Only." The next day when I came in as a volunteer to help he called me into his office. He asked why it was for "His Eyes Only," as it was the best testimony of reconciliation he had ever read. I tried to explain how not everyone is "kind" to say the least when they find out everything you've been through. He said you came in here last night and gave me this (I only did it so I could once again work with kids) but what you didn't know was that the person who was going to speak at our Christmas Celebration had backed out that morning. Would you consider giving your testimony in Church that night?

Here I was still wounded from happenings somewhere else and was asked to tell everyone what had happened to me. I told him I would pray about it and did. I received two answers. One was really a question, it was "Will You Trust Me?" The other was, "Am I not big enough to handle your reputation too?" So, I did give my testimony at the Christmas Celebration in front of approximately 1,200 people. I told them of Sexual Ab*se, Ab*rtion, R*pe, Verbal, emotional, physical Ab*se and everything I did to fill the void within and to numb the pain. I received a standing ovation that night, but it truly wasn't me they applauded it was God and His work in my life toward healing. A year later we were asked to be leaders in a Ministry called "Celebrate Recovery" it is a ministry that deals with all issues, you name it. We said yes. There are Celebrate Recoveries everywhere and it is a safe place to share in small groups our experiences. We share our pain, trials, struggles, triumphs and hope.

I still have much healing to do, and I am working on it, but I am learning to have a voice and to empower others with one also! Celebrate Recovery has come out of the same Church whose Pastor wrote, "The Purpose Driven Life," for those who recognize that book. It is an awesome book, it speaks much of our pasts. Anyway, a little at a time. A person doesn't have to do it on such a large scale to have a voice, mine just happened that way. (I was scared to death, but God was faithful) Just speak something, and be heard. Don't feel safe? Find a place you will like Celebrate Recovery with others who "Get It."

Start your search there, you can find one where you live.



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