Jes

Shame and Telling

34 posts in this topic

I wrote this a long time ago, and noticed the thread it was in is distorted, so I thought it was worth a repost :)

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. 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 received 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. I found sympathy. "What can I do for you?" "Are you okay?" "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 worshipped. 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, so I am quickly and effectively silenced.

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, then 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.

8 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Very powerfully written, thank you! Speaking out is something I still struggle w/although when I told my mom the second time she listened and did everything right. Last fall on vacation I had the kenji(sp?japanese letters)for survivor tattooed on my inner wrist. When it was done I loved it but was also kind of scared. The letters seemed so big and black and permanent and noticable. I never planned out what I would say to ppl when they asked me what it meant. At first I lied to most everyone(except my family), but I'm working on just telling ppl the truth when they ask(when appropriate). I have never seen ppl shut up faster than when I tell them it means survivor. NO ONE has asked any more questions once I said the word. Except for my aunt who looked at me and said 'What did you survive?'(she knows about my csa). :rolleyes: It's really been sad for me to see how many ppl really don't want to know.

Take care

Reese

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, I just came across this and I am just taken a back (in a good way). This is so what I want in my life, to just talk about it when I need to, to be able to say the words, share my story, explain my triggers, to know that someone in real life cares enough about me to not just walk away when the conversation gets 'messy'. Thanks for posting this, I printed it out and will go back to it very often in the next few days, just to dissect and digest it more.

Thanks again,

Kolee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

WOW! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, JES! You brave advocate! I've been thinking about this SO MUCH lately. I was thinking about asking to get something pinned, actually, because I think it's so important. I have something up at my Blogger blog right now, entitled, "SHARE A SECRET, STOP THE SILENCE, SILENCE THE SHAME." This is a major goal of mine. I want to know how interested survivors are in doing this--sharing secrets and silencing shame. Details are at: http://survivorscanthrive.blogspot.com. Again, thanks for your courage and leadership. :goodjob:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(((((((((((((Jes))))))))))))))))))

Wow! I recently did speak out, even if only to two of my physicians. One was wonderful, the other...apparantly I caught him a bit off guard. His initial response, I can't repeat here. Although, he did step up to the plate,so to speak. I believe he made my gyne surgery much easier for me. I'm sure he is aware of how he responded and perhaps gave it some thought afterwards. He has been VERY nice and very professional. I'm hoping he didnt tell the rest of his staff, though. I do have my suspicions.

thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

(((((((((Jes))))))))))

I know this is an older thread, but it touched me soooo much I had to reply!

Your words are soooo powerful! Until now, I have only told the "general outline" of what happened to me to a very few people. I have yet to find the courage to let people in my RL know how I feel about it, or how it has effected me. I talk with my T, and the beautiful people here at Pandy, but that is all.

My shame, My guilt, My pain live inside of me, controlling me, trying to drown me. After reading your words (about 1/2 dozen times to get it into my thick skull) I will make it my goal this week to stop hiding, to say the words out loud, and the hell with how it makes others feel! I will do this for ME!

Thank you oh powerful, wise, wonderful, supportive Jes! :wub:

:daisy: Reenie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am glad you reposted it Jes, that is very empowering, it took me 11 years to say anything to anyone after my first experiences of being sexually assaulted. And the feelings of those close to me was not that good, only people i got understanding from was a support group from a self development course i did (where i first blurted it)....

Thanks for posting this, and i agree with every word :)

Kate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you again, Jes! I know you posted this awhile ago, but since I am just stumbling across it now, I thank you. Such powerful and moving words! I've said other places on this site that only my boyfriend knows about what happened to me, and yesterday was the first time I said "rape" aloud (on the phone, scheduling an appointment with the counselor). But after reading this several times, I'm honestly considering telling friends when the time is appropriate (by "appropriate" I mean in an intimate, homey setting and not in a bar). Family might take a lot longer, since my family is VERY gossipy and large and would probably bring it up everytime I was in the vicinity or just give me sad eyes everytime I walked into the room.

Thank you, thank you again Jes!

Much love, Stephanie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow powerful Thank you you are right. I have been feeling that I want to step out and scream, I am getting closer. This hit my heart, ironic that I found it today of all days. :cry:

Thank you for sharing something so poweful and so personal

Take care, breezy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Jess!

I can only imagine what that day would be like if every victim of sexual assault would scream. I believe you are right, that no place on this earth would be quiet. That it would be heard around the world.

I wish I could scream, I wish I could speak out. I have been quieted for far too long.

Thank you again Jess, it's very powerful to read and feel.

Sandy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Jes,

You are absolutely right on the money with your post. Silence is the enemy of the survivor.

I am a survivor. My wife is a survivor. I am a therapist who specializes in helping survivors. It's hard to speak out. Its difficult to believe that we won't be hurt, or rejected, or that something terrible won't happen if we speak. But, speaking is part of the process of healing for most of us.

The dragon (my wife's name for the inner shame, anger and torment the survivor feels) flourishes in the darkness of silence. To speak is to take some of his power away and return it to yourself. Be deliberate in your choice to speak. Start with a trusted somebody. But when you can...speak!

Edited by Truestim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very well written, thank you, Jes! That was amazing, I imagined it all of us letting out a scream, what an awesome site and moment that would be. It would wake everyone up, amazing vision. Thanks, so much, you are so very right! Lots of supportive, thankful hugs for such a good article.

Christine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Jes. The mugging example is one I use often myself. Really well written piece.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow Jess, that was a great post! I can definately relate! :tear:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

I am going to ask people a favor. Don't be silenced.

HI,

Thanks for this post from long ago, and thanks for reminding me/us not to be silent. We should NOT feel shame for something we didn't cause.

I just returned home last night from out of state...where my abuser was finally sentenced, for victims he abused after me. The statute of limitations had run out for me to charge him although I passed a polygraph test and TRIED to bring charges against him on my own behalf.

His abuse of me occurred when I was age 8 to 11 or so, over a 3 year period...... I am now 45. There are at least 6 other victims of his abuse...and we fear many more.

His charges were for 3 of those 6 that we know of..... 2 are his daughters, and one his grandchild.....

He is a sick person.... and while I feel huge relief he can't hurt another little girl.... I still feel a void in my heart for the me that was lost....and for what the other victims have lost.... things we can never get back.... lost innocence... ability to trust others or ourselves.... it's gone... all gone...

The abusers don't get it..... the damage they do to us....not that they care....

It's like tossing a stone in a very still lake..... the ripples keep affecting.... others.....forever....and ever....

Keep up the fight..... believe in yourselves....

Living well is the best revenge.... they may have stolen your past... or present...don't let them steal your future.

You owe it to yourself to go on.....

Don't waste another minute on dwelling on them.... take care of YOU!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you jes, I turely am in awe of this post and its something which I really needed to know and has encouraged me to talk about my story. Although many victims will highly benifit from speaking to others, shame is sometimes just to overpowerful as I have found.

Shen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks jes.

That's very well written.

sorry reese about those that don't ask and then about your aunt. :rolleyes:

Even though they deny, blame, run, manipulate, scheme and try and control, if you tell, the truth is out there.

:hug:

love bronte.

Edited by bronte

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you, for this. It's really helped me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Jes. Thank you so much. I feel stronger after reading your words.

ocean

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote this a long time ago, and noticed the thread it was in is distorted, so I thought it was worth a repost :)

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. 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 received 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. I found sympathy. "What can I do for you?" "Are you okay?" "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 worshipped. 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, so I am quickly and effectively silenced.

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, then 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.

This is so true. I have been in therapy for Depression since I was 20 and I am 30 now. Therapists have asked "Has anyone ever abused you?" I feel my face get hot and I feel like a bug under the microscope.

"Can I tell? Can the words even come out of my mouth?" I would always say no. The first time I told anyone was when I attempted suicide and spent time in a mental facility. I had to talk to Social Worker Therapist. That was her first question! OMG! Somehow I just starting telling her everything, sobbing all the while. Telling someone makes it become true and it makes me feel embaressed like I am some sort of outcast. My Dad was a Sadistic Monster who beat the living daylights out of my sister and me everyday until Mom and Dad got divorced at the age of almost 13 for me. Mom moved us to NC. I see it was for the best now but it was hard to leave San Diego. We had to visit my Dad every summer and things were a little better. Dad had a wife who was a Harpee. My sister sassed her and she told my Dad. My Dad began choking her so hard her feet were coming off the ground. I remember screaming and begging him to stop it! OMG! I wanted to kill him!!! I have had puzzling dreams of where I was raped over the years that I can't account for. I feel all the feelings I would if I was raped. I also have terrible nightmares of my Dad coming for me. Sometimes I am a child, sometimes I am my age now. Lately I have been screaming and letting the hatred fly back into his face.

I confronted my Dad this year and he denys he did anything to us. Because I have Bipolarism, he also implies I haven't taken my meds or something. How do you get past the anger and resentment? How do you stop the person who hurt you go on acting like he has had a loving relationship all along and he has a right to see my son this summer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read two of your posts within the hour of actively participating (I'm new) and am incredibly touched and motivated by your words. Thank you.

P.S. have you ever considered writing a book? Maybe a memoir? Just had to ask. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you Jes!!!

In my family I so far have only been able to tell my mother about my SA she brushed it off like it meant nothing so I never have had the courage to tell ANYONE in my family and only two friends about the rape. I know telling my parents about the rape is out of the picture, same with most of my other family, but hopefully not my cousins, one day if they need help themselves. I'm the oldest and they all look up to me so I will make it clear to them that they can tell me anything. As far as relationships and and friends go you are helping me build up the courage to know that its okay to say. So thank you thank you so much!!!

(((((HUGS)))))

Edited by Aurora325

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was beautifully written. Its like you took the words right out of my mouth. I am so sad that this happen to you but Im happy you are speaking out. Giving other women who remain silent a voice. Thank you for writing. Yesterday i decided to finally speak up and didn't just tell a friend. I made a video and posted it on Youtube. It feels good that its released. Even if no one watch's it.( but if an one does want to the link is below) Now i wanna keep talking about it until its all out and wont eat ate me from the inside anymore!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was beautifully written. Now i wanna keep talking about it until its all out and wont eat ate me from the inside anymore!

THANKU 4 SHARING :yay:

:thumbsup:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites