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Rape is as rape does, but what about the brother who did it?

Posted by Onno , in analyses 06 March 2014 · 216 views

Yesterday, I was driving my car to get some groceries, when my mind wandered of in the past. The thoughts unwound themselves along the ladder of accusation, in what has somewhat become like a mantra:
Yes, he did this to me.
Yes, it was wrong
Yes, it was abuse, so
Yes, he abused me.
Yes, he demanded sexual intercourse, so
Yes, he raped me, actually several times
So Yes, he is a rapist.
I hit the last rung hard and it almost made me tumble down again. I have never come so far along. The first thing that came to mind was: he is not a rapist, he is my brother! Then an other voice within me spoke up hesitantly: "Well think again, he might be both." At that time several things struck me. 
Calling my brother a rapist was a first. Why am I so scared of this, since it is the logical conclusion that follows from what he did to me? If you were raped, there was a rapist. Why is calling him out much more difficult than accepting the deed itself, which is difficult enough? I think it is due to the fact that being a rapist has the same gravity as being a murderer, which is different from being a thief, a burglar, mugger, a drugs dealer or a sinner for that matter. The first mentioned define you by what you once did, where as the latter define you much more by what you have been doing. The first can never be undone, in the way the latter can. If you murdered someone, you are a murderer for life and the same goes for the rapist. Even if you don't murder anymore, show remorse and seek redemption, you can't say you are no murderer anymore. This is different for the thief, the drugs dealer and the sinner. They are more defined as a career: once I was a thief, but I don't steal anymore, I paid for my crimes, so I am a thief no more. Murder and rape cling to you for life. 
So my brother is a rapist, because 17 years ago he raped me. now what? I don't like him any more or less because of it. I resent him for what he did, but I can't hate him at the same time. I love the brother, not the rapist. He has a dual identity of which one belongs to the past.. does it? He does not rape anymore, we don't speak of it but he has shown remorse. Still I was raped, he did it and for me it is still there in every day life, for instance while getting groceries. Although the weight of the matter lessened somewhat, it will probably never go away. Even so I don't want him to suffer for it. I want him to have remorse and learn from it and better his life and I really think he did and does, so shouldn't he be rapist-off than? Can he even be rapist-off, in the same sense that I probably can never be rape-victim-off? Actually I came to notice I would like for him the same as what I would like for myself: not to forget, not to be bothered with the question whether to forgive, but just to learn, to grow and to move on.
Even where we stand now, I feel close and distant to him at the same time: being around him too long is like being torn apart, but the same goes for living with this evil secret towards the rest of the family. Being close to family tears me apart within and from them as well. And no, I can't speak up about it. If the rapist is gone, I won't hurt the remorseful brother I love. I will protect him. That is why I will not call him a rapist I guess. With my father in pain and dying slowly from cancer, my parents suffer enough. They already worry about me overmuch. Damn those mother instincts; she just feels that I am not candid. I will not pull my sister in the same rupture I go through either. She was never part of this and never will be. For now the only sound thing I can say is that past, present or future, in-family rape is an evil, evil thing.
Comments, insights, opinions, discussions and the like are very much appreciated. 

I hear you... And I have similar strange feelings about my brother (who abused but did not rape me - although I wonder if he could/would have if I did not stop him when I did and if he had not let me stop him).

My thought about him (ie my brother - but I offer this in case it gives you any further insight about your situation) is that he is sorry and, I believe, not abusing nor has since. But he has not travelled the journey to see how he came to do it. Instead he has separated himself from the abusing 13yo, sort of abandoned the boy-who-was-him with the burden.

And that's why I think I feel stuck as regards him. He would need to understand more in order to be healed, and therefore also for us to be honestly reconciled.

I think of the film 'The Shawshank Redemption' and the character played by Morgan Freeman, who is in prison for killing someone. He goes in front of a parole board periodically and says how fully rehabilitated he is and keeps getting turned down. Finally he delivers a speech that makes me cry every time (I'll link it) and gets granted parole.

I understand the confusion, the duality that is going on here. It is hard to sync the two perspective's isn't it. I have had a very similar issue. How do I reconcile what happened and my perspective of it at the time, with the adult knowledge and perspective that I now have, now after over 20years I have opened the can of worms and allowed them out.


Part of my reconciliation stemmed from my T and I talking. And me realising that because of what happened to me, I was the women that my husband fell in love with. I had an inner strength and control that attracted him because that's what my upbringing and trauma gave me. And this means I have two wonderful children, a good job (finally) and an amazing husband. And I am learning to be happy again. I no longer want to kill myself any more. My SH-ing is now coming under control.

Would I have this life now if my childhood had een different? No. I would be a very different person. And although I grieve the loss of my innocence, I rejoice in the strength and drive it gave me. Because I have taken the bad and used it for good.


Sorry - this is a bit of a ramble. I hope it helps in someway. What you put totally resonates with me. The thought ladder at the beginning so perfectly echoed my own when I had the crashing realisation of what they meant. It was horrific. I remember phoning my T and crying and shaking and being sick and it was just awful. And then I had to 'deal and heal'.


You are showing such courage sharing as you have done. And I thank you for it. As ever, reading something that I can relate to really helps me normalise my own thoughts and experiences.





Mar 06 2014 01:13 PM
that's a difficult place to be in. I have the same issue with my brother but I'm not away from him yet. he thinks nothing of it and puts the blame on me (tf) and I swallow down my feelings and pretend to love him though I hate him. I still care about the idiot (if I didn't I couldn't hate). it's super hard...



I Know the film, I have it on the shelve. I actually never regarded the speech he delivers in this way. Thanks for pointing this out, I watched it and it sent shivers down my spine. At the core it is very resembling of some of the emotions I feel or felt, especially the self-blaming ones. It naturally also speaks of perps remorse (of murder), unshrouded by tears or fine words. It cuts to the core, The only thing I dislike is the cockiness he portrays, but maybe that is what it takes to be so bold about ones remorse. 


I once wrote a poem once about self-blame and remorse. Maybe I will put it up here, but since it is in my native language, I will first need to translate it.  



Thanks for the warm words. I don't have a T at the moment. For me Pandys suits the purpose of expressing myself and finding structure and reconciliation with myself and what has happened. I know I am strong in this sense, but that is also my biggest weakness. I have a hard time being weak. I have never really cried about any of this and have a hard time letting things out emotionally. Responses like yours tap into my emotional well and bring some relieve.



Thanks. What you write makes sense to me. I am with you in my heart. It makes me think of the one time I was suffering a lot because of what happened while his birthday came and went and I just wasn't able to call him and wish him a happy birthday. I actually felt bad about it, which made furious: I was sitting there with the phone in my hand, struggling to get over myself, while he was probably having a party or feasting, or whatever, oblivious of what I was going through. So I threw away the phone and wrote a poem about it. I think it was in English, if I find it I might post it.

The poem about my feasting oblivious brother.


*Trigger warning* for the use of graphic metaphors.



Chicken for birthday


“Happy birthday
dear big brother”
I couldn’t
bring myself to say


for my emotions
all but smother
the living lies
words would portray


You shaped this grief
I can not mention
for its pain stays
silent, as it bears no name


and the hope I mustered
for my redemption
went lost in endless
spirals of shame


But all the same
I do not hate
my love for you
tweaks my despair


Your cruel caress
entwined my fate
I need you
not to be aware


So have your feast
strip drumsticks bare
gnaw the carcass clean;
in your ignorance be free


and when you are done
place with proper care
the spread out legs together
like you did with me

July 2016

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