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How can i help a rape survivor?

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#1 Guest_DBR96_*

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 03:15 PM

I have been talking online with a particular girl for almost two and a half years. In that time, I've learned about her family life, her childhood, her social life, and so on. I've even learned about some of her "darkest" moments, moments that she hasn't shared with many people. We have a lot in common, both in terms of values and experience, and she's told me repeatedly that she enjoys talking with me. And I enjoy talking with her too.

About five months ago, I ultimately decided that I wanted to meet her in person someday. I don't live near her right now, but she lives in a part of the country where I was raised, and that I am familiar with. (I still have a couple friends there whom I keep in touch with as well.) She told me that she was interested in meeting me as well.

A couple weeks later, she sent me an out-of-the-blue e-mail revealing some of her feelings. Here's some of the text:

I sort of am writing this just to let you know a
few things that you may not have been aware of.  I
hope it's clear that I really enjoy talking with you.
You manage to make me smile and laugh a lot more than
most people have ever been able to do.  I love that
about you.  But I realize you're probably getting a
little frustrated with me.  You've called me coy a
number of times, and even though I might shrug it off,
that's exactly what I am.  I think, or actually I
know, that i'm not a very trusting person.  I have
really high walls that i've built up.  I feel pretty
bad for people who come into my life.  All they really
want to do is get close to me, but I can't seem to let
that happen.  I've had some really sucky people in my
life in the past who have really screwed me over, and
I seem to take that out on the people in my life who
have been nothing but wonderful to me.  I don't know
where i'm going with all of this, but I just wanted to
let you know that I like you.  Be patient with me.
I've been known to let good things go by, and I'm
trying really hard to turn that around.  

 You probably think i'm crazy now.  I think i'm crazy
too.  I just didn't want you to get any of the wrong
ideas.  I wanted to let you know where I stand in
terms of feelings and all that good stuff.  I hope
this didn't just confuse you more.

However, a couple months later, when I asked if I could talk on the phone with her, she told me she was scared to give me her phone number. She also said that even though she still wanted to meet me, she was scared to do that as well. She conceded that I gave her no reason to be scared, however, so I told her that she had nothing to be scared about. She then said that it's hard for her to face something that she's so scared of, and when she said that, I began to suspect that there was a specific traumatic event that happened to her in the past. When I asked her about it, she said she didn't want to talk about it, but after a couple minutes of silence, she opened up and told me that she was raped about a year and a half prior, and that she can't trust guys the same since it happened. She told me that it was a friend of the family who raped her, that she didn't end up pregnant or with any diseases, and that her parents told this person to never come around again, but stopped short of pressing charges. After she told me this, she began to feel ill and told me that she needed to go. She left very suddenly. Interestingly enough, since then she's told me that she feels safe talking with me.

Ever since then, I've been trying to help alleviate her fears. To my knowledge, she still wants to meet me, but she's just as scared to take any positive action as she was before. Also, whenever a subject comes up that she's afraid to/doesn't want to talk about, she becomes physically ill or tired. And in many conversations we've had, I've heard her repeatedly call herself "stupid" or "crazy." Among other things she's told me:

"I don't know what I want in life...at all."

"You confuse me, but in a good way. You make me look at myself, and that confuses me because I think I already have myself figured out."

"I tell myself I don't want to be in a relationship...but then the next minute all I want is someone to be with."

"I guess I'm just destined to drift in and out of short relationships for the rest of my life."

"Maybe I'm not meant to live a happy life."

"Sometimes I like to pretend that you don't care about me, because it makes it easier for me to pretend that I don't care about you."

She seems so emotionally numb, and without any kind of direction in her life, and it breaks my heart because I really care about her. She deserves better than this. She seems to enjoy her time with her friends, but when it comes to intimacy with another guy, she freezes. She's also told me that she wishes she could show me the kind of affection that I've shown her. But she can never bring herself to do so. In the meantime, I've tried not to become frustrated, and to not come on too strong, but I've probably failed miserably on both counts, and I just hope I haven't hurt her. I don't know what else to do, This has really weighed heavily on my mind, especially in the past few days. I don't want to hurt her, and I don't want to leave her, but I don't know how else to help her. What should I do? She's very special to me. If anyone can help, it'd be appreciated. :down:

#2 AnotherRaisinGirl

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 03:47 PM

you'll find a lot more help here if you'll post this in the 'relationships' forum.   :)   that's the only private forum that secondary survivors can post, or even view.


#3 Guest_DBR96_*

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 04:16 PM

It says the "secondary survivors" forum has been closed. :(

#4 daturaspring

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Posted 08 April 2004 - 06:50 PM

this is kind of difficult because everyone is different.  you just have to be patient, really.  you need to figure out what it is that shows her that you really do care, that she can trust you, and that you're willing to give her as much time as she needs to heal and open up to you.  unfortunately it's a waiting game.  from the sounds of it, you're already on the right track.


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