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for those who didn't call it rape

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#16 Guest_jaandoe_*

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 06:05 AM

Well I wasn't raped but I guess this kind of relates to me because although I was sexually abused as a teenager I wasn't able to recognise what was happening as sexual abuse. If I had I probably would have said something to someone - a teacher, parent, whatever. But I just kept it all locked in and lived with it. I even remember a teacher approach me and ask me and I clearly said "oh no, i've never been abused" and the thing is that that was at the age of 15, right in the middle of that abuse period. I was at that time being sexually abused and i couldn't see it - I really believed that I had never been abused. If only.....

#17 Kala

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 07:31 PM

Yea I think I would have changed a lot.  Actually that book is what helped me define my experiences years later.

If I had called it rape and gone public, (there were rape crisis lines in my town in 1981) then I might have been able to develop a greater sense of entitlement as a person to have wants and that I had the right to say no.  If I had heard that no one has the right to touch me unless I want them to and that I had the right to not want to be touched it would have made a huge difference.

My thinking about it was so far the other direction that this really caused a lot of problems later. I ran away from the conflict of wanting to say no and not feeling like I could by not having any physical relationships for the last 12+ years.  A lot of wasted time…
Hugs, Kala

#18 Rachel26

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 06:41 PM

I have a problem with calling it rape because 'rape' implies a violation of your right to have control of your body and I don't feel like I have that right, and I don't think anyone else really thinks I have that right either, because I'm not attractive so I should just be grateful for any attention I get. Funny, I never really thought about it in such explicit terms before, but that's how I feel.
Also (and this contradicts what I just wrote, I think) the other reason for not wanting to call it rape is not wanting to acknowledge that anyone could dislike you so much that they'd want to treat you like that.

#19 Guest__*

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 10:25 AM

good topic...

it took me exactly one year after i was raped to realize that what happened was not my choice. it was months after this realization that i was able to say the word "rape" in reference to myself. like some of you have said - i KNOW it was rape, i KNOW i didn't want it and they did it anyway, i KNOW in my head that i was violated and manipulated. but i still don't believe it. i still feel that i could have left, i could have chosen a different path than the one i took. it's still so difficult for me to believe that i did not have control over the situation at all. i haven't started real therapy yet either so maybe that will come with more self-work.
but to answer the question, i think if i had called it rape from the beginning, first of all, i would have a court case. if i had recognized it for what it was, i would have gone straight to the hospital, where they would've found GHB in my system. instead of telling my friend who picked me up that i had just had a crazy night of wild sex (which is what i believed for a year) maybe i would've told him to take me to the doctor. and i would've gotten help and support. (i think. i'm still not even sure if people would have believed me. i don't think my friend would have. sidenote: we're not friends anymore, over something unrelated.)

i agree that young people should be taught about rape and what it is, because there are so many misconceptions about that guys often think what they're doing is ok, and girls don't think they have much of a say about it. it's scary.

i'm just glad it only took one year instead of a lifetime to realize what happened, at least a little bit. still have a longgg way to go.


#20 Guest_Amy_*

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 03:53 PM

Interesting thread...
If I had called the abuse abuse...  If I had looked at it as what it was instead of trying to pretend there was nothing wrong with what they did...  I think that a lot of things would be different.  I might have seen myself as worth helping, instead of as someone who was overly sensitive or just plain batty.  I might have thought enough of myself to seek assistance immediately, instead of waiting almost sixteen years.  I might have gotten help for my fears and might have had a LIFE instead of hiding in my house for so long, afraid to go anywhere or be around anyone.  Afraid that men might want to touch me that way again, afraid that they'd hurt me that way again.  Because I didn't call it assault or abuse, I didn't fully understand that it was a crime and that I had recourse.
If I had called the assault rape or attempted rape (still can't remember how it turned out), I would have understood why I felt the way I felt, and I might have been more gentle and understanding with myself.  Others in my life might have offered support -- my sister certainly would have, and my father.
Not knowing what to call it, trying to deal with the sexual abuse and assault as just "things that happened, no big deal" or even as flattery, as my teacher at the time suggested they were meant to be, really screwed me up.  It's left me with over a decade of lost years on my hands, unresolved issues swimming round my head, and a nearly broken marriage.
If I'd known then what I know now...where was that type of education when I was growing up?  Why didn't anyone ever try to teach me, or any of my peers, what to do if we were assaulted and how to recognize inappropriate behavior?
I just don't get it.
Love to you,

#21 Stephanie

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 12:28 AM

(((Amy)))) Some ppl shouldn't be allowed to teach!!! I can't believe your teacher came out with that crap!  I think you make an excellent point when you say that you would have seen yourself as worth helping - I think that is also what prevented me from getting help.  Also understanding the way you felt - I can remember how crazy I thought I must be to be reacting in the way I was to something that was nothing.  And you raise the question that I am wondering about - where was/is the education?


#22 Guest__*

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 06:48 PM

Yeah, this is a good one.

For me, I started with "what the #### was that?" and quickly moved on to self-blame, with no thought whatsoever that 'what happened' might have been a crime.

Then, I realized that 'it' was a sexual assault...  I added the "...but it wasn't rape" postscript every time.  

Now, my brain at least knows that it WAS rape.  I'm still working on actually believing it, feeling it.

Everything--every last detail--would have been different if I had been able to call it rape from the beginning.  I always thought that rape had to happen in a dark alley, by a scary stranger with a knife.  (I intend no offense to those of you who endured such a terrifying reality!)  I simply had no idea that a FRIEND could be the perpetrator.

*trigger warning for words*

Likewise, I had no idea that the weapon of rape didn't necessarily have to be a penis.  If I'd known that "simply" his hands could have done the same damage, gosh... that would have changed everything.

Had I known that that dreaded word applied to me, I think...I hope...that it would've given me more impetus to seek help.  And, to release myself from blame.

The ghastly word 'rape' is still my break-point; my brain knows that it is the truth of my experience, and yet my heart simply will not quite believe it.


#23 Laney

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Posted 09 May 2003 - 01:22 PM

I have been mulling over this post since it was started.  I haven't re-read the responses, because for some reason I have a hard time keeping my thoughts straight.

I dated Eric for 5 years, a period of time marked by abuse and what I now can say was rape.  I didn't really call it 'rape' until 2 years ago, 9 years after the first time he raped me.  Maybe if I'd called it rape when it first happened, I'd have left him.  The rapes that have happened since I was an adult have been immediately validated, and have also been followed by a quicker 'healing.'  But who knows if this is because of validation or the fact that I'm not 13.

I also wonder if my not labeling it was because of my CSA and that it went unacknowledged.

To muddy the water even more in my head, I have this assault from last month.  I won't, I seemingly <i>can't</i> call it rape.  I am not sure how it will affect my healing long term.  I know I don't call it rape, because I can't compare it to what Eric did.  It doesn't <i>feel</i> the same inside all the time.  I don't have the fear of it happening again.  I do have the same vulnerability, and I feel raw and exposed.  But maybe that is caused by trauma of any assault, I don't think it is unique to rape.

I'm talking in circles!!

Thanks Steph for the thought provoking thread.

Laney xxoo

#24 Stephanie

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Posted 20 May 2003 - 03:22 PM

fisrly you definitly belong here! Getting away doesn't change the fact that someone assaulted you - I don't think personally there is a difference between rape, attmpted rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse.  They all do damage, they all hurt. The resposnes to them are the same.  

The taboo that ppl face is hard enough  - it must be twice as hard as a man in a man's word so to speak to try and find your voice and make sense of your expierience.  I think it is brilliant that you have found your way here and that you managed to tell a counselor too.    Also you have managed to pull something good out of it in the friendshiips you have developed which is brilliant.  For me it is really imporant to try and find good things that came out of it - no -  good things that I made out of the situation.

I had no support at the time - not for about 2 years infact - I think it would have made a big difference to my expierence for sure.


#25 Guest_ravenswing_*

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 06:35 AM

In one way, yes I think it can help but in another, I use it as a wall. For so many years I have been able to say "I was raped" but I am only just beginning to be able to deal with what that really meant for me. Its like saying the word was like some magical formula, I can't explain it really but if I could say it, it would go away and I didn't really have to deal. Hope that made sense :)

#26 kiwi

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Posted 04 May 2003 - 07:38 PM

IT definitly changed alot, at first i said i was just pushed to the ground and violated. ANd even that attack was bad enough, and mum and dad, and my T took it seriously.
But once i came out and said it was rape, it went to a whole new level in a way. I think its because its the ultimate, there isn't any "well atleast 'that' didn't happen".  BUT that doesn't mean that people who are just violated or attacked etc shouldn't hurt as bad as people who are raped. We all deal with stuff differently and its all relative.
I hope this helps, and please if anyone disagrees let me know.
Take care all

#27 Stephanie

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Posted 05 May 2003 - 05:03 PM

((((Deb))) I Wasn't abused as a child but I sure know about getting my head messed up.  I think it is the way these abusers work - manipulation and control.  I certainly didn't see a lot of what was going on until I was a few years down the line.  I am sorry that you don't feel your hubby will support you through therapy - mine doesn't like me going either.  Also I think there is this idea that sexual abuse or rape is not real if there is no physical violence which is a load of crap.  Rape or SA IS violence - you don't need anything else to make it real - but that is the way ppl see it.  Thank god for the internet that's what I say! - Steph

#28 Shell

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 07:56 AM

Well, I been wanting to respond to this thread but haven't had a chance and haven't really found the words. This has hit VERY close to home.

Trigger warning for real words and slight potty mouth.


When I was attacked in college, I tried to reach out for support. I got nothing but secondary woundings from being called a liar to just being told it was no big deal. I wasn't raped after all, it was just an attempted rape - no big deal. Forget about the fact that he not only tried to rape me vaginally but tried to force me to perform oral sex. I called it a "bad experience" and that was that. It took me 14 years to call it attempted rape!

If I had called it attempted rape, I may have gotten the help I needed THEN and would not be dealing with it all now.

I also didn't acknowledge my relationship with my ex 10 years ago as abusive. Well, that isn't completely true. I knew he was verbally abusive. THat's why I left him. What I didn't see and didn't know was that he was sexually abusive as well and he raped me. I am still having trouble with this. I don't know what I would have done differently had I labelled it then. ####, I am still having trouble calling it what it was now.

The bottome line is my experiences got their labels when I was ready for them to if that makes sense. Looking back at college, I can't really say for sure that the attempted rape label would have made a difference. I had no support. Bottom line. There was no penetration so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit. I knew him so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit again. I had no visible bruises so there was no "trauma" was what I was told. Bull shit once more.

Yeah, here I am at Pandys after 15 years. No trauma huh?

End of my ramble.

#29 Stephanie

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Posted 06 May 2003 - 01:16 PM

Thank you everyone for your resposnses.  I guess that it is different for everyone and I can u nderstand the need for people to be in a safe place before the call it rape.  Obviously the attitude of society as a whole also adds to the problem  I can only speak from my own experience when I say that I wish that I had had the knowledge to know that it was rape when it happened so I could have protected myself and got some help sooner.  I didn't really start to get better until I could begin to name it properly for what it was - other wise why get help? Help for what exactly?  And knowing that I was reacting normally to what happened to me was such an immense relief.  I never had any education on the subject at all - I didn't have the language to call it what it was and having that language was really important to my recovery.

STeph x

#30 Guest_Em_*

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Posted 07 May 2003 - 02:22 AM

#Moderation Mode

This thread is wonderful, and has therefore been moved to 'wonderful threads'. If you would like your post removed because it's now in a public forum, please let me know.

Emma x

Moved here

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