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"You're Lying" - Terrible Secondary Wound

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 02:13 PM

(((((Lou))))) you call it honesty (as do I), but others call it being a bitch.  Go figure.

One question I failed to answer was how do I deal with it all....  :::thinking:::  I write.  My main characters endure the pain I can't deal with.  Most of the time I keep it inside, which I know isn't the best.  But I do tell my current best friend when things are bad.  And now I have Pandy's :)


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Posted 29 January 2002 - 03:44 PM

and everyone else ((((((hugs))))))

I almost started crying as I read these posts and I never cry.  This is a really hard one for me.  I was abused sexually, spiritually and verbally by my therapist for 4 years in college, and after the word got out on campus, he managed to convince everyone (as far as I know) that I was delusional and had made the whole thing up.  I didn't talk to everybody, but from what I heard, I was considered to be some psychotic, attention-starved college kid who was trying to bring down this wonderful man on campus who had been director of the counseling services for 20 years.

It's been 7 years since that whole scandal, and it still hurts like it happened yesterday.  The hardest part was that the faculty members and other people who I trusted and thought knew me apparently thought I was either delusional or a liar.  It's about the most painful experience I've ever lived through, and that's considering I've had a whole childhood full of abuse.

I also have wounds from my parents who act like nothing all that bad happened to me when I was growing up, even though my brother viciously abused me physically and verbally for most of my childhood, and I was sexually abused and raped by a next-door neighbor who babysat me.  They know about all this stuff, but act like it's nothing, which hurts more than I can say.

It helps a little that my counselor believes me and feels for me and cries over this for me (since I can't seem to cry).  But still, there are all these huge gaping wounds in me from the way nearly everybody I've ever known as reacted to the abuse I've gone through.

I wish I had some advice, but I'm in a bad place at that moment.

Thanks so much for this thread Lou.  It helps to know I'm not alone with this.

Love to you all,

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 04:59 AM

great thread (((lou)))

"Your making that up to make yourself feel better"
"You've got to put these things out of your head"
"You said nothing that's just as bad" (as saying yes)
"Did you think about calling the police" (IT was the way in which this was said - as if to say if I was telling the truth I would have called the police)
"Rape is a strong word - he pressurised you into having sex"
"You have to take responsability for the things you initiated"
"You gave yourself to him"
a therapist would only ever call it "unexpected sex"
"you have to let it go"
a therapists report - "She refuses to take responsability for having sex so instead has decided that it is not her fault"
"that never happened"
" I would have liked to have seen a bit more struggle"
"Either he raped you or he didn't"
"I always worry about the boys being faulsly accused of that" (my mum's first response)
"It doesn't matter - it is up to you to forget about it"

There are loads more but you get the idea - they hurt so much - secondary wounding is a good term for it - sometimes I feel that the reaction I got from ppl hurts just as much as what happened.  Thanks for startingthis thread it feels good to write those  things down.


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Posted 31 January 2002 - 04:06 PM


Thanks for your post.. your courage can't help but be contagious, and has provided a much needed pick-me-up for me.


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Posted 26 January 2003 - 02:59 AM

I've had some of those.

People who found out that I didn't want to (this includes some people who came into survivor chats a long time ago):
You're a f*ck*ng wh*r* you deserved it. -"no one deserves to be r*ped no matter who they are or what they've done, no one deserves that."
You wanted it you sl*t. -who wants to be r*ped, really?
Well you wanna have sex with me then? -um, no.
Why didn't you do anything about it then? -i did, that's what saying no is, dumb*ss.

You should have kept your legs crossed. -if it was the simple, I wouldn't have been r*ped, thanks mom.
Maybe you shouldn't have been drinking. -"drinking dose not imply concent", really thanks mom, you're real sweet... you should understand of all people....

You must be really sexy if guys would do that to you. -erm... that really makes me feel special, honest....

(yeah, I wanted to reply to them like everybody else... that way I can say what I didn't get to say to their faces.... d*mn me)

I'm sure I don't have as many as most people... but that's because I try not to tell people... and the ones I tell, I mostly get positive responces (ie: telling pandy people).


#6 Cira

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Posted 30 March 2003 - 03:21 PM

I can't believe I didn't post this before, but since the CSA has been on my mind a lot, what the #### - I will now.

I remember that after it was reported, my abuser's sister (my mom's "friend" ) called all of us kids liars - especially me, since I'm the one that eventually told my mom.  The bitch said I made it all up.  Yep, 6-year-olds generally DO make up stories about being fondled.  For fuck's sake, I was SIX.  It's not like I knew anything about that stuff before a certain piece of human garbage decided I needed to know.

(Here's a silent fuck you to her)


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Posted 04 August 2003 - 02:27 AM

Oh my...people are so RIDICULOUS....GRRR!!! My family (especially my mother) does't really believe me. I waited nearly 4 years to tell anyone because I was trying to forget about it. I thought I was just being a stupid girl and that I had wanted it deep down, but regretted it later (I had a crush on him, and he was one of my good friends and a friend of the family's. I willingly undressed and even started "hooking up" with him and then it stopped being fun). I got physically ill when one of my best friends told me she was raped at a party, and I started crying uncontrollably for her (and for me) because I knew EXACTLY how she felt. I finally told someone. My family found out because they couldn't believe that I was so depressed and eating disordered among other things. My mother sat me down and said "I may be telling you something you don't want to hear, but you need to hear this from someone who loves you. You were not raped. You just regret what happened because you had sex with ---- when you were 15. He would not do something like that to you. I think you were just upset because he always like [my best friend at the time] more than he ever liked you. You just feel used and you regret what happened, but you weren't raped."

It was so sickening! I felt like throwing up because she was trying to be so loving about it. Like she was setting me straight so I wouldn't go around claiming I was raped. Oh she also had the nerve to tell ALL of her friends and to tell me that they didn't believe me either.  Another time, she took me to see some QUACK of a family shrink. SHe found it her business to say to him, "And she CLAIMS she was raped." First of all, I was not comfortable sharing with this QUACK of a shrink, and secondly it is not her place to share MY stuff with someone.She still doesn't believe me and I hve learned to not talk about it with her. I can't waste my energy on people like her who cannot support me for whatever reasons in their own heads. Luckily, I do have friends that believe me. Date/acquaintance rape are very real forms of rape as we all know. It hurts so deeply that my own mother who is supposed to be my everlasting support does not believe me and probably never will. She is probably the only person that I really wish would believe me and hold me and just cry for me and the innocence that was stolen from me. But she probably never will believe me. And I just have to keep surrounding myself by people who do believe me. It's all I can do to stay sane.

(Edited by Tami at 1:30 am on Aug. 4, 2003)

#8 Louise

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 12:49 PM

Hello my friends.

I'm starting this thread because I hope that it might be helpful to people in future.

It has been spurred in part because of what another member has had to deal with, and because of my own memories of what being accused of lying about the most painful events in my life felt like. As I have thought about what that was like, I have asked myself so, Lou, how would you deal with it now?

And I still don't really know. I mean, I coud deal with it given time and calm. But immediately, it feels like a bucket of shit dumped over your head, only that would be less degrading. It still seems to be such a painful area.
I am very strong around what happened to me. I know the truth of.
But  a few months ago, a woman picked my story apart on her website and critiqued it piece by piece. I wondered if I would ever stop crying. Some of you mailed me to ask where the #### I was. I was trying to stitch my innards back into my guts. It was so hurtful that I came closer than I have come in years to SI'ing.
I told you guys, and I remember how restorative your support was..

Aphrodite Matsakis, author of "I Can't get over it: A Handbook for Trauma Survivors" calls disbelief and invalidation a "secondary wound". It is that in a very real sense and can delay healing dor some time.

Why is it so painful? Why is it so horribly hard to defend against? Can we talk about strategies for dealing with it?

I will share with you some of the things I heard after I was raped:

"If it had been true, you would have reported it".

"You whore. You really wanted it"

"It wasn't true because he was your partner"

"You must be lying because you went back to him".

"You're crying rape to pull the wool over people's eyes to cover up for your own immorality".

"You stupid slut. Haven't you heard the saying Confucious say no such thing as rape. Woman run faster with skirt up than man with trousers down".

"You're just saying you were raped so you can evade responsibility for pregnancy".

"Doubting that it was rape is a sure sign that it wasn't, despite your feelings".

"You say he raped you several times? Oh come on. Why didn't you do anything about it?".

"You want to spare a thought for these poor girls who were really raped and stop your whining".

"You want to watch your mouth. You go around saying things like that and some poor bloke will end up in trouble".

For childhood:

"Oh come on. How could somebody rape a child and nobody know?"

"Haven't you heard of that new false memory syndrome? Is it that, do you think?"

"That's an awful story to tell. Are you after attention?"

Some of the more ridiculous ones were:

"You go on about this rape shit because you just hate men".

"You are wishful thinking".

"Radical Feminist Dyke Bitch!"

Yadda Yadda Yadda...Or I didn't hear anything. Just an embarrassed silence, which implied to me that the person didn't believe me.

Or Worst of all, some person publicly dissects your story piece by piece with bullshit. Which it might be, but it still hurts.

If I had time to gather myself, I could easily repond to each of these things. I'm good at sticking up for myself, but only after I've calmed down, which can take awhile. At the time, they hurt so badly. They still can, though I tend to bounce back much faster.

I would like to think that I could be strong enough to say, "ok, you believe what you want to believe. I know the truth and I don't have to be bothered by your ignorance or deliberate cruelty".

I know that it used to make me have flashbacks to him on top of me, and I would feel the worst shame. I used to go bright red and just crawl away and find a corner to cry in.

I felt as if defending myself against such statements meant that I thought I was worth something. That if I made too much out of what he did to me, I was trying to be better than I was. Does anybody know what I mean? I didn't respond at all; it would have been to shameful to say, "but it did happen. I was raped".

I don't think I'm worthless now. But I still find accusations of lying very disarming. It hurts very badly.

My strategies now would be:

To get iummediate support when it happens.

Realize it's not about you, but somebody else's ignorance and/or cruelty.

Read material which validates you. How glad I was to find David Finklehor and Kersti Yllo's study on rape by partners. Not only did it plainly say that rape by a sexual intimate was "real" rape, it also explored the ways in which women vicimized in this way are especially damaged. I just kept thinking "yep, that's me".

Ask yourself if the person accusing you of lying is actually worth responding to or not? You do not deserve further humiliation, and defending yourself and what happened to you to some assholes can just result in more of that. There are some people who will not understand, and some who deliberately choose not to understand. It doesn't matter how you put it to them. You are better off telling them to fuck the #### off, and that you will not tolerate their insults on you.

My friends, it's something many of us have been burned by. Would you like to share what you've experienced and how you dealt with it, if you did? If you weren't able to, how do you think you would now?

I want to hear from you. And I hope others might be assisted by what we say. It's so deeply hurtful...and as I say that, I bear in mind that I could be generalizing. There may be some of you who can say "I don't give a shit if I'm believed or not. I know the truth". What makes you able to be like that? Can you advise sisters hurt in this way?

If you haven't experienced this secondary wound, how do you think you might deal with it if you `did?

If you want to share, I really want to know.


Lou xxxxx

(Edited by Louise at 1:58 pm on Jan. 29, 2002)

#9 Elle

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 02:15 PM

Those of you who told are braver than I.

I never told my family. I still haven't and do not plan to. Ever. Rape, abuse, weakness, and even therapy are things that happen to other people. Not us. And if it happens to us, we don't talk about it. We're stronger than that. I love my parents but I don't know how they could understand. The thought of hashing it out with them hurts too much. Better not to.

Of my friends, I only told one female friend about 10 years later. Her response was OK. She believed me without question but when I told her I hadn't told before because I felt alienated and afraid, she told me that was my own fault. That she would have supported me had I told her. That being alone was an illusion of my own creation. Those words hurt but may well be true. I don't know, though, if given her own personal problems how she could have supported me. We were very young. I'll never know.

I did tell some men I dated -- only because it was evident I had "issues" around sex and intimacy. Being terrified for example. You all know the drill. Nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks etc etc ad nauseum.

Louise, I think the list of comments you heard pretty much sums up my fears, why I never told. Especially the blame issue. I suffered so much guilt because I didn't do more to save myself the night of my ordeal. I was afraid of someone voicing that for me. Nobody has, maybe because I never gave anyone the opportunity. I can't imagine surviving that on top of my own feelings. You are a brave woman -- or should I say women, all of you who told.


#10 Louise

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Posted 29 January 2002 - 03:40 PM

(((((Sunshine)))))) you are so strong, sweetheart; I wish I could hammer out the anwers I would lke to give.

Let him take advantage of you? Gaaahhhd! And if only our accusers could know how much we go over in our own minds, "if only I had not down this, that the other". But what it comes down to is that the perpetrator raped.

*Sigh* The Jews were also asked why they did not do more to avert their fate. They are also accused by weirdos and fringe loonies of lyoing. One could only imagine how that must feel.

One thing I've found helpful for countering it can be having a sense of humour once the pain has worn off a little. I mean really, some of the things we hear are truly ridiculous.


Lou xxxxx

PS. (((((Elle)))))....hearing these things hurts....but it is possible to grow stronger through them, hon. However, I think you've been wise to exercise some caution artound those you fear will give you such responses.

#11 els

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Posted 31 January 2002 - 05:05 AM

I think one of the most hurtful things was when my therapist said "did you cut yourself" ... while it was his knife that had  put those cuts on my face and hands...


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Posted 31 January 2002 - 02:23 PM

My head is full of things I'd have to say on this topic, but I'll need to sort my thoughts a little before I can post them...anyway there's something I have to share right now.

please be careful, I don't know where my rant will lead me

I had decided never to tell my parents about my rape, not because I was afraid they would not believe me, but because I felt it was the best...for me and for them...
But in November (more than 4 years after it happened) I was going through the most difficult time in my healing and I could not not hide my depression and sleeping probs anymore.
My parents were aware that something was wrong with me, and after hours of questioning I finally told my Ma...

I was prepared that she would  be shocked and hurt, I knew that I would be ashamed...I did not expect nor want any support...but I had NEVER imagined that she would not believe me...

I only asked her what kind of person she thinks I am for inventing something like that, and that was the last word ever spoken on that subject.

I had to spend the rest of the weekend there, and it was awful...when I finally got home I spent the whole evening crying in chat rooms and with my best friend who came over...it just hurt so much...

But I got over that pain very soon, and I dare say that this experience, as painful as it was at the beginning, was a good one for me.

I always felt I owed my parents an excuse or at least an explanation for all the pain I had caused them in the aftermath...now I have done all I could...more than I ever wanted...and if they refuse to understand, well, then it's their problem and not mine.

And a very positive side effect of all this is that I do not care anymore about what others will think when they know about my rape. I know what happened, I know how it feels to live with this crap...and I am not ashamed anymore of being a survivor! I even feel proud for having come so far...and I finaly dared *jumps up and down* submitting my real name for The Wall on Lis' site Escaping Hades :o)

My best friend who was the only one who knew my "secret" recently told me that he had talked about it with others because he could not deal with this alone and it really felt okay.

I am no longer a prisoner of shame and silence...I am free...and I do not care how much hurt was needed for this liberation...I guess every step forwards involves pain.
And for me my parent's reaction has brought me a lot further in healing.

I know that this may be much different for others, and I know that at another time I would perhaps have felt different about it, too.
I remember how important validation was for me, how much I have been disappointed when I tried to explain to some ex-boyfriends why I had difficulties, I was horribly afraid how my best friend would react when I told him this summer and at this time it was really important that he reacted in the way I needed...
It is so easy to be wounded by a wrong word in the wrong place...

I think the final turn in my feelings came when I talked to someone in a chat room (he's a rape survivor and a father of 2 kids, and he's been like a father to me in some really difficult situations) who, when i described my father's reaction, said "he deserves not to be called a man...and much less a father"
Of course that is quite hard, and I do not agree with this statement, but this released my anger...btw a short time after that I was finally able to feel anger and hatred for my abusers, too...as if one of the many closed doors around me were finally opened...

I have grown since that day where I felt like a little girl in tears, ashamed, hurt and disappointed, who had been called a liar when taking the difficult step of admitting she had been raped.

I have realized that it's me and my feelings who matter, and nobody who does not understand me will stand in my way to healing...it's my life, and I have proved many times in all these years that I can take my life in my own hands and go on...alone if I must.
And it really feels good to see that now :o)

#13 Louise

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Posted 16 January 2003 - 02:39 PM


I'm appalled that somebody you trusted minimized it - sexual violence, as you know, is not 'only' anything - it's a life-changing thing.

(((((Fran)))))) It's a sad mistake that people assume that because somebody's pain isn't worn on her sleeve, she can't be too badly off. Perhaps thinking that way actually serves the people who think it!

T for explosive potty mouth venting

((((((Lisa))))) - How outraged and how sorry I am you were responded to the way you were, and how utterly well I identify.

As if having had a relationship with somebody somehow gives them the right to keep coming back for more whenever they've a mind to - for FUCK'S sweet sake. I also understand the shutting down that comes with repeated ridicule - it hardly seems worth it, does it, and I know I felt so isolated and lonely.

Sigh...((((((Lisa)))))), what was said to you, me and other women is what drives me to fanatical heights around addressing rape by past or present partners. Real rape in back alleys my fucking foot - it happens at the hands of vengeful prick exes who can't accept goodbye. And somehow, because we have had their penises inside us consensually, we are prevented right of complaint if that is forced - can't be 'that bad' can it?

I well recall being told, like you, that I'd put up with his crap before, so was it any wonder he thought he could do what he did when I ended it? HELLO?? I, and you, we got out sister because we didn't WANT anymore crap.

How dare anyone assume that having been his partner meant that you lost the right to your freedom and to your body, and to say that your rape hurt?

The statement that 'if it had really happened that way you'd have reported it is the silliest fucking drivel I've ever heard.

Do you find that it helps now when people do accept it without needing to file it under the 'but he was your partner so it wasn't real' category? The company of people who believe me and do not belittle has certainly helped me heal that secondary wound, Lise.

I agree that it becomes too draining to  keep defending yourself, but guess what? You, Lisa do not have one fucking thing to justify to anybody. How I remember, and how I hated that mawkish, shameful sense that extra justification for my pain needed to be provided.

I'm sorry if this was a bit ranty or 'me-ish' since I realise it was about you - it makes my blood boil you were treated that way.

I don't know if you've had a look at my page on partner rape and secondary wounding, but here's the link for your possible interest: http://pages.ivillage.com/boadice....p>We'll get there, hon. We'll make them wake up.

((((((Hugs))))) for your pain, sister. It really hurts when those you look to for support won't listen, won't hear you, won't acknowledge the danger you were in, but keep imposing their own ignorance.


Lou xxxxx

#14 NotYetHealed

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Posted 01 April 2003 - 09:28 AM


I'm so sorry love, for you and your little six-year-old. You know this is the shit that really just sickens me to the literal point of nausea.  Can I echo that silent fuck you to this ignorant piece of shit?  It's really necessary and long overdue. 

I love you, sweetie

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 11:24 PM

Oh this world is so full of evil people it sickens me. I have told absolutely no one, (except my boyfriend found me afterwards so he knows) but I may have to tell some people before long, I could not bear such accusations from them, it would be dreadful. I am quite sorry everyone that such things were said to you.

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