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#31 Rachel26

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Posted 25 April 2003 - 10:34 AM

You guys are so great, I can't believe what I've just been reading. It took me a really long time to be able to say it and in the end I was driven by sheer desperation - my boyfriend just wanted to have sex all the time and I couldn't handle it so I had to tell him. I really thought I was going to vomit, though. I feel that way now, actually, I always do when I think about it.
All that stuff about being a non-person, it's so true. No autonomy, just a mute body with nothing going on. I wonder sometimes how I would feel if it happened again, if it would be as much of a shock. I don't think so because I have a totally different perception of my body now, it doesn't feel like it's mine any more, so anyone could do whatever thay wanted to it at any time.

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Posted 29 August 2001 - 10:29 AM

I have just been reminded of something I read in a book - unfortuantly I can not remember where it was but ifI find it again I will let you know - I suspect it was in I can't get over it - a book about PTSD by Aphrodite Matsakins.  I hope I can explain this properly.

Traumatic memory is stored in teh brain differently from normal memory - it is stoerd as sensations - sounds, smells, touches etc.   When it is being stored the speech part of the brain is immobolised. This is why people get triggered by sights, smells etc and also why it is hard to talk about - because in recalling the memories you are recalling them from this speech immobolised state.  This is why talking about what happened is so important - it helps to move the memory over to a more normal memory where it is less easliy triggered.

Ok not brilliantly explained but I will hunt for the passage and type it out when I find it.
Take care - Kiera



#33 els

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Posted 30 August 2001 - 04:51 AM

:) what a burden Rachel, not even you would like some thought, you would like them to be brilliant as well... I don't think mine will be, but it will lower the threshold for others ;)

The word rape... in English I can just about manage. Writing it and saying it. In Dutch, my own language... it asks a lot more from me. The Dutch word is 'verkrachting' (there you go, it only took me about 10 minutes to type 12 letters). It has the word 'kracht' in it, which means power. The word has power...

Now why does the word have so much power over it's victims...?
Growing up, learning the ways of the world, you also learn that rape is a terrible thing that happens to people sometimes (a lot more then anyone will ever know actually). It's a terrible thing and the victims are people you have to pity. When people talk about it in general you hear ' I don't think I could manage' things like that...
I think that's one reason that can make it very difficult to use the word. When you do, there is no turning back. People know. And you become one of those weak pityfull people. Suddenly you aren't Els or Susan or Jack anymore, you are the person that was raped. And looks change...
And those aren't pleasant looks. Not the looks you need. Not the looks you want. Those looks can make you feel ashamed...

Using the word makes it real, makes it impossible to hide. Not only from others, from yourself also.
I haven't decribed alot of the things that happened to me. By using the words, I make it more diffult to hide from myself, I make it more difficult to act as if I'm ok. But it can feel so much safer to hide...


- thinking - (about 20 minutes)

ok, I'm going to try and write this down, but the thought isn't clear in my head so I doubt it will be clear to anyone who reads it.

When a woman is raped, the rapist denies the fact that she is a person. A non-person looses everything, just doesn't exist anymore, and so also looses the possibility to speak. Saying 'I was raped' might sound to the victim as 'I am not a person'.

Words are powerfull, but words are also poor. There are no words to express what lives inside a person that was raped. Trying to find words, is always do wrong to the experience, to the feelings, the hurt. There just are no words.
When you say 'I was raped' you seem to say so much, but at the same time, it doesn't express a thing...

Some thoughts, just thoughts.
I can be totally wrong.

safe hug
Els


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Posted 30 August 2001 - 10:28 AM

Rachel,

Ok, hun. Have another bottle of Chardonnay, sit back, because you have stirred the smoldering fire that has been burning inside me for so long.  I want to apologize if this is a rant or if it doesn’t make sense.

It wasn’t until I started coming to this wonderful site, reading your eloquent and insightful posts and talking to my fellow sister/brother survivors that I have been able to actually put a name to what happened to me.

YES, I WAS SEXUALLY ABUSED AS A CHILD.  YES, I WAS GANG RAPED. NOT ONCE, BUT RAPED 4 TIMES BY 4 DIFFERENT GUYS.

No matter how I try to sugar coat it that is what happened to me.  

I have talked about how society blames the victim of a rape or sexual assault/abuse. Even in a court of law, the accused is presumed innocent until proven beyond a reasonable doubt otherwise.  Why can’t society hold the same standards for victims of rape. Until this can be changed, we as survivors are stuck with the stigma of just that….. Blame and Shame.

To give you an example…..

About 8 or 9 years ago, a year after starting therapy, a co-worker and I were talking.  Well during our conversation the subject of rape came up.  This woman went on to say that she would never have put herself in a situation to be raped.  That she would never dress inappropriately, drink to an extent that she would allow such a thing to happen to her.  It had to have been something the woman did to get raped.  Like it was the woman’s fault for being raped. My God, I wanted to reach over and slap the shit out of her.  I was so angry at what she said that I told her that I had been “assaulted” (couldn’t use rape back then).  She just stared at me in disbelief.  She even went so far as to say “I don’t believe it”.  

Back in November of 1975, when I was raped, no one ever talked about it.  “It” was never to be talked about, much less thought about.  Nice girls didn’t have things like that done to them.  Or if they did no one ever knew about it, because it was hushed.   So, as a 15 year old girl, who had just been gang raped, I shut down, never told a soul.  

#### it wasn’t until (I may have the dates wrong here..sorry) the late 70’s or early 80’s that there actually was a Movie of the Week on TV about rape.  It stared Elizabeth Montgomery and portrayed her as a woman who was beaten and raped in her apartment by a single perpetrator.  I don’t know if anyone remembers this movie or the name of it even, but it was the first time that the issue of rape had been addressed so publicly.  It was very controversial at that time and I remember sitting there watching the movie, my stomach in knots, shaking and thinking my God, that is what happened to me.   But still I said nothing.  

Now, I am learning that I can use the word rape when speaking of what happened to me.  That yes, rape is a word that conjures up all sorts of ideas and if you speak to the wrong person, yeah even shame or blame. Yes words have power, but I have started to take back the power that was stripped away from me all those years ago by those sick fucks.  Only I have that power now.   And by God, no one is going to take it away from me ever again.
As I said in my story, God forbid I should ever be raped again, for I will not be silent.

Ok, I have ranted enough for one day.  I don’t know if this is what you were expecting Rachel or not, like I said, you stirred a fire deep inside.  Thanks for posting this. And again I apologize if I didn’t make much sense or rambled..

Dana
(dootles)


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Posted 30 August 2001 - 01:30 PM

Rape. I can say it.  I can write it.  I spent the afternoon in Washington D.C. a couple of weeks ago telling complete stangers about the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network.  I was getting three very ugly words out effortlessly in one breath.

But then...

When I respond the the pregnancy thread, my first sentence read...I became pregnant after being asulted by the man I was dating...  Well I became pregnant, I contracted a virus that is primarily spread through sexual contact...we all know what kind of assult happened, but I spilled out the word assult instead.  

When I first posted my story here and in some earlier post I could use it...then something changed.  I'm not sure what it was but I just wasn't as strong anymore.  I stoped using that word.  I think part of the problem is that it can describe such a range of horror, but then you get the whole legal defenition in there to.  I don't know which is correct is a child simply always molested, or are they raped.  Notice I didn't say me...pretty sly but or some reason it works.  I can't admit to either right now...I can say I was hurt, I can even use the word abused...I was abused as a child.  Very weird...why do those other words have more power?  I think part of it is the way they make you feel...powerless, ashamed, dirty...and no wonder say them out loud while watching another persons expresion.  Watch them look away, shift uncomfortably, clear thier throat, and squirm...now I can't even begining to imagine putting an I was in front of one of those words and seeing how people react.

I really admire you strong woman that are able to claim back the power of these words.

((HUGS))
Shannon


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Posted 01 September 2001 - 07:17 AM

Hi guys

This is probably going to be a bit of a ramble, I'm not sure if it's entirely on-topic either...

I was thinking about what you said Rach, about victims and how eager society is for them to be complicit in their own misfortune. It seems to me that although our society is happy to be titillated in an 'Oh no, isn't it awful' fashion by serious and violent crimes and occurrences, we are collectively unwilling to confront and face human misery.

Lovely Josey asked me a question the other day which started me thinking: do I know many people older than myself? The answer is 'no, not really'. I did know a lot of older and younger people through attending church, but now, not really. I met most of my friends at university, and they're all approximately the same age, with the same opinions and aspirations as me. Somehow I've ended up in a society where my family ties (although very important to me) are subsumed on a day-to-day basis by my relationship with my friends. So where do I find wisdom, who do I seek knowledge from? Books and newspapers primarily. And I seek knoweldge and wisdom out rigorously. This isn't a perfect solution though, and I am aware of its limitations. I was speaking to a very close friend the other day - who is planning to go and get tested for HIV. It's unlikely that he will test positive for the virus, but his decision made me think. I have led a very privileged life in that I have had almost minimal contact with death and disease. I have lost no close friends, the only bereavements in my life have been the deaths of elderly family members.

Our society removes old people from the general community, preferring to place them in retirement or nursing homes. Disease and poverty are isolated into particular geographic areas in the western world. The isolationism and selfishness  endemic in our cultures make if possible to go through life surrounded only by people 'like us', blunt us to the needs of the poor and ill within our midst. Protected by our rights to free speech, to legal representation, even to welfare, we will travel through life blissfully ignorant to the suffering of those who experience torture, disposession, 'ethnic cleansing', famine, and the pain of watching our children die for the want of clean water.

Many of us on this board are concerned for the needs of these others, but they still remain 'other'. Most in our communities are not concerned: they read the stories of grinding human misery in their wordy newspapers and they shake their heads, and plan to buy new clothes, new cars, gourmet dinners, theatre tickets. We have broken ties with our families to the extent that many of us will not nurse our own parents through their final illnesses, but will leave them to the tender mercies of hired strangers. How can we even begin to ameliorate the hunger and desperation of the rest of the world?

What has this to do with us, we survivors of rape and abuse? Many of us have been forced by these terrible events to evaluate our lives, our opinions, our relationship with our 'selves'. Our irony-saturated culture does not appreciate or endorse these efforts. The recent thread on rape on tv hinted at the gulf that exists between popular culture representation of 'our stories' and what actually happens to us. Rach cites a line from Top Gun, but we could all think of our own examples of a book, TV show, or film that has made light of our experiences. The population at large needs to make light of what we have been through, what we've survived, because our pain hits on something that most people try frantically to suppress with the trappings of success, wealth, popularity: what it is to be human. What is is to be a genuine, feeling, conscious liver of life. What is is to be a dutiful, sacrificing friend. What is to remember that much of the world is in pain, and that no amount of Manolo Blahnik shoes will silence that bitter anguish. That must of us wander precariously on the crust of life, never exploring the depths, because this is easier than being an earnest seeker of truth.

Love
CA

(Edited by crying angel at 3:24 pm on Sep. 1, 2001)


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Posted 01 September 2001 - 06:00 PM

Rachel,
It's okay if you can't say it (that other thing, you know).  I get the sense that not being able to say it really bothers you, as if not calling it a spade somehow gives him continued power over you.
It doesn't, sweetie.  You're protecting yourself from that trauma, that's all.  You talk freely about the assault; you aren't afraid and you aren't ashamed.  I haven't given every little detail of what happened to me either, you know?  There are things that they said and did to me that I will NEVER disclose to anyone.  Period.  Too painful, too embarrassing.  But I've accepted them.  They don't rule me.
I don't believe "that" rules you, either.  And I certainly don't think less of you for not saying those words!
I do believe that the reason so many people seem to blame rape on the victim is because if they admit that we had no complicity in the assaults, then it could happen to ANYONE.  It could happen to them, to someone they love.  Because they can't face that, they villify the victims; they make us part of the problem.  That way, they are safe, at least in their own minds.
Thanks, Rachel, for starting this thread, and for all the other wonderful, illuminating threads you've started.  We'll weave something beautiful yet, won't we?
love,
Shaina

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 10:46 AM

(((((Rachel)))))))

Well done hon - you are really brave

Kiera xx

(Edited by kiera at 12:05 pm on Sep. 3, 2001)


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Posted 03 September 2001 - 01:35 PM

Rachel,
I am prouder of you now than I have ever been -- and you are still the dignified woman I knew, worthy of so much respect.  You are so far above the things that happened to you, dear one.  So high above all that now.
love,
Shaina

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Posted 03 September 2001 - 03:19 PM

Rachel,

I have tears in my eyes.  I know that must have been really difficult for you and I hope that it has propelled you further along in your healing.  I know that I am impressed beyond words by your strength.

Rach, I am so honored to call you a friend, sister and ally.

Mistral


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Posted 07 September 2001 - 11:06 AM

((((((((((((((((((((((((((Rachel)))))))))))))))))))))
My dear, you are one of the most dignified people I have had the honor to meet.  I am so proud to be able to call you friend.

I am also very proud of your for your courage to post about your unfortunate experiences with being raped in this way.  I have never experienced this form of sex in any way, so I can’t say that I know how you feel.  I can however tell you with every fiber of being that you have nothing to be ashamed of hun.  

You are an amazing and beautiful person, and NOTHING will ever change that.

Take care of yourself my friend,

Dana


#42 els

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Posted 27 October 2001 - 01:40 PM

(((nell)))

I'm sorry the words got thrown in your face so hard it's even harder for you to deal with them now...
Just know that having those words in your life, doesn't make you a hard person.
Having those hard words in your life, you still are a gentle woman.

take gentle care of you...
((((safe hugs))))

Els


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Posted 27 October 2001 - 08:28 PM

(((((((((Nell)))))))))

I'm gald you got that out sweetie....and I have to say I'm fucking furious at Claude sitton and others who have re-abused you.

The only reason for you posting what you have in a thread of your own is to gain support for you...but until you do, I want you to know that I extend it fully

Love

Rachel xxxx


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Posted 28 October 2001 - 03:45 AM

((((NELL))))

Im sorry u were treated like that hun, tis hte oinly thing keeping me from court becuase society's view that to be raped you have to be bashed and hnave brusing and have to have a knife held to u is getting realoy pathetic
Bel


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Posted 16 February 2002 - 01:29 AM

This post is me.  I have never once said the word referring to myself.  To say the word would be the ultimate way of having to admit to myself that something horrible happened.  I am not ready to do that to myself.  I won't use that word around my friends either.  None of them in real life have been there and they seem to get really uncomfortable with even dancing around the subject.  I wish I was to say it, it would help get this poison out of me.  I dunno .. but those are my two cents


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