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"Arr-ay-pee-ee"...spell and say


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#61 millie1807

millie1807
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Posted 06 February 2011 - 01:18 PM

***T*** good deal of swearing, descriptive acts<p>Cancer.
Horrible word, isn’t it?  Conjures up imagery of hair loss, waxy, dark eyed faces, and grief. It certainly terrifies me. Cancer cancer cancer.  Rhymes with “you just shit your pants, sir”, as Stephen King put it so eloquently. Yes, it’s an awful one alright.<p>But it doesn’t make you want to have a bath, does it? No, there seems to be only one four-letter word that makes people want to run for the bottle of Dettol. And scrubbing brush.  It cannot be said sober, but with a little effort can be ground out if one is piss-drunk.
Rape. Rhymes with “Fuckin’ ugly ape”. Not quite the same effect as Stephen King gallows humour, I notice. My friends, fear of “that word” has been explored a few times recently, I’ve noticed.
These are just some thoughts of my own, and nobody needs to even respond. But I would love your thoughts, and my god, maybe even some strategies for taking away the bad ju-ju this word seems to hold for it’s survivors.  It seems to be a universal phenomenon that women who have been hurt by it fear to speak “that” word. It seems to have the feel of revisiting a curse upon oneself.
Why?  Having been on the receiving end of this fear, I’m seriously interested. <p>Ar-ay-pee-ee rape; it’s taken from the Latin  “rapere”, which means “to seize or carry off”. Anyone seen the famous painting “The Rape of Ganymede”?
It depicts Zeus in the guise of an eagle carrying a curlicued lad off to Mount Olympus to be his cup-bearer. Still, the motive was lust as it was in the Homerian tale “The rape of Helen”. It probably changed meaning as the intent of the kidnappers became more important than the seizing.
Nevertheless, by the time the (awful) painting “The rape of Lucrece” was done, it had changed to the god-awful meaning we all accept today.  Lucrece, a society matron, was raped by Tarquin the Proud, a nobleman. She was fully expected to suicide as a way of restoring honour to self and family; to live with the shame was unthinkable.
Ok. Miss Rachel has finished her history lesson.
But people, we’ve been internalising that values system ever since.
I believe Dana hit it on the head today when she said in Kiera’s thread that society must stop shaming rape survivors. It’s my belief that this word causes shame because others have taught us this. I remember Nica saying in Mistral’s thread Shame and Telling, (where some of this has been covered) that even her therapist would not use the word; referring instead to “the incident”. Inci-fucking-dent? What’s that? A broken fingernail? Or a broken spirit?
Other people’s shame infects us. <p>But why then, do so many of us euphemise; make up terms that go as close to it as possible; “sexual assault” or as benignly far away from it as possible; I’ll quote one of my own; “the thing that happened”. My first counsellor once lamented the fact that many of the rape survivors she saw actually referred to what was done to them in these terms: “and then he made love to me”. Oh god! That really does seem a desperate cat of removing oneself, doesn’t it? I’ve often had to remind myself not to say, “he fucked me” when I mean “he raped me”. Lovers  may “fuck”. I use the eff word in terms of what I would like to do with certain movie stars. But it’s got nothing to do with….violation.
We know what we’re talking about, so why can’t we just call it by its name? Is it the sound? Such a cruel, blunt sound, almost like a scrape (how appropriate!)  Cruel, blunt name for a cruel, blunt crime, maybe, and some of us have also made this point elsewhere. <p>Louise Armstrong, author of “Kiss Daddy Goodnight” points out that “rape” is easier to say and spell than “diarrhoea” So why do women so frequently avoid the use of it?  And while I take Ms. Armstrong’s point, a dose of the shits does not quite approximate sexual violation….rape.
I avoided it for years. for years. It…hurt. I felt incredibly dirty and ashamed. It felt like a BRAND.<p>The bible states that it's not what we put in our mouths that makes us dirty, it's what comes out. Never, ever has this seemed truer than when trying to say "that word", does it? Do we remain victims if we cannot clearly name the crimes committed against us? The trouble with that word is that until one learns that naming can be empowering, it seems as though use of it will revictimize.
But now,  I rap out the arr word with probably boring consistency. I look at it the way some holocaust survivors do; they resent people saying that there were 6 million Jews “killed” in the holocaust. People are also killed in car accidents and earthquakes. Smoking “kills”. The Holocaust survivors rightly say that their brothers and sisters were MURDERED, not “killed.
In the same spirit, I was raped. Not “assaulted”, not “hurt”. Healing the shame is an excellent tip.
I personally believe it matters what we call a thing; but having said that I understand that some people never will choose to use that word. I have an eight-year old girl inside me who will never be able to say she was raped. I feel her twist as I write the word. It began to feel quite self-abusive a long time ago to force the issue, so I stopped. I can say it, but if I am operating from her feelings, forget it. “He hurt me” will do nicely.<p>Has the arr word magical properties? Is Maya Angelou right in saying that “words are things”?
In parts of Spain, the word devil must not be uttered; it’s like tempting him to appear.
But…. in a similar spirit to not saying “devil”, I cannot say abusers names out loud. I can’t. Does anyone else know this one? I can say I was raped, but I cannot say the name of the perpetrator of that crime. Like “rape”, it gets stuck.<p>
And I’m going to get really honest here. Ms. Tough-Titties can say “rape”. Wow! Whattawoman. But I’d be defrauding you, my friends, not to admit that I stumbled across an interesting dilemma yesterday while chatting with two sisters from here. Yes, I rattle off  “rape” like my children’s names.  But….not all kinds.
I can’t explain it very well, but I will try…..<p>Oh god…how do I do this….I’m feeling as some of you sisters feel…..I can euphemistically issue the blanket statement that I have been raped in every body orifice. If I am drunk, or I have harnessed the sneering, street-fighting aggressor in me, I can say I was “butt-fucked”.  “Dirty bastard went up my backside”. Isn’t this odd? I can be so coarse, as you’ve just seen, but I never have, and I never can, use the “proper” words…can’t write ‘em either….not for myself.   “A/R” will have to do. Can’t even call it the S word….while I go on in genuinely-felt sympathy about others who were A/R’d / S’d…and I admire those of you who are honest with it….I am too scared. It seems to strip me of dignity. It feels so irretrievably dirty. Just the one bastion of indecency I cannot cross. I have no problem with vaginal or oral; not a one, but…there? In ten years of therapy, I only ever mentioned it ONCE. That was so hard I decided never to do it again.<p>Maybe there’s an extra pocket of shame there….one that I know I don’t deserve. I know it, but I still feel it, you know? I say that as I know for a fact that when I have trouble using  just “rape”, (and it’s so rare these days that I know something is wrong), I  am feeling shame. Shame clears up, and my tongue is freed again to NAME.<p>But naming can hurt too, there’s no doubt about that. It has to be at the right time. Has anyone ever felt that sense, when you began to say “I was…Raped” that it crashes and reverberates through all parts of you? It echoes: Rape…ape…ape...ape…happened to me….me.<p>Listen, friends, this rant may not be useful to anybody. I just wanted to put out some thoughts on it.
The difficulty of saying this word is something I all at once understand and yet am intrigued and confused by.<p>Love<p>Rachel xxxx


dear rachel,
i know you wrote this a long time ago and i wonder how you are doing now? i just wanted to tell you that it made me cry. i hate what shame does to people. i don't know you but i respect you for being so honest and the truth is that those who truly love us would never see us as devalued because of our experiences. you are awesome.
xx s

#62 CarpeNocturna

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Posted 09 February 2011 - 11:33 PM

I just want to get this story off my chest, I've been holding it in for too long (you don't have to read if you feel like you might get triggered by this).

But there was this one boy called Nick who was in my 6th grade class. We were friendly enemies, in a sense, but we grew closer the next year and eventually started dating after that. I thought it was just going to be like those romances in the chick flicks: cuddling, kisses on the cheek, hugs. Our relationship was somewhat like that, but after my first kiss, it all pretty much went downhill. Soon he began planning out our entire future, even though I never said anything like that, and he wanted me to constantly pay attention to him and only him, even if it meant taking me away from my friends. He also later began talking about how he "wanted me" and mentioned other things I didn't understand; being a rather naive and clueless girl, I had no idea that the things he was saying probably belonged on some bathroom stall. But the first time he touched me, I was shocked to say the least. I kept saying "Please, stop this" and "I really don't want to, stop it", but he kept talking about "equivalent exchange", that I wanted this, and that he would let me touch him if he touched me. So when he grabs my hand and forces me to touch him, I'm crying and shaking and begging for this to be just a dream. However, he hugged me after that, saying he loved me, and, like the stupid idiot I was, I believed that he wouldn't do that again. He still did, though, and began manipulating me into some kind of doll. He forced me to stop buying lunch and share lunch with him, wanted me to act a certain way in various situations, and forbid me from singing when I was with him since he hated singing. He also wasn't too fond of my "dark" style of dress and artistic taste, and constantly tried giving reasons as to why the things I liked were "bad". He also kept sending emails saying "I love you so much, you're the only thing keeping my life from falling apart." But I felt so lost and confused. I began cutting about halfway through 8th grade, but when Nick discovered cuts I made so recently, they were still bleeding, he dragged me into the bathroom, threatened to break up with me if I did it again, yelled at me, but suddenly hugged me. I honestly had no idea what was going on in my life.

I still don't know if what happened to me classified as "rape", but when we were at the mall together, he suddenly pulled me into one of the dressing rooms and forced me to perform o*** on him. Note that I was a clueless idiot who didn't even know what the term "sleep with" meant. He also kept trying to pull my clothes off while I was shaking and trying not to cry, constantly saying that he "wanted me so badly", so once we left, I was terrified. He told me in there, that, since I was older than him, even if it was only by two months, he could sue me (this was a lie, but I didn't know that), so that blackmailed me into not telling anyone. It reached a point where, one morning, I grabbed a pair of scissors, cut my hair (once below chest-length) to chin-length, then took some Advil with me to kill myself in one of the bathrooms. After taking the Advil, though, nothing happened. I broke down crying in one of the stalls because I had lost my one chance at escape, skipping first period in the bathroom.

I finally wanted to be free of him for good, so while I was at a summer camp in Maryland, I broke up with him over the phone. In short, it was scary. Nick kept crying and screaming, threatening to kill himself, accusing me of playing hard to get, and asking me why I wanted to break up with him. I succeeded, but I spent the next few days terrified that he would do something to my family.

Unfortunately, a year after I was free of him, I fell even deeper. Being too nice is one of my worst faults because I always hate losing friends. I wanted to be nice but keep my distance, so we were friendly acquaintances for a bit. But when I began having dreams that kept me awake, nightmares filled with blood that left me scared to go to sleep, I asked him for help. Instead, he took this as an opportunity to get rid of me for good; he filed an accusation stating that I had written a threat to kill him, which is classified as a felony. There was no evidence at all stating that I wrote this, which happened to be a complete lie, but no one cared. I was pulled out of class and spent half an hour in an office with no explanation until they finally told me what was going on. They also said they were going to put me through a psychatric assessment, that, because of the manga I was reading, that I could be thought of as dangerous, and that I was suspended (the jackass of a security guard even told my dad to put me in the back seat and lock the door because he was suspicious that I would jump out). Basically, they pissed me off. I was listed as "wearing all black" (I was wearing a BUSINESS SUIT because I was giving a presentation and I didn't have any other dress shirts) and they though me as dangerous because I like reading dark books. What the hell, seriously?

So I was sent to a therapist who later said that I might have "anger and depression issues" (I just learned I might be put in jail for something I didn't do, what do you think?) and I had the detention hearing the next day. When we arrived at the courthouse, the receptionist said I would be waiting in a separate room and that I "would be okay". WRONG. Instead, I was searched (and almost suffered a mental breakdown at the officer's hands at the waist of my pants), handcuffed, and led to a holding cell next to where several gangsters were being kept. I still don't know how long I remained there, but I sat in that small white room being watched by two policeman, softly singing to keep myself from going crazy. And later, when I finally got to talk with my attorney, he said I most likely would get an ankle bracelet; fortunately, the judge was smart enough to look at the evidence and asked "Is this seriously it?". So I got out with no restrictions until the court date and had to explain at school the next day that I wasn't kidnapped, I just had some family issues (that was the excuse I had to give).

After several months of waiting, the court date arrived. But the first thing I did five seconds after I saw him and his family, as soon as I stepped into the courthouse, I ran to the bathroom to throw up. I also recognized the girl I was in the holding cell with, Tasha, who was the same age as my little brother. My family and I waited for over an hour, me taking deep breaths so I wouldn't pass out. But finally, our lawyer arrived to say that the prosecutor decided to drop the case: knowing that this person was "a complete bitch" who almost never let go of a case, dropping one was an extremely slim chance. So I chose to do the logical thing: I cried.

It's been two years since then and three years since I was hurt, but the trauma still affects me. I'm terrified of getting my driver's license, I can't stay in white rooms anymore, I hate most physical contact, and I'm no longer the happy-go-lucky person I used to be.

PHEW...sorry that took so long, this was my first time letting it all out (by the way, about the cutting, I'm pretty much clean now, but I relapse occasionally. I also struggled with anorexia last year, but I'm currently okay and at a healthy weight.) Thanks for listening.

#63 Lyla

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Posted 08 April 2011 - 10:49 AM

I remember Nica saying in Mistral’s thread Shame and Telling, (where some of this has been covered) that even her therapist would not use the word; referring instead to “the incident”. Inci-fucking-dent? What’s that? A broken fingernail? Or a broken spirit?
Other people’s shame infects us.
<p>But why then, do so many of us euphemise; make up terms that go as close to it as possible; “sexual assault” or as benignly far away from it as possible; I’ll quote one of my own; “the thing that happened”. My first counsellor once lamented the fact that many of the rape survivors she saw actually referred to what was done to them in these terms: “and then he made love to me”. Oh god! That really does seem a desperate cat of removing oneself, doesn’t it? I’ve often had to remind myself not to say, “he fucked me” when I mean “he raped me”. Lovers may “fuck”. I use the eff word in terms of what I would like to do with certain movie stars. But it’s got nothing to do with….violation.


And shame creates a cycle of self defeat, broken relationships. When a therapist goes to help you, they are supposed to help break that cycle, not add to it.

I told my therapist I was sexually assaulted. She countered back, "Oh I am so sorry you were taken advantage of."

I countered back, "NO. It was sexual assault."

She said it again, as if she was uncomfortable that I may add a detail.

She looks away from me too.

"So sorry you were taken advantage of."

I don't know why that bothers me. To me it suggests that I was assaulted because I was merely gullible.

It suggests I was used at my own expense, or at fault for not recognizing a scam or a swindle. It makes me more complicit, and responsible. The "expense" is quite high though, and suggests that the person doing it was much more than a scam artist. They were much more brutal, and they weren't smooth. They left me with no choice.

But why do therapists do that? Did they not learn about this in school? I guess you can't teach empathy.

I had it said to me before.

"You were just taken advantage of."

But he pushed me, and he got aggressive with me in front of his friends. He committed acts that in a different pretense like pushing me in an argument, would be considered assault, but here it's not? The comment does not allow responsibility to lie where it should.

"He took advantage of you."

I said no quite a bit, I had to hit him to get his attention to stop. I stopped him. Yet he only took "advantage" becomes a meek excuse. It does not let responsibility settle where it should.


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