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Shame and Telling-My Thoughts

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Posted 10 June 2001 - 08:13 PM

You have hit the nail on the head with this post.  Recently, on my message board, I mentioned a woman I knew who (previously) did not believe that rape could happen to a grown adult.  What she meant was that if rape could happen to a full grown woman, then it could happen to me.  If it isn't your fault that it happened, then it could happen to ME.  So it has to be your fault, because it can't happen to me.
Unfortunately for her, she learned better.  Very soon after I wrote that post, she was raped.  I wish it had never happened because it is terrible -- but now she knows that it can and does happen.  It is real.  Not calling it rape doesn't help.  Pretending that it doesn't exist doesn't help.
Thanks Mistral for posting what you did -- your strength astounds me.

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Posted 05 July 2001 - 06:51 PM

I am really just to emotinally overwhelmed right now to write much but I have to tell you that applaud your bravery and your openness.  I have always been told to be tactful and not say things that might upset/offend/bother someone. Don't make people fell uncomfortable.  And NEVER to bring up the rape.  That was told to me less than 24 hours after I was brough home from the hospital by my father.  I know he loves me very much and that it just hurt him and angered him that it had happened.  But it hurt me too!  Just posting this makes me feel like I am imposing on people and that I really just shouldn't talk about it because who am I tell people my problems?  Everyone has there own sh*t ti deal with, why give them mine too?!?

But you are right mistral, we have to break the silence and maybe if, we are loud enough, there is a woman out there who wont have to go throught this.  You are a woman who will change the world!  Thank you for your strength.

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 08:39 PM

Well said.  
Take care,

#4 Guest_crying angel_*

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Posted 06 August 2001 - 07:52 AM

Oh, pardon me, I'm soooo sorry to have dirtied your mind with my life!!!  

That's fantastic Kimby - I was talking to a friend of mine about my abuse yesterday and I still feel like I'm burdening and boring and upsetting people. I'm going to write this down and stick it up next to my computer and hopefully it will start to sink in!

Thanks fantastic woman!!
lots of love

#5 Monika

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Posted 26 November 2002 - 07:49 AM

boosting for Scaredstiff

#6 Francesca

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Posted 04 January 2003 - 10:12 AM


I'm sorry you went through that. I didn't know what any of the symptoms for PTSD were. Thank you for sharing your story. I wish you didn't need to be here, but I'm glad that you found us. Please post and reply or just read as much as you need to. We'll be here for you.

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Posted 08 June 2001 - 10:55 AM

Please be careful.  These are my thoughts on Our Collective Shame, why we feel it, and why we must not.  The posts to the Telling and Shame thread I started made me think.  These thoughts may be triggering.  Please be safe.

Rape. Molested. Incest. Abuse. Sexual Assualt.

These have words have such power.  From us, they have taken control, safety and power.  In replacement, we have been given hurt, anger and shame and we are silenced by it.

They have power over our families, our friends, our peers and co-workers, too.  These words have the power to them say things like "Are you sure?" or "Why didn't you do this, that or the other thing?"  They make them call us liars.  They make people we know and trust physically recoil from us, look away or just blush.  It's all hurtful, so hurtful that it silences us.

Why do we feel shame?  Before we even tell, we are ashamed.  This is a society in which sex crimes are Unspeakable Crimes.

When we tell, our feelings about the rape, molestation or incest are influenced by the way the person we trusted enough to tell reacts to us.  To those of you who told and recieved no support, I applaud you. Your search to heal is just heroic, and shows unwavering bravery. To tell takes untold courage.  Again, I applaud you in your search to heal despite the shame given you. Rape is not the unspeakable crime; What your friends and families did by silencing you with shame is.  

So why DO these people we trust so much look away?

Fear.  Thinking that, "Well, rape happens to other people.  Not to people I know.  If it happened to someone I know, then it can happen to me, and it can't.  Therefore, my friend, my daughter, my sister, wasn't raped."  

Ignorant.  Just fucking ignorant.

Control.  Blame is a way to control.  We blame our own selves, too don't we?  By saying, "Why didn't you, run, scream, fight harder...etc...." our friends, families and peers put the control into our hands.  They think..."If she had fought harder she would have gotten away.  If she had yelled, someone would have heard her.  I Would Have Yelled.  I Would Have Gotten Away.  I Would Have Been Heard.  This Can't Happen To Me."  It's a way for non-survivors to think they actually control their own environments.  The survivor, she didn't. But This Can't Happen To Me.

When we blame ourselves, we give control back to ourselves.  I Should Have Fought Harder.  I Should Have Yelled.  It's a way to protect our own mistaken belief that We Control Our Own Lives.  We don't. Shit just happens. Us survivors, we learned that, in one heartbreaking minute.  

We don't want that control, do we?  Not when the shame comes with it.  But people give that control to us, unasked for.  And it makes us really ashamed.  And silent.

Discomfort-People are generally uncomfortable with discussions about genitals, and when we tell them that our genitals were so horribly abused, they become uncomfortable.

I was mugged, two years ago.  Total control was taken from me, by a man with a gun to my face, and I reached into the back pocket of my jeans and gave him money.  He walked away.  Was I ashamed? NO.  Did people treat me differently? NO.  Sympathy, and What can I do for you? Are you Ok?  That must have been scary. This is how people reacted. 

Rape is the Unspeakable Crime because it involves the control of our genitals.  Our genitals to be treasured.  They are to be worshiped.  We do not speak of them.  

Seven weeks ago, penis was put into my vagina without my consent.

The reluctance to speak about a crime involving genitals makes what is essentially a horrible mugging more awful for me.  I Am Horrified that this happened and people don't want to hear about it, even though I desperately need to talk about it with those who can help me make sense out of this world.  However,  People Don't Talk About These Things. I AM SILENCED.  Quickly and effectively.

I am silent, because their words hurt, because I am afraid of more abuse, because I am afraid of their pain and their reactions.

For those of you, especially those of you who have been more effectively silenced than I have; I am in Awe of You.  To heal must be incredibly difficult.

Too many women are raped, molested, abused and assaulted because of the silence.

Too many women feel this Collective Shame, because of the silence.

I am going to ask people a favor.  Don't Be Silenced.  

Stepping out can be so frightening, but so much can be gained.  Sometimes statistics jump into my head and I can't help but think about what would happen if every victim of sexual assault were to simultaneously scream.  People would begin, and those who had hadn't been able to acknowledge what has been done to them, would hear, look around, realize that they were not alone and join in.  It would be the scream heard across the world and it would be the scream to change the world.  No place would be silent, no person on this earth would not hear that scream and the effects of sexual assault would be frighteningly audible and thus undeniable.

That is an unrealistic vision right now, but it is not unrealistic to break the silence on a smaller scale.

End the silence at your own pace.  Any step is a good step, no matter what it is.  These steps are acts of bravery.

Stay safe when you take steps.

If just reading this was the biggest step you can take, Good for You.  You have something to be proud of.

If you can, write it.

If you can say your word to yourself, say it.

If you can say rape, incest molestation to a friend, try it on for size.

If you can yell it, like I did last night, yell it.

If you can speak out, then do so.

Any step you take, is a step in ending this Collective Shame and Silence, that we all feel. Now that is empowering, to us, the survivors, and to all women.

I want to acknowledge my mother, a woman with her Ph.D. in Womens Studies, for raising an empowered daughter.  Also, I'd like to acknowledge my partner, for calling it Rape, when he called the police.  I wouldn't have.  I want to thank my father, for saying, "This is the first night I slept well since you were raped," at the dinner table.  My partner gave me a word for it, and my father made it alright for me to talk about my rape at the dinner table.

These people are the reason I will not be silenced.

Thanks for reading.  The courage I have seen on this board gives me courage.


(Edited by mistral at 3:00 pm on Oct. 23, 2001)

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Posted 08 June 2001 - 06:46 PM

Mistral ~

Woooh ... I cried.  I think you pretty much said it all for all of us ... These posts are the posts that change us ... that make us believe in ourselves and our power to heal ourselves simply by naming the cause of our hurt ... The fact that we are here, alive and talking to each other ... sharing our deepest, most intimate thoughts about what happened to us gives us all the opportunity to speak at last and be accepted and empowered as survivors ...
Kudos to everyone who shared their thoughts and feelings and for Mistral putting it colletively together ...


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Posted 10 June 2001 - 08:33 PM

Hi Mistal!

I will let you know what part(s) of post I would like to use before doing so.  I would, of course, never tell where the information came from.  I will ALWAYS honor everyone's privacy and would never abuse the priveldge of our interactions.  I truly cherish this board and everyone on it!  

#10 Guest_crying angel_*

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Posted 25 June 2001 - 03:43 PM


*T for those words*

Everything is my life connected to the abuse is changing, which is scary, and exposing, but liberating beyond belief.

I told a friend by saying 'I was repeatedly raped when I was a child', rather than squirming and making them guess what was wrong.

A couple of nights ago I had a long conversation with two friends about cutting, food, telling my family, and other related survivor issues. One of them had to go home but I had a conversation with the remaining friend about my triggers which involved me telling him about some of the circumstances of my abuse: like being tied up and being forced to swallow after performing oral sex.

I would never have thought I could do it. I feel less ashamed now. I still feel that I'm wasting my friends' time and making them listen to things they don't want to hear, although they've assured me that isn't true.

I also feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel, that although I have been affected in so many ways, that every day I am more free.

I just wanted to encourage anyone who is thinking of starting to use *those words* rather than euphemisms, that the experience may be one of the most freeing of your lives.

Take good care guys
*warm and safe hugs*
Crying Angel

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Posted 06 July 2001 - 05:09 AM

Good luck Nica. Unfortunately, yes, there are therapists who are as guilty of avoidance as survivors. Your therapist owes it to you to be able to meet you where you're at.



#12 Guest__*

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Posted 19 July 2001 - 04:05 AM

You are so right!!  Your words are always so powerful.  You are truly an inspiration.  Thank you for that...

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Posted 21 July 2001 - 05:23 AM

Hi Mistral,
Wow what a powerful post. I was told to read your post as my counsellor want's me to tell my choir why i am wearing trousers (we are supposed to wear skirts).
but to me that is such an unthinkable thing to do, But after speaking with with my choit teacher (whom is my rock who has got me through this) and reading your post i am beginning to realise that if i do decide to tell them (well actually My choir teacher would tell them). I have began to think differently about doing so.

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Posted 05 August 2001 - 02:42 PM

Bringing this up for Annabella.

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Posted 18 August 2001 - 10:50 AM

Thank you CA,
You totally made my day!!!!

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