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Shame and Telling-My Thoughts

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#46 NotYetHealed

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Posted 22 December 2002 - 05:00 PM


This was just one of the most empowering things I have ever read and want to sincerely thank you for posting it.  Now I have a very strong desire to get the #### ink cartridge for the printer that I keep procrastinating with so that I can print it out!  In my personal opinion this needs to be boosted and often!  Thanks again so very, very much.  You rock!


#47 Kaitlyn

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Posted 14 August 2005 - 02:32 PM

This is really powerful. Quoting it here so it's easier to find :)

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.



#48 MatthewJ123

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Posted 11 September 2005 - 04:45 AM

I have decided to not squirm at the words any longer. I have decided that I am going to own my experience, and say, fuck! i was raped, and it HURTS. I have read this thread several times since i was raped in april and since then i've been thinking, well, why shouldn't I use the words I know apply to my experience. Why should I be worried about what other people's reactions are, even though that IS what i've worried about the most. Thankyou for helping me to take my power back in a small way. thankyou very much


#49 squirrely

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 09:02 PM

Good evening/Hello all,

I hope you are fairing ok.
I am new to Pandy's and I feel so lucky to have found this forum.
This is a bit of a selfish rant. The email may contain some triggers as it partially describes my most recent experience- which has resulted in my PTSD becoming worse than ever.

My ranting intro and segue into comments on shame.
I have recently left my abuser. Emotional abuse which escalated over 1 year into severe sexual and
emotional degradation. I was so brainwashed within that 1 year, I only figured it out after 8 months of intense therapy. Therapy only started as I became increasingly depressed ng just got me into more and more trouble - Horrible.
Because of his severe psychopathology, I managed to almost avoid intercourse for the last 4 months of our co-habitance. Mind you I soon learned that he found and even created numerous other ways to sexually debase me and then used them in between the few times we did have intercourse. He did manage to emotional berate(sp?) me and physically threaten me to the point where I totally caved during our moving/splitting period. The last day we lived together he coerced me into intercourse during which he repeated his usual BS of erotic denial but added some serious inference/mild occurance of erotic strangulation. Frightening is that he would hold himself back as if to keep from losing control because he got so sexually excited from my terrified state. However he would start up again with his hands around my neck once he felt I wasnt as terrified (in his control). I was so mortified I went to work that morning and carried out my tasks in order to keep what was left of my sanity intact.

It is since then I have found myself realizing the multifaced effects of the prolonged abuse.
The wind blows against my neck and I feel as though I am either going to pass out or throw up.
I havent slept in months. I am fortunate to have a very patient T. With respect to the flare of my ptsd, I already feel somewhat "better" and I realize what can improve will take quite some time; I also realize that other aspects of the aftermath may not improve (permanent triggers) and I will have to adjust how I deal with them- this in particular really pisses me off. I prefer being dissociated phases of PTSD versus hypervigilance- and I am stuck in hypervigilance.

Out of EVERYTHING: I find especially exasperating however......is the shame aspect
of self-acceptance. After you have been vicitimized,
unwittingly and then perhaps even wittingly dance the dance with the the domestic assliant....
there is shame.

It is almost impossible for even close friends not to view the
victim-enabler as some kind of imbecile. Most people do not
knowingly choose to be into what is an initially self-perceived
abusive relationship. I cannot tolerate for length- my "well-
intented" friends inferring that we maybe idiots
emotionally/intellectually to reinforce their own sense of security.

I fully accept I responsibility of my role as victim and
(somewhat in remission) "enabler" in my relationship with my X (deleted).
I hate the word enabler- its not our fault that the abuser treated us like shit.
We can make healthier choices in prevention- but sometimes those healthier choices arent an option when your already in the midst of danger.

Anyways.......I find that those I am around can make it more difficult to accept and
subsequently move on- since they cannot even fathom the possible monstrousity
of other technically speaking- human beings. Really conducive to feeling even more isolated than our abuser wanted us to feel to begin with.

Yes knowledge is power and we can make more intelligent choices esp.
with enhanced awareness. Anybody may or may not meet a "nice"
individual to have a relationship with....but on the same hand
anybody may meet an abusive partner. Even those not "vulnerable" can get sucked in
by these individuals- which is horrifying to say the least. Metaphor:
On any given day anyone could be in vehicular accident or smacked down by
a large vehicle while crossing the street. Most individuals cannot
consciously plan for such an event. While you can choose to use the
crosswalks and look both ways before crossing, regardless of
your "vulnerabilities" a mack truck will emotionally (and/or physically) obliterate
either an 85 y/o or 26 yr/old. Mack truck= abuser.

When you (or at least with myself) try to share your experience(s)
with someone relatively close to you....they just cant comprehend
the dynamic of an abusive relationship and of course "it" will never happen to them.....
Thereby reinforcing the shame factor, paranoia and inhibiting
healthy growth. I have had all I can do to divulge a handful of the antics to 2-3 friends. One is directly supportive, the other is directly consoling as she realizes she cannot process what happened. The second friend at least tries not to say anything too inconsiderate; but the other day asked why I was so upset the morning after I last spoke with my ex. (Duh?)

The/your links with respect to the dynamics of victims and society and it is
certainly a bonus to have validation in that regard......The whole
it would never happen to me dynamic is getting really wearing on me
right now and tending to spark my repressed rage. I am having all I
can do to grapple with my recollections of what occured and moving on in that regard without others unconsciously reinforcing shame....

Rape is rape. No one can "weigh" anothers experience against another.... However I feel as though I am less entitled on some level to feel violated as my abuser was X (deleted); as maladjusted as that maybe. I also feel less acknowledged by those who I have confided in- example. There was a report of a young woman being attacked on campus- horrible. My colleagues usually commented with thoughts of blaming the vicitm but also of arent we lucky "that" hasnt happened to us. My thought: Thanks for forgetting it has and thank you for invalidating my experience(s).

Thank you for finally ;) allowing the opportunity to vent/rant to those who know.....
I welcome your response/advice/feedback.
Take care

Edited by squirrely, 04 April 2006 - 07:13 PM.

#50 Guest_Sparrow_*

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Posted 06 February 2006 - 11:01 AM

Hi everyone~

I thought I'd send a little encouragement about what can happen when we do find the courage to speak out about what has happened to us.

I switched Churches going on 4 years ago and with the reasons I left the other one still in my mind, felt I would never want to disclose much about my past with anyone at my new one. There was a problem with this as when I wanted to get back into where I worked I would have to sign a paper which would disclose my sexual ab*se as a child.

So, I prayed and thought it through and decided I would try to do this my own way. We are a very large Church so I decided to watch the Ministers and see which one I would give "My Story" or what is referred to as my "Testimony" in Church language. So I watched and wrote it and it sat on my desk at home 2 weeks. I decided the Minister I would give it to would be my choir director as I was in choir and had more interaction with him and therefore felt more comfortable sharing it with him (he ended up being one of my triggers as he looks like my ab*ser). I gave it to him after practice one Wednesday night and told him it was for "His Eyes Only." The next day when I came in as a volunteer to help he called me into his office. He asked why it was for "His Eyes Only," as it was the best testimony of reconciliation he had ever read. I tried to explain how not everyone is "kind" to say the least when they find out everything you've been through. He said you came in here last night and gave me this (I only did it so I could once again work with kids) but what you didn't know was that the person who was going to speak at our Christmas Celebration had backed out that morning. Would you consider giving your testimony in Church that night?

Here I was still wounded from happenings somewhere else and was asked to tell everyone what had happened to me. I told him I would pray about it and did. I received two answers. One was really a question, it was "Will You Trust Me?" The other was, "Am I not big enough to handle your reputation too?" So, I did give my testimony at the Christmas Celebration in front of approximately 1,200 people. I told them of Sexual Ab*se, Ab*rtion, R*pe, Verbal, emotional, physical Ab*se and everything I did to fill the void within and to numb the pain. I received a standing ovation that night, but it truly wasn't me they applauded it was God and His work in my life toward healing. A year later we were asked to be leaders in a Ministry called "Celebrate Recovery" it is a ministry that deals with all issues, you name it. We said yes. There are Celebrate Recoveries everywhere and it is a safe place to share in small groups our experiences. We share our pain, trials, struggles, triumphs and hope.

I still have much healing to do, and I am working on it, but I am learning to have a voice and to empower others with one also! Celebrate Recovery has come out of the same Church whose Pastor wrote, "The Purpose Driven Life," for those who recognize that book. It is an awesome book, it speaks much of our pasts. Anyway, a little at a time. A person doesn't have to do it on such a large scale to have a voice, mine just happened that way. (I was scared to death, but God was faithful) Just speak something, and be heard. Don't feel safe? Find a place you will like Celebrate Recovery with others who "Get It." www.celebraterecovery.com
Start your search there, you can find one where you live.


#51 SherriS

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Posted 25 March 2006 - 12:46 PM

This is a very inspiring post, thank you for posting it.

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