This is part of SoCS # guess. And as you may GUESS I am full of fury. This has trigger warnings. But it is an educational blog that should be read by those who will not be affected by the trigger.
It took me 43 years to fully be able to talk about what happened to me when I was 11. I tried to talk about it when I was 15 or so but I was shut down time and time again. It takes all the courage one can muster to utter a tiny word of the events that happened in sexual assault. As I have discussed in previous blogs I have been assaulted a number of times. It started when I was 11 years old. I was sexually assaulted 12 years ago by my best friend’s husband.
It took me 3 days to tell my husband. I came home. I fell asleep. I took a shower. I stumbled through the next day in SHOCK. I was in SHOCK. I stayed in shock from the moment he attacked me until the moment I told my husband. Even then and for months after I remained with residue, fear, and levels of shock still going through my nervous system.
We brought his wife over to our house, my best friend, to tell her what happened. The first things she asked, ” Why didn’t you scream. Why didn’t you fight?” I am aware of the classes that teach women to fight off their attackers. I took Karate. I lifted weights. I had the ability to fight. I did not. I was paralyzed wtih fear. I could not move. I could not run. I could not fight. My mind went into many different scenarios in slow motion. Was he going to kill me. Would I survive. No one would hear me. We were locked in a garage and no one else was around. The fear set in the moment that he locked me in the room. I dissociated. Something a person does as a coping mechanism for trauma. Trauma was about to occur. I could have never outpowered im and gotten away.
The shame that women feel for not fighting and not screaming is put onto them by others who ask “why.” Then women ask themselves “why me.” Why did I do that? Why didn’t I know that this could happen. Why did I get in that car, go in that car, trust my best friend’s husband. Because we do not naturally assume men will be rapists!!!
A woman throws in alittle alcohol, a party, being alone with a man she did not know and BOOM she put all the blame on herself.
I will say it again as I have for the 2 years of writing this blog and I will say it forever.
The blame lies on the sex offender, the rapist, the molester. The shame and the blame do not lie on the victim.
Asking me why I did not fight by the sex offenders wife was like getting punched in the stomach and kicked in the face. What she is saying is,” Couldn’t you have stopped it?” No. I could not have.
There are many classes held in our town called RAD where women are taught to fight off their atacker. Attacker. The scenario does not involve multiple men in a hidden area. The scenario does not involve a gun, which was involved in my case. It also does not involve a woman/man who is unable to defend themselves due to intoxication or illness.
So what should you say to a woman or a man who has confessed, opened up, shared their story with you.
1. Your bravery in speaking about what has happened to you is very courageous.
2. I am here if you want to talk any more about it.
3. I am so so sorry that happened to you.
4. Can I help in any way? Do you need me to be withyou to share what happened with a friend, family, police, etc? Would you like me to be with you becasue I will.
5. Be a prescience. Be a friend. Be a listener. We do not always need words. We need to feel heard. We need to feel validated in the trauma. We need to feel loved through it all and the times that will come after.
What not to say to a woman or a man who has confessed, opened up, shared their story with you.
1. You do not get to question the circumstance. That is not your role.
2. You do not get to ask why. Why was she dressed that way, why was she in that location. Why was she drinking. Why was she alone with someone she did not know. Why did she trust this person. It is not your role to ask why or question this victim.
3. How drunk were you? Could you have said no? Could you have fought back? Why didn’t you scream or kick or fight.
And here comes the educational part of my post. This comes from years of therapy. Years of trauma counseling. Years of advocacy. Years of being married to a man who works with sexual abuse victims. You may not think what you are doing is blaming. You may try to get your head wrapped around the why and understand who this horrendous thing could have happened. There is only one why. A man chose to rape a woman. Period. Her behavior is not relevant. I was in a swimsuit. Is that relevant. I said not one word while a man was lying on top of me. Is that relevant. I went BACK to the abusers house when he got me and did not say a word as a little girl while he molested me time and time and time and time again. Is that relevant? Someone who knows nothing about sexual assault may think it is because they are thinking, ” why didn’t you try to save yourself.” In MANY scenarios there IS NO saving yourself. Why? If you even ask the question why you are blaming the victim whether you think you are are not. Why did she not save herself.
Had I fought the man who attacked me he would have killed me. He said so. He had a gun. I could not fight. I could not speak. I was paralyazed in fear. The other scenario when I was date raped at the age of 1l7. If you were to ask me if or why I did not scream. I would tell you that I was unable. I was trapped. There was no one to scream to. The man intent on raping me was not planning on stopping. Screaming would have angered him and more violence would have proceeded.
I have written this after reading a blog post where a man “innocently” asked the question, after this woman tells her story of rape, why did she ont scream. Why did she not do anything. I felt fury at this comment all night long. Why didn’t you do anything. The damage that that does to a woman’s healing path and journey is irreparable. Now this person could have apologized for saying something hurtuful. He did not. He made excuses.
I’ve heard the excuses all of my life. There are no excuses. My blog is for victims of abuse and I will always advocate for the victim. Forever more. If that means education, I will do it. If that means sharing my story, I will do it. If that means anger at an insensitive comment, I will call it out.
You don’t get to be curious about why a woman/man who has been raped nor do you get to ask why she did nothing.
NO ONE has that right. EVER.
If a woman/man ( I add man because I know men who have been raped and they get the same validation) has been raped, they cannot afford to be revictimizes by ignorant questions. And if you have asked them. Admit to their ignorance. Apologize. Go back to this person and tell them, ” I am just so very sorry that anyone took something from you, violated you, tricked you.”
The language is not out there. The details are not out there. The voices of men and women invovled as victims in rape are just being spoken. “Rape” may just seem like a word to someone. To a person who has been raped it means life long recovery. Suppression of emotions. Post traumatic stress disorder. Anxiety. Trust issues. And not to mention what has occurred with in the body. The tearing of the vagina, the tearing of the anus. The ripping apart of the body with objects wtih fingers with penisis. The victimization is horrendous. There will be years of therapy. There will be denial in various forms. There will be acceptance and growth and recovery.
But there should NEVER be a person who asks “why” EVER.
A person is raped because there are rapists. If you have ont already guessed, Rape is a crime of violence. Not sexuality. It is an act of violence. Never ever again ask why.
Can you guess again at my anger?
It is 2017. Educate. Learn. Advocate. And stop revitimizing the victim. I think being raped was quite enough for us!!!!!!!!!!!