How To Help A Friend After A Rape
This post contains information of a graphic nature.
Please do not continue reading unless you understand that sensitive content about rape is contained below. That said, please support this brave woman as she shares her story.
Rape is more that just physical violation, it also has devastating mental and emotional effects.
This is her story.
What is it about rape that is so hurtful?
Is it when someone actually reaches for and enters the inside of your body you feel like your whole self - inside and out - is being exposed and violated? Is it the fact that your dignity is taken away as you are forced to stand or lie there naked, as you are stared at and calculated in a public area while being spied upon?
Is it that you're forced into feeling things you have never felt before without being asked just so they can watch your reaction? Is it that they knew you were extremely vulnerable yet still forced you into things you weren't ready for?
You didn't know enough to realize the impact of these actions.
Is it that your friend left you alone with seven guys, two of whom abused you? They had very little consideration for your needs. Is it the physical pain as one of them jams his finger inside of you causing some bleeding? Then he penetrates, not caring if you're sore, not even speaking to you except when telling you what to do or trying to make you react so you can be heard.
Is it being forced into positions you were uncomfortable with and being treated like a rag doll? Is it the fear or the shame because you're too afraid to resist? Is it the what ifs, like what if you gave the message to them that you wanted this even though you didn't know what was going on?
You thought it was a normal thing to do at 14 because your friend was doing it. Is it that the same friend was inconsiderately shouting about what you did that day? You denied it all and have been ever since until now. Even now you have to try and make yourself stop denying it so you can heal and move on.
Is it the fact that after you did walk away from the first rape he molested you and attempted to stimulate you in front of the rest of the gang? Your privacy and trust mocked? Is it the fact that only sheer luck meant you weren't forced into a situation of being a parent at 14? Is it the fact that what happened that day tainted what should have been a good life experience? Your trust in people is gone, especially of men.
Yes, it is all of those things and probably more.
But most of all it is the fact that I have lived with this as my life slowly ground to a halt. True, I did have a lot more going on that contributed but what happened that day made things an awful lot worse. They made me feel worthless - a feeling that grew with time as I kept that day locked away for nine years. The guilt because I didn't do anything to resist. The shame at the memories of having to strip in a public park. The guilt because I didn't run. The shame of the things I did and how it was broadcast to peers.
When you hear of someone being raped you never think of all these feelings that are attached. But they are, and it hurts.
Rape is a trauma that lasts with you a lifetime.
This is her story:
About a year ago, my best friend was really into this older guy, and I didn't want to be around him; he gave me the creeps. But she always said, "Come on! I don't want to go alone," so I'd give in and hang out with them.
She'd always been a horrible friend, but I suppose I didn't care (don't worry, because thanks to my current wonderfully supportive, long- term boyfriend, I've since gotten her out of my life.)
She'd accused me of wanting him, which, for some reason, made me want to prove her right. He suggested, through text, that we have sex. I thought, "Hell, she deserves it," and went with it, even though I knew it was wrong.
He asked to hang out with me alone, and I said "sure," but to make it abundantly clear that I didn't want to have sex, I followed that up with, "I DON'T want to have sex with you."
He replied, "Okay, I don't have sex on Sundays anyway; it's a sin."
I'm so stupid - why would I believe such a bullshit excuse? I don't know, I'm young and naive.
We were watching the movie Saw, just as friends, so I wasn't expecting, or hoping for anything sexual. He was.
He started kissing me. I was semi-unsure of what was going on, so I went with it for a moment. Then, he rolled on top of me and started to unbutton my pants.
I was confused.
I pushed up on his chest and asked as quietly and calmly as I could, "What are you doing?" He ignored me. I must have asked at least five more times getting more and more anxious when he didn't reply.
Things got a little blurry - after he put on a condom, I accepted what was about to happen.
I knew no one else was home and I was afraid to run home and telling my parents because I didn't want to get in trouble. So I just laid there with my arms at my sides; I didn't really know what else I could do.
I thought I was okay. I really did.
I felt guilty and for a while I convinced myself that we'd just had sex. Soon, though, I began to feel ashamed and disgusted. The tears came and I realized, I had been raped, violated, assaulted.
After I realized I'd been raped, I went into a very deep depression.
I managed to keep both the depression and the rape to myself, though I came clean to my friend. I was happy that she believed me, because she's the type who thinks people get what they deserve. Soon, though, she began to use the rape against me in arguments. That hurt. A lot.
I told my dad about the rape.
We talked about the rape and decided together not to report it to the police as my rapist had just been arrested for raping and statutory raping a number of girls, so he was in jail for over twenty years.
I became suicidal and I didn't believe it had anything to do with the rape
I went to the psychiatric hospital for a five day stay. Now that I understand the stages of grief after a rape: depression, regret, anger, and guilt you go through it makes sense.
I'm currently working through the guilt stage following the rape. I know logically that the rape wasn't my fault; that he should have taken no for an answer the first time. But still, I feel I need to go back and change the past; like it was all my fault.
I was raped.
But I have a voice and I intend to use it to help myself and anyone else who has been through a rape.
Have you survived a rape? How did you cope?
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark. And now?
Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It's time to Ask The Band!
My name is Eddie and I'm a rape victim.
I have been having a hard time sorting things out in my head. I guess the hardest thing I am dealing with is being able to trust a friend again. Mainly because the only true friend I had is now the reason I've stumbled across this site.
How do I learn to trust again, The Band?
Three out of four victims of sexual assault are attacked by people they know and trust.
This is her story.
I was so young at 22.
I had never had a boyfriend, had never been kissed, had never had anything truly bad happen to me.
I met him on the first day of law school orientation. He was sweet. He was leaning into my conversations, going out of his way to talk to me. Within a month we were dating. He was wonderful in every way; always taking care of me, listening to my worries, making me laugh. I knew that all the years of holding out for a good one had paid off.
From the beginning he said he wanted to take it slow physically, knowing about my lack of experience. He knew I wanted to save sex for marriage. He didn't agree, but he went along with it. At first, at least.
Slowly he started pushing me to do things I didn't want to do. When I told him no or pushed his hand away, he would persist. These were little things though, in the "gray area," so eventually I would give in. If I didn't, I had to deal with his anger and pouting.
I was becoming more and more depressed, but I didn't know it.
Sure, I cried when I was alone. But I just hated school so much. I was stressed all the time. Not sleeping. Not eating. I just needed to toughen up. He was right there the whole time, making sure I ate, walking my dog, letting me cry. He was a godsend.
It was around this time that he began the emotional abuse.
I never appreciated him enough. I was selfish. There was no end to the ways that his ex-girlfriend was better than me. I spent my days tiptoeing around, never sure what would set him off. He was wonderful, though. We were just going through a rough patch. I needed to be the bigger person, forgive, and move on. He was so good at apologizing after a blow-up. He didn't mean any of it.
Slowly he started pushing harder and harder and wanting to go farther and farther physically. Four, five, six times I would pull away, but he wouldn't relent. What was I supposed to do, scream? He was my boyfriend, he loved me. He just got carried away. I talked to him about it on several occasions, explaining that what he was doing wasn't right. I tried to explain that "no means no."
"Do you know what you're accusing me of?" he exploded.
"I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just trying to tell you how I feel."
It didn't matter. I learned not to bring it up. I blamed myself for it. After all, a guy will go as far as a girl lets him, right? Each time he pushed, I eventually gave in. It was my fault. I had trained him not to take my protests seriously. If only I were stronger, it wouldn't be a problem. But it was too late now.
I began not to protest at all. I couldn't understand what force was keeping me silent, but I was paralyzed when he touched me. I tried to accept that these were things I did now. I tried to put it from my mind.
One night, he took my clothes off. When it was all over, he said that he had entered me. I was confused. I hadn't felt anything. The next day I talked to him about it. I told him how upset I was. I reminded him, for the thousandth time, that this was not what I wanted our relationship to look like. I told him again, as I had in the beginning and so many times in between, that this was the final, absolute line.
This was not a gray area, this was wrong.
In response, he berated me for "ruining his first time." He brushed aside my distress, telling me how special he wanted his first time to be and how I had ruined it by not being there emotionally. How could I be so selfish?
I begged him that day not try it again. I told him it would destroy me. I told him I would never be able to forgive him or myself. That very same night he pushed me into going all the way. This time I felt it; the pain. I felt so helpless. Silent, paralyzed, horrified at my weakness, I let it happen. As usual, it was my fault.
With the support of my mom and a therapist, I finally left him, but the damage remains. The worst part is not having a name for what happened. Rape isn't quite right. But I felt so forced, so helpless. It would almost have been better if he had held me down screaming. At least then I would know.
I tell myself it wasn't my fault, but when my guard is down that little voice still whispers, "You let it happen. Slut. Easy. Weak." I just want to feel wholesome again.
I'm not sure I ever will.
Sexual assault doesn't always have to be violent, but it is always devastating.
This is her story.
I used to sleep around a lot.
I dated in a way stereotypically reserved for men throughout most of my twenties and then met my now husband at age 26. In high school boys treated me like I had the plague. Then I graduated and my phone suddenly started ringing off the hook, offering up the pick of the litter.
I was also never exclusive with anyone until we’d had The Talk. If we hadn’t had The Talk then chances were you weren’t the only one I was sleeping with. One day whilst visiting my parents my mother said “oh, I thought you slept with all the guys you dated.” I didn’t, but I could see how she would have thought that.
I always believed that I was in control of my body. I didn’t give two fucks if I threw myself at you and you didn’t respond. I was so insecure I’d just go sleep with whoever drunk called that night. I knew I was being used but all I wanted was the attention, the comments on my runner's body or how nice my natural tits were.
But then there was someone I threw myself at who didn’t respond, and I did care.
I didn’t care that he wasn't into me at all. I found it fun to try and flirt with him anyway and always make it known that I’d be down for it. I knew he’d never be down for it so I just kept at him. If he ever wanted to tell me to move on he never did, and so I didn’t. He was mysterious and hot, kinda dirty looking, exactly what I went for at the time, and his best friend was my best male friend.
We were all out at the bar and we were drunk. He looked particularly good that night; he wore a brown leather jacket and I could smell it from where I sat drooling over him. As usual we didn’t speak much that night, and it was all me making comments about him and - as usual - I received zero response. That bar closed and we moved on to a bar down the street, then we headed back to my place to drink some more.
My best friend was passed out in my bed and I was still out in the living room listening to Tool with Him. Out of nowhere he pulled me down towards him and we started to kiss. He was groping me and saying extremely sexual things to and about me; they were flowing out of him like poetry. This was exactly what I thought I had wanted.
Almost instantly a red flag rose in my brain and I stopped him. I used the excuse that our best friend was in the very next room, then basically got up off the couch and went into my bedroom. If only I’d have caught the ridiculously bright shade of red that flag was.
We all woke in the morning hungover and hungry. Our best friend seemed none the wiser that anything had happened between us. I didn't flirt with Him that morning. I was already in observation mode, trying to figure out what the fuck had happened and if it meant anything. How could someone who barely spoke to anyone suddenly turn into a sex-crazed dirty talker out of nowhere?
After brunch, I returned to my home to nurse my hangover with some playoff hockey. I heard pebbles tapping at my window. This was not uncommon; at this time my suite was right off the alley and friends would toss pebbles. I’d huck them my keys or pop down to the door. I looked out my window to see Him there on his bike. I thought nothing of it, went down to the door, and let him in.
When I say I thought nothing of it I mean that I didn’t think he was there to harm me. Having already analyzed the night prior I thought maybe he was into me after all and felt bad that he’d tried to accost me with his best friend in the next room. Maybe having been rejected by me made him realize he was interested in me. How silly, naive and stupid. I trusted his best friend, my best friend, that’s the main reason I let him in.
I could still smell the beer from the previous night on him. We sat on my couch and I specifically remember that I tucked my legs up into myself and didn’t spread them out over him like I wanted to in my head. He started rubbing my legs and I sorta play kicked him trying to make it clear that I was watching hockey and that he should too.
He did not take any hints and tried to kiss me. I flat out said NO. He persisted, I said NO. I knew in my head that he was not leaving. I knew I should not have let him in. I knew that I was fucked. Did I want to be viciously assaulted or could I take some control? I made what I still believe was the correct decision to this day and had sex with him.
After, he sat on my couch and cried. He told me that he’d lost his virginity to a prostitute. He told me that he’d gone over to our best friends’ place and watched him sleep on the couch and thought to himself, “Can I do it? Can I go back over there and have sex with that girl?”
I asked him to leave and he left.
To be honest, at first I was completely fine.
The next day I had a girlfriend over. I told her that I’d had sex with Him, but I did not tell her exactly how it had happened. I know this is going to sound fucking insane but I didn’t fully grasp just how fucked up everything was until I told my dad over email on the Tuesday morning back at work.
It was as quick as flipping a switch.
I was now a shaking, crying mess and the slut-shaming started immediately. My boss told me that if I’d just hung out with doctors it would have never happened. At first I didn’t have to worry about people believing me because He came clean to our best friend. But that doesn’t mean that people didn’t ask me inappropriate questions. The worst of all to this day is why did I give in, why didn’t I keep saying no.
I should have only had to have said NO once.
I lost a lot of friends. I think most people who’ve been through this know how hard that part is. I felt helpless. I felt so much shame. My best friend did not support me for long. Very soon after I was expected to have let it go, to be over it and totally able to hang out at parties where He’d be.
I tend to be very forgiving, so when I was left with no other choice but to end my friendship with my best friend I kept the email he sent me so that I wouldn’t ever forgive him. In it he told me "you’re the one that drooled over the guy and told him you’d fuck him, and when he came for it and you didn’t want it, you let him have it anyways."
I still slut-shame myself and blame myself. But no. NO.
He did not have the right to even put me in that position.
That day robbed me of a piece of myself that I have yet to get back. It robbed me of many things I have been able to reattain but one. That one thing haunts my life every single day.
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