Missed Period and Feeling Suicidal After Assault.
Stephanie replies:I have been raped on several occasions by my father and it is my fault. I should have listened to my mother but I didn’t. I am now 16 years old. Being in the world is the last thing that I want right now. I tried to kill myself on several occasions. I feel so dirty and worthless at this point. I have realized that since then my period takes months to come, the last time I had it was 5 months ago. When it comes it stay for weeks sometimes months. Since I have been raped, is this affecting my cycle?
(Question Submitted by Suicidal)
Let’s go through a first few basic thoughts before we break everything down. What happened isn’t your fault, he did this and it is his fault. You’re not dirty or worthless, and I’m sure you mean a lot to a lot of people around you. Suicide isn’t the answer, and if you’re thinking about that you need to find some help to keep yourself safe (1-800-784-2433 is a national suicide hotline, and a good place to start that’s safe and confidential – or if you’re in the states you can call 911). And most importantly, your safety is the key here, you need to make sure that you’re somewhere safe that your dad can’t get to you, and that you have someone you can trust to help keep you safe. So let’s break everything down from here and look through one thing at a time.
This is not your fault - it's his fault.
When talking about rape, there are a lot of different feelings that a survivor may have. One common feeling is that because it involved them, it’s somehow their fault. Regardless of whether the person that raped you was a family member, friend, or stranger – it wasn’t your fault. Rape isn’t about sex, especially not for the person that it happens to, it’s about power. The power that your dad held over you then he continues to hold over you now in the way that it makes you feel is one way that it works.
When you are feeling that this is your fault, he’s holding that power over you. What I want you to realize here is that you did nothing wrong. *He* did this you to and He was wrong for what he did. Part of the process of really dealing through what’s happened it to start and place the blame where it’s due, and that means understanding that he did this to you and it’s his fault.
Just the same, what you’re feeling and thinking about listening to your mom is really normal as well. I don’t know what exactly she said to you, but I can tell you that I remember asking myself the same question “What if …” just as I know so many other people have asked themselves that question. In truth though, there isn’t any guarantee that listening to someone else would have stopped what’s happened. What is important is getting help to make sure that it doesn’t happen again and also to help you with what you’re going through personally.
You're not dirty, and you're not worthless.
Let’s take a few minutes and talk about how you’re feeling. Although being raped can certainly make you feel dirty, you aren’t. I want you to take a good look at yourself in the mirror. You are who you’ve been all your life, and I’m sure of all the descriptions you may find, and especially what others will find of you – dirty isn’t one that applies. You ask questions, and that makes you smart. You’re looking for solutions and ways of coming to terms, which makes you resourceful. Without even having met you face to face, there are descriptions that speak very well of who you are as a person.
You’re also far from worthless. You’re brave, and came here to ask a question that someone else might not have been able to bring themselves to ask. By asking questions in an open forum like this where the questions are displayed, other people can benefit from the answers that are given to you. That in and of itself makes you so far from worthless. Aside from that, your mom, family, friends – I’m sure if you asked them to describe you worthless wouldn’t be a word that came to mind. I think it’s time you really take a look and see all of the good that is shown to other people, maybe it’ll help you see yourself in a better light.
Your safety is the key.
One very important factor in all of this is your personal safety. Being around your father isn’t a safe place. If he’s living with you right now, is there a family member that you trust that you could talk to about what’s happened and can help you get away from there safely? I’m not sure what your mother said to you, but if she knows that this has happened and didn’t so anything that’s a crime. If you mother is in danger with your father as well, then you both need to get to a safer place. If your mother warned you, does she know what’s happened and can she help you get to a safer place? If not, or if you can’t talk to your mother because she does know what’s happened and hasn’t done anything to help you, would you be comfortable talking with a police officer or a close adult friend that can help you get out safely? If you dad isn’t living with you, can you keep from seeing him?
Another thing I want you to consider is that dealing with rape is very difficult, and it can be very helpful to talk to someone. If you’re not seeing a counselor now, have you ever heard of RAINN? It stands for the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. The link at the bottom is to their main site. They have a telephone hotline number that you can call, but they also have a 24/7 online hotline linked on their main page. It’s a great place to start, and they can help you to find resources in your area as well.
Being a teen is a very difficult time in and of itself, and your experiences have made this time more difficult for you. Whatever the problem though, suicide isn’t the answer. Think about this, you are already a survivor. You’ve pushed through everything and are looking for help, and you deserve better. Whether you realize it or not, you’re very important to the people around you, and they want you to be safe and happy as much as we all do here. Anytime anyone is considering suicide, it’s important to reach to others to help. The number that I’ve linked above and below is an excellent source of support with people that are there to help you. They can also help you to find places around you that can offer additional support/. You’ve made step one by asking for help, now’s the best time to make step two in turning to people that are trained to help you. We’re all in support of you here and want what’s best for you, and being alive, well, and healthy is a huge part of that.
Finally, although a lot of women have periods that aren’t regular, having periods that come this irregularly is something that you really need to be seeing a doctor about. Periods can be missed every once in a while for a lot of different reasons, including stress and excessive weight loss or gain. Because I don’t know when you were raped, you want to also consider the timeframe and whether or not it’s possible you are pregnant. Although this is the last thing someone wants to hear after being raped, you really should see a gynecologist soon so that they can be sure that everything is alright.
If you don’t have a gynecologist yet, you can ask your mother or a female friend who they see, or ask your regular doctor for a referral. Also, the volunteers and staff at RAINN can help you to find someone that would be understanding of what you’ve been through and conduct an exam accordingly. Another place to look for help with that would be Planned Parenthood (linked below as well.)
The exam can be difficult after being raped, and being open with the doctor about that can help them to know that they need to be cautious and talk you through the procedure, and having some else in the room with you can help with this as well. Sometimes the doctors will ask another nurse to sit with you through the procedure to make you more comfortable. Know that it’s your right to ask for that if they don’t offer as well.
I've linked some different resources for you as well as two Scarleteen articles that I think will be helpful to you.