Afraid of being assaulted

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
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This area of the boards is expressly for support and help for those who are currently in or have survived abuse or assault. It is also for those seeking information or discussion about abuse or assault. Please make every effort in this space to be supportive and sensitive. Posts in this area may or do describe abuse or assault explicitly.

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Afraid of being assaulted

Unread postby dudelydude » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:46 pm

I struggle with anxiety and depression with psychotic features. A few months ago I had a few psychotic episodes where I felt that I was being molested. For a long time after that I hated being aroused, and I had a lot of thoughts about self harming in the areas I had been molested. Last week, after talking with my therapist, I miraculously stopped having those thoughts and feelings, and I felt okay with being aroused. It was great!
Recently I have been hearing stories on the news, on websites, from people I know, about being sexually assulted by coworkers, room mates, by people they were dating, aquaintences, long time friends, spouses. Pretty soon Im going to enter the adult world. And I will have coworkers and I will be dating and I will be living in dorms. In addition to this, I will be transitioning (female to male), and I will not pass well at all for a very long time until I have enough money to make a full transition. Also, people think I am very annoying, and very innocent, and very gullible and trusting. Which is all true. For the above reasons I think there is a very high likelyhood of someone attempting or succeeding in sexually assaulting me. 50% of trans people are sexually assaulted, and then theres the whole personality thing that probably increases the chances. Someone already tried to rape me when I was 12, and that was before I knew I was trans and before I got out in the real world. I figure now my chances of being assaulted are so much higher. All I can think about was these horrid past few months that Ive been feeling so terrible about the psychotic episodes, and all I can think about is how I never want to feel that way again.
I am asexual, (which means I never feel sexually attracted to anyone) and if it was my choice Id stay a virgin for the rest of my life. But I feel with the circumstances its just not realistic. And I know I can't tell the future and I don't know if I will ever be raped. All I want in the world is for someone to tell me I wont ever get raped. But no one, with certainty, can. Because no one knows. I am currently a virgin, and it is giving me a horrendous amount of anxiety. I figure the only way to get rid of this anxiety is by having consensual sex with someone I like, so I won't lose my virginity to a rapist. Because being a teenager, everyone talks about sex, and I imagine adults do too. And I feel like if I just assume I will never be raped and I do get raped, every time people bring up sex I will be horribly triggered. I am already horribly triggered by things like suicide jokes and christmas lights, whenever I hear someone name call the word psychotic, and so many other things, I just feel like I wouldn't be able to take it. I don't think I can give myself relief from this anxiety any other way. I guess I just want someone to say that how I feel is reasonable.

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Re: Afraid of being assaulted

Unread postby Heather » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:14 am

Welcome to the boards, dudelydude. I am so tremendously sorry you've been feeling like this, but I'm very glad you're here. We obviously can't fix this -- we'd have to be able to eradicate rape culture, and we do our best to chip away at it, but if only we could just kill it with fire -- but I do think we can help.

I want to work from the bottom of your post up a little bit. Now, I never subscribed to virginity as a concept growing up. Maybe that's because I was myself assaulted before my teens, and I also knew I was queer when I was very young, so it just didn't feel like it was about me, or maybe it's because it comes with a long history of a lot of sexism and religious dogma and cis/hetero-primacy and...well, a whole lot of stuff I also very early on had a real distaste for. But given the work I have done the last 20 years, I have obviously talked about it and worked with people with it a whole lot.

The long story short is that if that whole concept has a shot at being anything but just being a way to keep culturally enforcing sexism and a whole mess of problematic and wrong ideas about sex and bodies (usually women's or children's lives and bodies, most of all), it has to AT LEAST be about wanted, mutually consensual sex, and of any given kind, not just intercourse. It can't be about rape, which isn't sex for at least one person, and most of the time, isn't even so much sex for the person assaulting someone else, either. In other words, I don't think someone can "take" someone's virginity: I think that what that term means for most people, when it's being used in a way with any chance of being positive, is that people are doing something sexual for the first time together. They're making and sharing an experience, not giving or taking anything.

So, if virginity is a framework you subscribe to and want to use, I'd strongly discourage you to figure you have to have any kind of sex with anyone when you don't want to in order to prevent a rapist from "taking your virginity." I don't think a rapist could do that, but I also think if you force yourself to have sex you don't want, you are all by yourself creating a trauma.

I disagree that it's unrealistic that you can choose what you want here: that you can keep choosing not to have sex with others that you don't want. I totally get how harrowing the realities of the world and sexual abuse, and their statistical realities are, but if we want to just focus on numbers, you're actually probably still more likely not to be assaulted than you are to be assaulted, especially since you clearly do have a lot of awareness here, and that can go a really long way at helping you to protect yourself. I think that if you go through life not wanting to have sex with anyone, that is probably within your reach, and I think if that's what you most strongly want for yourself, you should hold to it, rather than giving up on it. I also think you should figure that that isn't actually something someone can choose for you or take away from you: only you can choose to engage in *sex* with someone. Rape isn't sex, something that often couldn't be more clear, in my experience, having experienced both.

I wish -- of course I do -- that I could say I could guarantee you, that anyone, won't ever be sexually, or otherwise, abused or assaulted. But, as you know, I can't. But what I can say is that it is certainly not a guarantee, and that I think living your life in any way where you presume it is is probably going to hurt you no matter what happens. And in the event you ever do have to go through an assault, being able to get through it, including all the years afterwards, is going to be a lot harder if you haven't done what you can to only make the sexual choices you want to, because doing that -- asserting your wanted non-sexual life, in a word -- is a real source of strength.

I want to be clear: I don't think it's unreasonable for you to feel scared. I think any person paying attention would be. But I think the place you're taking this isn't so great, and isn't going to help you out.

I don't want to overwhelm you with a wall of text, so I'll leave this for now, but I'm happy to talk more if you'd like.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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