I am not sure if this sort of topic belongs in this forum, but I really need a place to express this.
For some reason stories about girls being raped in the news really disturb me. I know that it's normal to be disturbed by this sort of thing, but sometimes I just feel like after I hear these stories on TV or online or whatever, I just feel extremely angry, sad, and scared. Does anyone else feel the same way?
Usually after I hear a news story about rape I become very interested in it. It's kind of like when people are driving on the highway past a car-wreck and everyone slows down to take a look at it. I think it's human nature to be curious about something that is shocking or disturbing. But usually after I become curious about it, I also feel ashamed for being attracted to it in the first place.
The problem is that especially on TV and online, these news stories provide a lot of graphic details. Even if you're not intentionally looking for them, sometimes you end up reading them/ hearing them anyway without trying.
I often feel "traumatized" for hours or days at a time. I think about the stories over and over and I ask myself "how could people do something so evil?", "why do men do this?", "the world is extremely dangerous" etc. I start to think about how I should not trust any men that I date anymore. I don't hate men but I feel like so many of them fantasize about it and engage in it that it makes me sick to my stomach.
I also have strong opinions about women's rights and this just fuels my rage even more. I mean, let's face it, women very rarely commit rape. And since I am a woman myself, I feel threatened because this is a case of gender inequality.
I understand that I am overgeneralizing. But I can't help it. I hear stories about rape in the news almost every single day. And I can't really avoid the news. Nowadays the media is inescapable.
I was wondering if anyone had similar feelings or if people could offer advice on how to cope with this.
Posts: 107 | From: New England | Registered: Jan 2007
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I don't often get overwhelmed by stuff like that, but occasionally i get really effected. it's horrible.
Sounds like you're taking the news to heart. You could channel that into activity. Something you might consider is volunteering at your local sexual abuse shelter/clinic. You could be positive help for women who need support.
Posts: 172 | From: Australia | Registered: Jul 2008
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Hi tbelle. I'm sorry to hear you've been hurting so much from seeing these news articles. From your posting history I see that you are a survivor of relationship abuse. Have you ever had any counseling for that? Oftentimes when we've experienced one kind of abuse, it makes us more sensitive to other kinds of abuse and so we can become upset if we see other people being harmed. You said that it's hard to avoid the news, but I've not found that to be the case myself. I tend to avoid those news stories a lot (more on that in a moment) and I've found that limiting my time spent online, or only going to certain sites, and bookmarking those sites (as well as bookmarking the login page for my email accounts so I can bypass the stories on Yahoo's front page) helps me to avoid those stories.
I'm a survivor of relationship abuse and partner rape myself, and there was a time when I was struggling quite a bit with my healing, and any news piece about someone being raped or murdered or hurt would upset me greatly, to the point that I'd start crying. I found that going to counseling helped, as did talking with various support persons (family, friends, even professors) about how I was feeling and how those news pieces made me feel, as well as writing/journaling. Once I'd gotten further along in the healing process, I found that I could channel my energy (which had previously been spent getting upset and hurt by reading those news stories) into helping others. Now I volunteer at my local rape crisis center and go out on hospital calls to aid victims of rape through the process, but that was something I had to work towards being able to handle. It's a very emotionally-loaded job, and there's a fair amount of training (and ongoing training) required for it.
I want to stress the difficulty because while I think it's awesome to do this kind of work and I'm always happy to see other people stepping up to it, I'm worried that since you've reacted so strongly to reading those news articles that you may become overwhelmed working with survivors in-person. Rape crisis centers and helplines can pretty much always use more volunteers, but they also don't want their volunteers becoming overwhelmed or traumatized in the process. We can only help others once we’ve helped ourselves.
So you might consider starting out on a smaller level with something that isn't as emotionally intense, get a feel for it, and then see how you feel about working your way up. Something that would be really great to do (and hopefully wouldn't leave you at such a big risk of emotional injury) is raising awareness on your school's campus or in your community about rape and abuse. You could also consider doing fundraisers for your local domestic violence shelters or rape crisis centers. I'd also encourage you to talk about these feelings with a counselor, or perhaps even attending a support group if you feel up to it. Do you know if your school has any sort of support group?
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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i can understand that. im a guy and one of my exes, a few of my friends and my current girlfriend were raped. i get into fits of rage when i think about rape because people who were close to me have been so effected by it. its not healthy but idk wht to do. hopefully my therapist can help
Posts: 16 | From: Michigan | Registered: Jul 2009
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I'm sorry to hear that so many people close to you are rape survivors. It *is* pretty infuriating when you think about it (to say the least!) I don't think getting mad about it is necessarily a bad thing (like if it doesn't cause you to break things or hurt people, of course.) In fact, if it inspires you to get involved in activism or some other form of support, it can be an anger-turned-into-power thing. We have some articles on the site on this very topic:
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