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Author Topic: confused about rape
Eliza's Aria
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it feels weird for me to be writing on this as i find it so hard to talk about what happened to me but sometimes it all gets too much and i really need to get it all out, i guess i'm afraid to talk freely to anyone as i have so many different feelings. Here's what happened anyway...

just over a year ago i was out with some friends in a club that sells vodka at a ridiculously cheap price, needless to say as it was the end of term i got hideously drunk, i used to drink a lot and usually i could handle, i don't usually suffer from memory loss etc. anyway, i was talking to some friends from my course and then the next thing i can remember is wandering on my own, crying in a place i didn't know, i knocked on the door to what i thought was a nursing home and a lady took me in and rang the police, the next thing i remember was being in the police car crying and not wanting to tell them my address because i was afraid they would arrest me.

I woke up the next morning on the floor of my friends room, not knowing how i got there. I thought i had dreampt the nursing home and the police car, my friends told me i rang the flat bell and they let me in around 4am. i had no bag or keys or phone. They decided it would be best for me to go to a hospital to get checked out just in case, when i got into my room i realised i wasnt wearing any underwear, it was gone. i was now really worried. went to the hospital crying and in a real mess, they didn't do much, took a urine sample and said it would make more sense to go to the police.

so my friends took me to the station where i spent hours upon hours getting questioned and making statements. i didn't go to report a crime, i went to see if there was one to report. they took me to a clinic where i got tested and it became apparent that what i had feared had happened. I had been raped. The place i was wandering around was 6miles away from where i live.

because it was all reported so quickly there was dna all over me basically and within a few months the police found a match with someone on their database. the last i had heard the guy was out on bail and my case was being compiled. he says that we had sex and that i wanted it. it makes me feel sick knowing that he is out there but i can't help but feel guilty because i was so wasted when it all happened.

i have suffered from nightmares since and strange daydream things where i can see shadows coming towards me, it feels so weird for me because i know i was drunk and i don't remember but i often cry to myself and there are days where it is all i can think about, before it happened i had only had sex with one person, a very longterm boyfriend, and since i have gotten drunk that i ended up making a mistake and having a one night stand and it makes me sick. and i just can't get over it, i'm really dreading the trial and i hate that i don't know who the guy is but he knows who i am, but at the same time i think i would be sick if i knew his name...

i don't know why i've even posted here, i think i just needed to vent, but if anyone has anything to say i'd really like to hear.

Posts: 6 | From: Wales | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Ecofem
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Hey Eliza's Aria,

I'm so sorry to hear what you've been going through-- I definitely consider this rape. I will say more to that in a bit-- I have a bunch of thoughts on it.

You are not alone and we want to help support you, both in terms of your feelings as well as through the trial. I have to go right now and will not be back until late Saturday afternoon (I'm five hours behind you) but I will definitely write more tomorrow. However, hopefully another volunteer or a fellow user will get the chance to talk to you first before then.

In the meantime, I want to send you lots of compassion and love (you know, in that supportive, I-care-about-you) kind of way.) I hope you can get some rest tonight. <3

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atm1
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Hi Eliza's Aria,

I am very sorry to hear what has happened to you, and, as a couple close friends of mine have gone through the process of taking their rapist to trial, I know it can be a very difficult and conflicting process.

The first thing I want to make sure you realize is that a person as drunk as you were simply cannot give consent. They can't drive, in most places, they can't sign legal documents that will hold up in court, and they absolutely cannot give consent. I am also sure that there is no way anyone who saw you that night could mistake what type of a state you were in. What all of this says is that someone terrible chose to rape you because he saw that you were vulnerable. It was entirely something he did. You said that his DNA was in the system--meaning he's likely done something like this before. His actions have everything to do with him and nothing to do with you .

Nothing here is your fault. No matter what choices we make, we all have the right to be safe. Unfortunately, there are people who prey on people who are somehow impaired in their ability to fight back, whether that's due to alcohol, drugs, or a disability. This does not make the victims responsible at all--it makes the perpetrators predators.

Your responses to what happened to you are completely normal. Have you sought out counseling? It is something I strongly recommend in situations like this, because there are often so many emotions and memories to be worked out. What your describing sounds like post traumatic stress, and a counselor can give you tools to help combat it. The police might also be able to direct you to a counselor who has dealt with rape victims going to trial before, so you might want to ask the officers who have been handling your case.

When is the trial, and have you made a plan about how to prepare yourself mentally for it?

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Ecofem
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Hello again, Eliza's Aria,

I hope you've been ok so far this weekend. I apologize for not writing sooner but I'm glad that atm1 has stepped in. She's very knowledgeable and helpful and caring. [Smile]

I would like to reiterate everything atm1 has said and add a few more points. As she said, what happened is NOT your fault in ANY way, not for any reason. Additionally, while I am no expert in the effects of alcohol, etc., I believe that this person may have later given you something else like a drug. What you describe in terms of memory loss, wandering around not knowing where you are, etc. sounds like he may very well have drugged you, too. If the last thing you remember was talking to people from your course, there is absolutely no way you could have given consent; of course, being drunk means not being able to give consent in any case.

As atm1 said, too, it sounds like this guy is someone they already know has a record. If he was out on bail and was in the system already, I would believe he is already a convinced criminal. While I'm normally one to be careful with such labels or terminology, I think it's appropriate to bring up here. If this person is, say, already a convicted sex offender, history and the law are going to be already more on your side than were he someone without a criminal background.

I can understand how you feel scared to know that he's out there and knows who you are (although he doesn't necessarily know your name or where you live or even totally recognize you.) Is there someone at the police station you could talk to about safety and legal issues, such as referring you to a victim's advocate or support network? I'm so sorry to hear about your experience at the police station. I am very upset that our [as in, pretty much the whole world] justice systems are set up to make the victims of such crimes feel like they are trial.

That said, I know there are many supportive, compassionate police officers who can offer help to people going through things like you are. Of course, a counselor would be the best bet, if you're not looking into that already. If you are not feeling up to these things, and I can certainly understand if that is the case, could a friend make the calls for you to help get you the services you are entitled to?

I do not know how the legal system in the UK works specifically, but I assume the state/government is prosecuting him with you as the Complainant and he has been appointed a defense attorney? Can his past convictions be discussed? Is his name ever going to be made public so other people could come forward? Etc. In addition to atm1's question about the trial, is there someone who can help guide you through it in advance in terms of the legal proceedings in addition to the emotional support.

I'd like to ask a question for clarification: Have you started drinking more and had the one night stand happen since then? If so, I'd like to talk about that more.

How has your in-person support been like? Are there friends and/or family you can go to about this? How's university been? What are some things in your life that you have found enjoyable or positive recently?

Would you be interested in hearing other people's accounts of rape and abuse as well as their road to recovery? I really feel for you; you experienced something horrible but your life can and will get better again. It's understandable that this is what you're thinking of all the time right now, especially with the trial coming up. As hard as it will be, I think that processing this -- with the help of a counselor and other supporters-- as well as (trying to) find things that you can enjoy, doing stuff that is about you and your strengths and positives. Because you are you, Eliza's Aria, first and foremost; that can be hard to 'remember' when you're understandably so focused on other stuff but I'd like to help you get there again.

Thanks for sharing. By posting here, you're also helping others. You're definitely not alone although it can feel like that. I know you're strong and wish you the best. xoxo

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Eliza's Aria
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Thank you both so much for replying i feel like i'm not alone in the way i've been thinking, making me feel more normal in a way.

Immediately after everything happened i was drinking more but i hardly drink at all now i think upon reflection the 4months after it all were like a massive bender and i didn't realise i was doing it. The one night stand was just once, immediately after it i thought i was glad it happened as it distracted my head from thinking about the rape as the last sexual occurrance in my life, and i suppose while now i'm not pleased that i did it, i think it has made me less afraid to have sex again but i havent done it again, no.


with regards to the trial i'm a bit shut out to be honest, i last spoke to the police in early september and they said that it was going to take a long time before it would come to trial and i don't like contacting them as it generally trends to upset me, i have told my dad that i'd like him to ring them for me sometime soon, but not yet as my taking exams at the moment and if there is anything major to report it would mess my head up.

so that brings me onto university. Last year i started uni in wales, i moved here from ireland, i'm doing law. However it all happened just before the final semester started and i had to take some time out of uni, when i came back it was exam time and i failed 2 out of 4 them, then i had to resit them in the summer, that was during my silly bender though and i failed them again one of them was one mark off a pass so i was pretty devastated. I did let my personal tutor know my circumstances but it really didn't seem to make much of a difference to the outcome. I had to take this year out of university as the law school's policy is that you cannot continue your studies carrying a fail in any module, so i'm taking the exams soon ( they haven't been classed as resits though- given my circumstances). It has made this year harder for me though, given that most people in my year just think i'm stupid and failed and i've had a lot of time to myself which has been good in some ways and bad in others. it's been hard. But i think overal i generally did need the time out of uni as my head probably wouldn't have concentrated on law, especially since i would have been studying criminal and rape is a large module of it. I'll be doing that in my final year instead, wanted to avoid it for another while as i don't think i could put up with the rape jokes that so many of the guys think are funny in the classes.

i haven't looked into councilling, i don't think i would like to as i find it very difficult to talk about, even writting on here was a massive step for me. I do have a few friends that have been great though and my mum and dad have been so good so i feel like i can talk to them if i ever need to, however i have to say this has helped me, hearing back from people has really helped. so thank you.

Posts: 6 | From: Wales | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
atm1
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I'm glad to hear that you have some really supportive friends and family, and that you've been able to take the time that you've needed away from school. It sounds like you have a good strategy in terms of asking your dad to call the police once your exams are done.

It's also great that you're taking care of yourself in terms of not drinking. I definitely had a chunk of time when I drank much more than I should have (even though that was still less than many of my friends--I'm just not someone meant to drink often) after my rape.

It could also be a while before you are ready for a sexual relationship. It's totally normal for it to take time to be able to build a healthy sexual relationship after rape. I do have one question about this though--after your rape, did you get tested for STDs? Did you get tested twice, once soon after the event and once six months later? That's the best way to be sure that you didn't contract anything either from the rape or the one night stand.

Even if counseling is not something you want to pursue right now (which is totally fine, everyone goes at their own pace), I will still recommend it in the case that you are asked to testify at the trial, simply because a professional can help you through that process a lot more than we can.

I'd also like to give you this link, which is someone's story of beginning to heal after sexual abuse and assault: From Victim To Survivor

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Ecofem
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Hi Eliza's Aria,

In addition to echoing the nice things atm1 said about you, I'd like to add this.

First, I understand where you're coming from about the one night stand afterwards. While it's too bad you feel bad about it now (although there's really nothing 'wrong' with one night stand when they're mutually desired), there's something nice and even liberating-feeling about having a sexual experience that is wanted after rape or sexual abuse. I know this firsthand; while I also later looked back to the stuff to follow and realized that wasn't perhaps the best thing for me to have done in my mindspace at the time, they also served a purpose in a good way on other levels.

I'm sorry to hear about how what happened effected your exams. I also can imagine how having this happen in when you're in a foreign country (even if it's not all *that* far from home) dealing with a new experience (uni) can make the whole thing extra hard. I'm so glad you have so supportive family and friends. [Smile] I think it's absolutely fine that you are resitting (if not technically) your exams and I wish you luck! (Hey, it takes all different amounts of time due to various circumstances...)

I think it's so neat that you are studying law!! I believe that through law and the legal system, so much positive change can be made in the world. (I often wish I had the 'brain' for something like law or medicine because I know all the good I could do that way, even if I've found some other good stuff.) It's neat that you will be able to help bring upon that change through your future career. [Smile] As for the topic coming up in class discussions, I've been there and done that in terms of bursting out crying in class during one such discussion-turned-bad with an insensitive classmate. (Everyone thought he was a moron, to say the least.) Perhaps there's a way to talk to your lecturers before class about how some things are very touchy from personal experience, although technically it's something all should know and keep in mind...

I understand how talking about rape, even in therapy which can ultimately help a lot, can feel heavy and not be something you want to do right now. I personally found that the more I talked about my experiences, be it with understanding friends or even here on the boards, the more recovered I felt over time. (Just to throw that out...)

Again, good luck with your exams! [Smile]

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Eliza's Aria
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Well i have had one exam and it was horrible [Frown] but i tried my best. i have 3 weeks until my next one !! ekk! thanks so much for replying to me, i really think it is helping me, even just for me to accept it more as something that i am living with, it makes it easier not to get mega upset when i can freely discuss stuff on a more regular basis, so thanks.

i was going through some message boards on a uk student site today and i was completely outraged, a guy started a thread by saying that he thought rapists shouldn't get punished for raping women because they were simply sexually frustrated and locking them up wasn't going to help them. Thankfully so many people had posted back with important relevant information. it makes me so sad to see that so many people have such ill thoughts. i also came across a case actually where a girl who had applied for compensation for her rape got it cut by 25 % because she had previously been drinking. immediately i thought how horrific that was for her, the outcome of this would suggest that by drinking she had contributed and therefore what happened to her could have been avoided... disgusting. it is shocking that people think by drinking it is the victims own fault for being attacked, rather than seeing the criminal as preying on them while they are vulnerable. I know before everything happened to me i probably would have had that view also, so it is difficult to see it from an inside view when it hasn't happened to you, but i think people really need to be educated more on the issue. it is so awful. A few friends said to me recently about seeking compensation for it, do you have any more information on what it involves? i really hadn't thought much about it and i'm pretty clueless about it, i suppose it would be worthwhile to see if it was something i'd be interested in at least.

oh i didn't get tested 6months after just immediately after... is it likely that i could still have contracted something now? i didn't after the ons because a condom was used and the guy wasn't someone random he was a guy that i know fairly well.

thanks again for listening to me. x

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Ecofem
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Hey Eliza's Aria!

Glad to hear that talking about this all here has helped a bit. [Smile] [And, hey, I bet you did better on that exam than you think!] I totally, totally here you on people having ill thoughts and being flat out ignorant and cruel... thoughtless, really. As you said, it's lack of education and compassion.

I've had some yucky run-ins with apologists and deniers, but I've found that just avoiding such confrontations as much as possible is best. [As hard as it can be when you stumble across them.] They are some really, really crappy people out there but way more good ones; I know at times I have to try to remember that because there's always bad stuff to make me feel just devastated by the, well, inhumanity of humanity at times.

Reading about the girl's rape kit compensation getting cut makes me sooo mad! As for seeking compensation, you mean thru NHS for the kit? I'm not familiar with the system but can ask an UK-based volunteer for some ideas. [Argh, this is definitely something no one should have to pay for!!]

I would recommend getting a second round of tests just to be sure; I'm not saying you have anything but a lot of STIs can take awhile to show up. [Btw, while I know you know this, the fact that he used a condom and that you knew the guy fairly well still means, of course, that it was rape. Just because some people can be crap and tell you otherwise but definitely not here.]

You're welcome, and, again, good luck with everything. [Smile]

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atm1
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[Actually, Lena, I think she was talking about knowing the guy who was the one night stand pretty well. Is that right?]

But, I still do encourage you to get tested again, for exactly the reason Lena said.

Unfortunately, I really don't have information about seeking compensation. That's information you could get from the police, or by calling up a local women's shelter.

I also wanted to point you towards Pandora's Aquarium (http://www.pandys.org/) an online forum for survivors. I've heard that they have a lot of UK members so I bet someone there would know (you could just start a thread there like you did here). They might even be more helpful for talking about the process of going to trail than we could be, just because you'll get a wider range of first hand experiences there (but you're certainly welcome to stay here! I just want to offer some more resources, not push you away).

[ 05-14-2009, 08:33 AM: Message edited by: atm1 ]

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Eliza's Aria
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thank you both so much, (yes i was talking about the one night stand) but i think i will go for more tests just to be sure, no one ever mentioned to me before that stds can take a while to show, so thank you for that!
Posts: 6 | From: Wales | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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