Assault?

Questions and discussion about sexual or other abuse or assault, and support and help for survivors.
Forum rules
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.

This area of the boards is also not an area where those who are themselves abusing anyone or who have abused or assaulted someone may post about doing that or seek support. We are not qualified to provide that kind of help, and that also would make a space like this feel profoundly unsafe for those who are being or who have been abused. If you have both been abused and are abusing, we can only discuss harm done to you: we cannot discuss you yourself doing harm to others. If you are someone engaging in abuse who would like help, you can start by seeking out a mental healthcare provider.
carot18
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Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:33 pm

This summer I met this boy on tinder. We talked and then met up at a coffee shop and eventually we ended up back at my apartment. He started to kiss me and I quickly told him I wouldn’t have sex with him. He said okay but then proceeded to keep asking me probably about five times. I also felt like I wasn’t there the whole time, like I was dissociating and so I worry more happened. I don’t think we had sex but I know we came close and I had to keep pushing him away. Just today I remembered just how close he got without me telling him yes he could come that close or responding enthusiastically whatsoever. Is this sexual assault? I know I won’t be pursuing anything legally and I’m not sure it matters because I have been cleared of STIs and am not pregnant, but it was scary and I’d like some answers.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:09 am

Hi carot18,

That does sound like a scary and stressful situation for him to have put you through. Given that he kept pushing past your boundaries after you repeatedly telling him no or pushing him away, he was clearly putting his desires ahead of your limits and consent. Which fits most people's definition of a sexual assault. However, it's ultimately up to you to decide what you want to call it. If calling it sexual assault feels right to you and helps you make sense of what happened, then you get to call it that (and for the record, I do think being able to put a name or a definition to an experience matters, so I'm glad you reached out to ask us for help).

Given what I've said, is there a way we can best support you around all this?

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Tue Oct 17, 2017 4:20 pm

I'm not really sure what the next step would be or what I could do to feel better. I just know I want to. I feel like I'm somewhat blaming myself but I also don't understand why I justified this for four months before realizing it was a bigger problem and not okay as I have now. I'm seeing a therapist and she's helpful, but she thinks I should stop thinking about it because it will just keep hurting me, but I need to understand why I feel like this.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:34 am

It's awfully hard not to think about a sexual assault, especially if and when you haven't yet had any real time to process it, get support around it and start to heal. Have you and your therapist done any of that work yet -- or have you gotten support from others, if not them -- about this assault?

Why you feel scared and upset is because you were assaulted: that is usually a very scary, very upsetting thing, so it's very common for people to feel scared and upset during and after someone assaults them. It's also scary and upsetting to have an experience that shows us that even when we say no, or even when we push someone away with our bodies, those clear limits and boundaries sometimes that won't be respected. It's scary to find out that can happen, and can make it feel scarier to live in the world after.

I disagree that talking about an assault is something someone who survives one (or more) should stop doing. Most often, silence hurts instead of helps, and breaking that silence, and talking about it with people who are supportive, is how we heal. So, we're certainly glad to talk with you about this as much as you'd like to.
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

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 10:49 am

I’m already starting to feel a general distrust for boys I didn’t know before the assault. They might want to hurt me as well. I hope one day I can move past that but I’m not sure if I will. I’m wondering if this is why I’ve been feeling so off all semester. It seemed like I’d be doing okay for awhile and then every so often I’d get really anxious or sad. I wonder if I had to work through this and try to process it before I could get past how much more anxious and sad it was making me feel than I usually was. I think one good thing is that I’m not in contact with this boy and can figure out what would help me without worrying about his perception of anything.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:15 am

It's not surprising. Look, we live in a world where a lot of boys and men are sexually socialized poorly, which is why men and boys are more often the people engaging in sexual abuse. And then you had an experience which further validates those fears. So, feeling more wary from the front no matter what is just a real thing, and now all the more so.

You will likely move past it one day, especially with both time and doing things that can help you process and heal from this. After all, more men and boys do NOT assault people than those who do, and you also will often get the chance to build trust so you can learn who to trust individually over time. But when it's so fresh, and you really haven't even had a chance o talk about it it,trying to get there already is likely to be too soon. I'd suggest you just accept how you're feeling for now and honor it. Let it be for now: it's how you're feeling and it's valid and okay.
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

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:36 am

Okay I’m going to try to remember just to let my feelings feel valid and normal for now. Thank you for your support!

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:40 am

Of course. Feel free to come around for more help and support with this whenever 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

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:43 am

Thank you and I really think I might if I start having anxiety and sadness again. Would I start a new thread or just post on this one?

Heather
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:48 am

Whichever you prefer. :)
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

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:53 am

Thank you, Heather!

Heather
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Oct 18, 2017 11:55 am

You're welcome. :)
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

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Wed Oct 18, 2017 5:09 pm

I remember how he started to come inside me when he was grinding up against me and how I had to push him away. Then he half-heartedly apologized. I just have so many questions about what would have happened if I hadn’t pushed him away. And I’m just sad that he thought he could put his tip in me without me asking. I don’t know why this happened and I wish I had answers. I’m sad and upset

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:25 am

It's common after an assault to run through all kinds of "what ifs" in your head. Part of that may be your brain processing what happened and trying to come up with ways that the incident could have ended differently. As thought experiments go, it's not always the most helpful. When you feel those what ifs coming, it's okay to acknowledge them and then remind yourself that they aren't what happened. That way you're focusing on healing from what did happen, rather than from all the things that might have happened.

As Heather mentioned, it's completely understandable that you're feeling upset. This guy did something deliberately bad to you, something that is incredibly scary and upsetting. You're reacting to and processing through the fact that happened, which means you're feeling some rough emotions. The only person who could truly answer why he did this is him (although I doubt he'd be honest if someone asked him directly). And it can suck to know you'll never get an explanation for why someone hurt you, but knowing that explanation isn't coming can also give you more energy to devote to your own healing, rather than to puzzling out his motives. Does that make sense?

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:54 am

Okay I’m going to try to not think about the what ifs of the situation. And it does make sense. I haven’t talked to him since the encounter and he hasn’t tried to contact me either. I’m really not thinking he will at this point because it’s been about four months. How can I heal? I’m not sure what else I can do to feel better but I wish I could feel better sooner rather than later

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:14 am

Would you be open to working with a counselor or organization that exist specifically to help survivors, since it sounds like your therapist doesn't quite grasp how healing from assault works? We could help you locate one if you'd like, and it would give you another level of support to help you heal from this.

Are there other people in your life who you feel you could ask for support, like friends or family?

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:19 am

I might try to talk to my therapist about this again next time I see her and I have Great and supportive friends, but I can’t really talk to my parents about this kind of thing because they already blame me for him coming up to my apartment even though I didn’t even know it was happening. I’m away at school out of state so luckily I don’t have a lot of reason to talk to them about this, but I could maybe look for a counselor down out of state.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:45 am

That sounds like a plan, although you may want a back-up plan in case she still isn't quite getting it. Something you could try is searching online for "rape crisis center" plus your area to find out what resources you have access to. Those resources almost always have a hotline, which can be great if you're not able (or not ready) to see one of their counselors in person.

I'm sorry your parents are blaming you for what happened. Unfortunately, the victim blaming ideas run so deep in so many cultures that they can cause people to be supportive of loved ones who are survivors. You're friends sound supportive, which is awesome. You might find it helpful to spend extra time connecting with them right now (either in person or through things like texting), because supportive friends offer a distraction from a lot of the bad feelings and also give you a space where you can feel safe.

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:37 am

Okay I mean is it okay if I contact them even though it wasn’t rape? I didn’t go into details with them about the assault or what happened exactly, they just know we kissed. I’m scared to tell them more because I really think they’ll really blame me more. That’s a good idea. I’m going to keep trying to connect with them.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Thu Oct 19, 2017 9:50 am

It is! When I worked at a rape crisis center, people contacted us after experiencing different kinds of sexual assault or harassment, and what this guy did to you falls well within the kind of situations rape crisis centers deal with and offer support for (too, many people use rape/sexual assault as interchangeable terms).

If you think your parents would continue blaming you if you give them more details, then I would say your best bet is to not share that information with them. Obviously it's up to you how much you want to tell them, but right now it would be sound to focus on telling people who you know will support you. Because you deserve support right now, not blame.

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 4:41 pm

Yes I don't think I'm going to go into any more details about the situation. I don't think it's worth it especially because I have support from my friends. I think I am going to contact a rape crisis center and see if they can help me. Thanks for your help!

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Fri Oct 20, 2017 6:59 am

You're very welcome :)

carot18
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Re: Assault?

Unread postby carot18 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 8:14 pm

So I'm starting to feel like I'm just being overdramatic and I'm getting really sad and anxious and I don't know what to do. I know it's not cut and dry but I feel like the fact that I'm this upset about it means something really happened. I posted my question in yahoo answers which seems really dumb now, but for some reason having the validation from others helps. It went really poorly but now I'm even sadder and more anxious. Here is the link: https://answers.yahoo.com/question/inde ... ptabuse=1#. I don't know what to do at this point. I reported this person to tinder, but I'm just losing it and I don't know what to do but I'm really sad and I guess I'm just crazy and easy and really my feelings aren't valid. I don't know what else to do at this point.

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:09 am

Hi Carot,

I'm sorry you're having a flare-up of rough emotions. That's not at all surprising, given that you're still in the middle of processing what happened, so as much as you can try not to blame yourself or call yourself overdramatic. You're reacting in a common way to something really bad being done to you (and even if this wasn't a common reaction, you still get to feel however you feel about what was done). As you've unfortunately found out, crowdsourcing support after an assault can be a tricky proposition, given the ways in which so many people react negatively to survivors. If you're looking for places to feel validated, you're welcome to keep talking here. You may also want to check out Pandora's Aquarium http://pandys.org/forums/index.php . It's specifically for survivors who want to support and be supported by other survivors.

Have you had any luck connecting to a rape crisis resource?

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Re: Assault?

Unread postby Iwanthelp » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:04 am

I made the mistake of clicking that yahoo link and holy shit those responses are awful, I'm sorry. None of the people responding know what they're talking about and honestly sound like they shouldn't have sex themselves, being on tinder/inviting a person into the home is not automatic consent. You set a limit and he repeatedly pushed against it to the point of asking five times, trying to stealthily break it and then trying to laugh it off and pretend it wasn't a completely shitty thing to do. That's not okay. (The example of 'sounds like' the charles poster gives is bogus, most people don't push for prosecution in the first place and don't get prosecution, what actually happens is the rapist thinks it 'doesn't count' because they don't feel they meet the general stereotype of a rapist so they think its' some ambiguous wiggly grey-area when it's really, really not)


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