rape aftermath

Brand-new? This is the place for your questions and discussions on any and all topics, with fellow users or staff, while you get your feet wet.
deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:13 pm

[size=200][/size]
I am new to this website and was directed here by my therapist so I thought I'd introduce others to my situation and ask for advice/help on returning back to my normal life.

I was raped and physically and verbally abused by a male cousin of mine who is two years older for about 12 years. I knew about the verbal and physical abuse and for most of my life just labeled him as an awful person and thought nothing else about it. I have been blind my whole life and when I was 13 got hit with a few different types of chronic pain that I have had ever since. I had to drop out of school in eighth grade as I wasn't able to do the required schoolwork because of all of my different illnesses. ( I am currently 22 and still working towards my GED) For most of my life I never knew about my rape, until I was prescribed a medicine to try and help with one of my illnesses three years ago which brought back all of the memories of rape I had repressed my whole life. In the span of 6-8 months I learned I was raped by him at least 3 times. I immediately went to tell my mom who didn't believe me but luckily my therapist helped explain things to her and then the two of us had to try and explain what had happened to the rest of my family which has now ended in me losing about half of my family who don't believe me and now don't talk to me. While all of this was happening my cousin who had abused my was at college and actually got accused of sexually assaulting another girl but denied doing anything to me. He admitted to the physical abuse but said that he couldn't have raped me because he is asexual.

It has now been 3+ years and luckily I haven't remembered anything new in a few months but I am so tired. I have been depressed for years so that's nothing new but the body dysmorphia (avoiding mirrors and hating my body in general) and self harming which thankfully is getting better are all new things that I am just not used to dealing with.

Any advice is welcome, and thank you for reading such a long post :)

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Jan 23, 2021 9:01 am

Hi deceptacon8199,

You say you're tired and I absolutely see why; processing all that trauma and the fallout in the span of a few months can be so, incredibly draining. I'm glad you've had the support of your therapist and at least some of your family, even if the fact that the other members of it have sided with him. I'm sorry they're choosing to believe him over you; you deserve all the support you can get.

Since you're dealing with a lot of overlapping things, what would be the most helpful area to discuss with us first? For instance, you mention wanting to get yourself and your life back to a place where you feel normal again. Would it help to talk about the things that are most in the way of that? Or to start even smaller and talk about what you want that "normal" to look like?

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Sat Jan 23, 2021 11:26 pm

Hi Sam,

Thanks for the very kind and understanding message. It would be the most helpful for me to try and deal with the guilt and shame that comes with rape because at least thats something I can actively try and fix/understand, rather than my physical health which I honestly can't do much about.

Alexa
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 159
Joined: Fri Jul 12, 2019 10:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: i make the world's best pancakes!
My primary language: English
My pronouns: she/her/ella
My sexual identity and orientation: queer, pansexual
Location: Chicago, IL

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Alexa » Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:42 am

Hey deceptacon8199,

We can definitely talk that out here. I want to start out by saying -- because I feel like you can never hear it enough -- that what happened to you is real, we believe you, and NONE of it was your fault. In my own experience, so much of the shame and guilt of survivorship can come from having people deny what happened to you over and over again, or tell you that anything about what happened was a result of your own behavior. It isn't. Rapists are at fault for raping, full stop.

I wonder if you could tell us a bit about how your shame and guilt manifest in your life? That will tell us more about how we can address it, together. Do you hesitate to discuss it with people even when it would make you feel better to talk things out? Do you talk around it with people, not addressing things that are really bothering or affecting you? etc.

Also, I'm glad that it sounds like you have a good therapist. That's so important. Have you talked together about healing from some of the shame that you're experiencing?
Alexa K.
Scarleteen Team

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 8:56 am

Dear Sam,

I am lucky to have a good therapist who I finally feel comfortable talking to after seeing so many. I see her twice a week and have learned a lot of the standard coping mechanisms. The one that seems to help me the most is mindfulness and a kind of escapism of taking yourself somewhere safe even if it's just in your head. Oddly enough, when talking to people, I almost feel like I talk about it too much. Since he is my cousin and we live less then five minutes from each other, we went to the same high school so most of my friends know him. I feel like I steer the subject towards what happened to me and make people uncomfortable. I feel like most of the shame and guilt I have has been pushed down and turned inward (which I know is not great) and I just start to feel dirty and hate myself even more.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:06 am

I'm glad you've found tools to help you deal with the aftermath of all this, and that you've been able to find a therapist you're comfortable with (that can certainly take a few tries).

With those worries about talking about this too much, do you feel like you're the one introducing your cousin into conversation? Or is it that other people bring him up and you end up explaining why you'd rather not talk about him/hear how great he was? Too, if you're really worried you're making people uncomfortable, can you talk with the friends you're closest to and say something along the lines of "it's important to me to be open about what I've gone through, but if it's ever too much and we need to break from talking about it, please let me know?" That ways you're letting them know that you appreciate their being there for you, but also acknowledging that sometimes, a friend may not be in a headspace to support you around the assaults, and that's an okay boundary for them to have.

I do want to say that sometimes discussing what happened to you may make people uncomfortable because they don't want to believe you or don't want to change their view of your cousin. If that's the case, it's not on you to manage that discomfort.

Have you and your therapist talked at all about what to do when those feelings of shame and self-hate arise?

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Sun Jan 24, 2021 10:34 am

Dear Sam,

When talking about what has happened to me I definitely introduce it into the conversation, wether to make a deprecating joke (which I know isn't good) or to just talk about what has happened to me in life. The funny thing is that every person I have told outside my family who know him completely believe me and don't think it's that much of a stretch. I will definitely talk to my friends and set that boundary, I don't know why I didn't think of it before! I honestly haven't been brave enough to bring up the topic of shame and self-hate with my therapist but I will hopefully be able to soon. I also wanted to say that one of the hardest things about what happened to me is since it happened so long ago (when I was 6 until I was around 7 or 8) I don't have any physical evidence to prove what has happened. It really is a "he said she said" situation and that's hard when he has been the clear favorite cousin in our family all my life. thank you for all of your help so far by the way! I also deal with feeling very vulnerable and like I can't defend myself physically which makes me feel like a frail small child even though I am in my 20's. I would take self-defense classes but I can't because of my disabilities

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jan 25, 2021 7:57 am

I hope that conversation with your friends goes well! And I'm glad they've been willing to believe you when you tell them what happened; from the sound of it, the fact they're outside of your family and therefore not bought into the narrative of your cousin being good is a big help. I completely understand that frustration with the lack of physical evidence; it often feels like, if you just had a concrete piece of proof, everyone would believe you. But it's worth keeping in mind that, even if you did have physical proof, some of your family members might react the same way they are now because they're so invested in seeing your cousin a certain way. So while it's totally okay to feel that frustration, it can also help to channel some of that "if only" energy into taking care of yourself.

Do you want to brainstorm how to raise the topics of shame and self-hate with your therapist, so that when you're ready it's not as daunting to do so?

I also wonder, do you think it's worth talking with your therapist about feeling physically vulnerable and talking about options other than self-defense class for helping you feel more protected? Although there are an increasing number of self-defense classes designed for disabled folks, so you could also check those out. This article lists a few, as well as how to find ones in your area: http://aabr.org/2019/06/26/self-defense ... abilities/

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:22 am

Dear Sam,

Thank you for your encouraging words, they help a lot! To be honest, I don't really know how to channel that energy into anything other than anger. I would love to try and think of ways to bring up the ways I feel about myself to my therapist because I feel like they'd seem ridiculous if I talk about them to other people. To help, heres a little bit of background on my physical appearance that I think might help: I have been underweight my whole life because I am missing part of my large intestine that digests sugar among other things and was only able to pass 100lb's about three years ago. I have started gaining more weight because of a medication I take and now way about 125 and I don't know how to handle it, I'm not used to having my thighs touch each other or having fat in places that I never thought I would. I also know that you really need to be your true self and not hold anything back from your therapist because they can't help you if they don't know the full picture but I just feel so embarrassed and almost like it's stupid and childish to be feeling certain things that it makes it quite hard to communicate properly but I would certainly like to make a start. Thank you very much for the link, I will definitely look into it!

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jan 25, 2021 8:50 am

You're welcome!

There are a few starting places that might help in terms of opening up to your therapist about that self-hate. One is to be open about the fact that it feels childish to you and you're nervous to discuss it. If your therapist is aware that there's a subject you want to talk about but feel silly doing so, they can help build a space for you to feel more confident talking about it, or ease you into the conversation. You can also try writing your feelings down and sharing them with your therapist in a note to start; sometimes people have an easier time communicating things they feel shameful about via writing rather than speech. Do either of those options sound workable to you?

I also want to offer a thought for reframing those changes in your body. There's a culture tendency to treat any kind of weight gain as automatically a bad thing (and there are a LOT of issues with that thinking). From what you're describing, it sounds like the weight gain is part of you managing your overall health, which isn't a bad thing. So, when you notice those changes or things like your thighs touching, saying something like "this is the result of me taking care of myself" can help head off those more negative thoughts.

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:18 am

Dear Sam,

I actually reached for a pen and paper when I remembered my rape because I didn't want to forget any of the details and it definitely seemed easier for me to communicate to her that way. When it comes to my body and also managing my anger and sadness towards my family I tend to just think illogically until I snap back to reality and realize what i'm thinking doesn't make sense.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jan 25, 2021 9:25 am

That sounds like it might be the strategy to try when broaching the topic of self-hate with your therapist, then!

It's absolutely okay to still have moments where you don't think "logically;" healing from trauma can bring up a lot of emotions and thoughts, including ones that don't line up with what we otherwise think or know. The fact that you're able to snap yourself back from those thoughts is a positive sign, because it means you're learning how to interrupt thought patterns that might be unhelpful.

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 3:52 pm

Dear Sam,

I'm glad thats is something good, I have always thought that I haven't really made a lot of progress but I am glad to hear something good. I also wanted to say that because of the pandemic, he and his mother have come back to live with our grandmother who live literally less than 5 minutes away from me which make me feel just so scared and panicked. I will let you know that I am safe because I have a good protective mother and because I sat my father down and told him to reach out and tell them not to come see me, and I was very surprised he did it because he is kind of a coward when it comes to his family. I have trouble leaving my house because of how scared I am that I will run into them.

Mo
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 1999
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:57 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I'm always wearing seriously fancy nail polish.
My primary language: English
My pronouns: he/him, they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queer/bisexual

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Mo » Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:30 pm

With him now living so close to you, it makes a lot of sense that you might be feeling extra afraid and upset right now. Do you think it would be helpful at all for you to make a plan for what you want to do if you do happen to see or run into him? Sometimes I find that if I'm worried about something big and stressful, making a plan for a worst-case scenario can make me feel more prepared and secure than worrying about it without really knowing how I'd handle the situation.

In terms of those moments when you aren't thinking logically, I wonder if it would help to have a place where you write down some things you do know, like what Sam said about recognizing weight gain as part of you taking care of your health and your body, so that you can return to it in a time when you're feeling worried. Some people like to write out affirmation-type statements and put them somewhere visible where they're easy to come across, but you could keep them in a little notebook or the notes app on your phone if that feels better.

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 5:47 pm

Dear Mo,

Thank you for replying, I actually have tried thinking of what I would do if I were to run into him but I really can't think of anything that makes sense enough to me to keep me "safe" enough to go walking around the neighborhood. I just feel like since that whole side of my family agrees with him it would just be hopeless. I also will definitely start writing down phrases of affirmation in my notebook! I also want to share that I have trouble connecting with people who haven't been through what I have. I had it a little bit before I realized I was raped because of all of my chronic pain but I now just have trouble caring and giving sound advice to people's problems when I talk to them because they all seem so frivolous and nothing.

Mo
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 1999
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:57 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I'm always wearing seriously fancy nail polish.
My primary language: English
My pronouns: he/him, they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queer/bisexual

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Mo » Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:00 pm

Your therapist might be a good resource for that kind of planning; I don't know if you've told them that your cousin has moved back so close but coming up with some ways to make yourself feel safer, if you're able to, might be something that they could help with.

I can understand why it might be tough to connect with people if they haven't had to face the kind of trauma you've had to deal with. Are there people you do feel close and connected to right now who could be a good source of encouragement or support?

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Mon Jan 25, 2021 6:42 pm

I have told my therapist about him moving back so close and we are working on it, the hard part (about any therapy actually) is that it takes time and maybe i'm just too impatient. I honestly can't think of anyone in my life that I would want to tell how tough it is to connect with people because I wouldn't want them to think that I'm conceited or over reacting. My dad is useless because it's his side of the family so all he'll do is defend them and my mom wouldn't even let me use the word rape, for the longest time she wanted me to use the word tortured instead. I found out only recently that it was because it was too upsetting for her to hear and use the word rape.

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 7290
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Sam W » Tue Jan 26, 2021 7:58 am

It's great that you and your therapist are already working on what to do now that he's moved close. Have the two of you gotten far in terms of generating a basic safety plan for what you'll do if you run across him? Given how half of your family denies what your cousin did, I'd encourage you to make sure that safety plan has steps in place for if they try to force proximity to hi (like invite him and others over, or take you somewhere he'll be).

I think it's really sound to recognize that therapy often takes more time to generate change than we hope. But I will say that nearly every survivor I've spoken with has expressed that frustration, so it's not a matter of you being particularly impatient. And even if it was, you're allowed to feel impatient when dealing with the aftermath of something that wasn't your fault.

Have you ever looked into a support group for survivors of sexual assault? That would give you a support network and people to talk with who understand some of what you've been through.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8546
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Heather » Tue Jan 26, 2021 8:51 am

Hey, deceptacon. I just wanted to pass through here and let you know that if you want another sexual assault/abuse survivor around here to talk to anytime, I'm available. <3
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

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Tue Jan 26, 2021 9:47 pm

Thank you for your kind message Heather, it really helps!

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8546
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Heather » Wed Jan 27, 2021 10:18 am

Absolutely. I totally hear you when you say that sometimes it can just feel really discordant to talk to people who's stuff just feels super basic or easy in comparison. Sometimes you just need other folks who have been through at least some version of it. From where I'm sitting, I think you're doing amazing, especially given the circumstances, because these circumstances are really something else. I'm so sorry you've had to go through all of this, and that trying to get support from your family has unfortunately gone as it all too often does with sexual abuse within families. :( I'm so glad you at least have had what sounds like a great and supportive therapist.
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

deceptacon8199
not a newbie
Posts: 11
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:13 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: my taste in art
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: lesbian
Location: Austin, Texas

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby deceptacon8199 » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:36 pm

Thank you so much, and I would love to talk if you are available! I feel like holding real tight to the positive things in my life have helped me a lot.

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8546
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: rape aftermath

Unread postby Heather » Wed Jan 27, 2021 1:43 pm

I get that, for sure. I'm around the rest of today and much of the day Thursday and Friday. I'm happy to talk on the boards, or, if you wanted something more private, I could also work it out to talk during the early portion of our chat hours on Friday afternoon if that worked for you: https://www.scarleteen.com/our_live_chat_service
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


Return to “Got Questions? Get Answers.”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests