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{{{llamas}}} Damons wrote some great stuff so I am just going to "ditto" her. Regardless of whether or not you want to name him as a rapist the fact that you feel raped is what needs to be validated. Not being given a chance to say no does not equal consent, nor does not fighting back for fear of being hurt. You didn't want it to happen, that is where it should have stopped.
I am so sorry that this happened to you.
Thanks for the kind words. smile.gif
Right now I'm trying really, really hard not to blame myself for what happened, but it's difficult.


My dad did something similar to my mom. Financial blackmail for sex. After she died (so from my perspective, she was safe from his blaming), I dragged him to a therapist and told him what i thought of him.

On not blaming yourself...I hope you keep practicing until it feels familiar. He's at fault, not you. Not you. Not you.

hello everyone! I haven't been here in a while, but I thought I'd check in to see how everyone is doing.

I'm sorry to hear about what happened to you, llamas. I also struggle with the fact that I was raped and I blame myself and can't really bring myself to call it, "rape". What I've said on this board before, and it's probably worth repeating is that if one of your friends was telling you that what happened to you happened to THEM, what would you call it? I'm sure you'd call it like it is and regardless of the situation, you wouldn't blame them for what happened. It's tough to be less hard on yourself.

Luckily, I've started going to therapy and so far, it's worked very well. I guess I just needed to hear someone unbiased to the situation, tell me that it wasn't my fault and validate how I feel. After I talked about it with my therapist, I actually stopped having nightmares about it. I actually had a dream that same night, where I saw my ex bf (the rapist) and I was able to be calm and breathe and not get so upset/scared that I would wake up afraid or crying. So, for what it's worth, for me anyway, therapy is definitely worth it.

I just get nervous when this thread drops off the page in case somone needs it and can't find it. Glad that everyone is doing well, though. smile.gif

Should we request to have this pinned or something?
yeah, that would be a good idea, shall we pm LL?
A couple members requested this thread be stickied. If for any reason you feel strongly about this thread being pinned, please PM me (do not post here) so we can keep the thread on topic and drama-free.
I need a minute to vent. Lately, thanks to the work that I do, I keep coming across this apparent theory that a person who has been sexually abused and/or raped as a child is damaged for life.

Fuck that shit!

Yes, I was raped as a child. Yes, I was hurt and it was awful and I would never wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy.


None of that means that my ability to heal has been stolen from me. Every child who is hurt has the ability to heal and can and often does become a functioning adult. It takes love and patience and support and belief but it is more that possible, it is PROBABLE!

It is true that not everything in me works the way that I wish it did. But I reject this lable of "damaged for life."

I am nobody's damaged goods and to consider me such demeans me and everyone who has ever been through this.

We are bruised, not broken. Do not take away my authority over my life and assume that I am unable to make decisions as an adult because you do not understand where I am coming from.

/rant over.
Damaged for life? Uh, I don't think so. Fucked up for awhile is more likely...more likely if you don't seek help, or the people that are SUPPOSEDLY parenting you don't seek help for you.

You know, it's hard enough going through life after that without feeling like you're damaged goods. Yes, there are correlations between sexual abuse/rape and a shitload of mental health issues, but I've heard people go off about how they'd never date someone who's been a victim of sexual assault/sexual abuse because of whatever.

Too bad for them. We didn't lose our "loveability" with our past. That is so going beyond pathologizing.
heh. FUCK EM'. Whoever thinks this way must consider themselves wayyyy "normal and well adjusted" (seriously jaded would be most accurate). *yawn* You know what that equals in my book? B-O-R-I-N-G.
ETA: I have venom because healing is possible. always.
why am i still up at 4am? because i can't sleep while it's dark out for some reason. the last few days have been bad going to worse for me to sleep. if i go to sleep while it's dark, i have nightmares. if i sleep during the day, i'm fine. this makes no sense. most of the abuses happened during the day, not at night. this is really bothering me. and of course the more it bothers me, the harder it is to sleep, so i end up being comatose for half the day... this is not fair to my kids or my husband, who ends up watching the kids all day while i sleep. nothing is getting done, except that i'm doing tons of research on the computer! kids have camp today, i have to go shopping, i have to go to my mom's.... i don't know what to do. i go thru these cycles every few months where shit starts to really get to me again and i can't shake it and then all of a sudden, it seems, it just goes back into the black hole in the back of my brain. i don't know what triggers it, at least not this time. i know the last round was b/c of "anniversaries" of shit that happened, but i don't know why now, unless there's even more shit lurking in there that i'm not letting myself remember. great, something else to worry about now. i pushed everything away for so long it's hard to know if it's all out there or not. i have to get some sleep. i wish my husband would sleep with me, but it's so hot and we are both fat so we can't stand to share the bed anymore, he's snoring on the couch behind me. i wish i could curl up with him, maybe that would help. the worst is the body memories. goddess, i have chills just thinking about thinking about those. i don't even know how much of this is making sense. i just want to rest. i mean, really rest, not just sleep. i want to sleep with no nightmares, no interruptions, no nothing. just blissful peace until i feel like getting up. i want to rest for days. but yet, i can't sleep right now. i hate this. i hope the sonofabitch that helped make me the way i am fries in hell.
i pushed everything away for so long it's hard to know if it's all out there or not.

It's out there and it sounds like it wants to be noticed and heard.

I see this happen quite a lot w/clients. They keep telling themselves that this is not a good time to deal with this problem. And most of us are pretty good about shoving it all away and saying, "I'll deal with you later." But, much like the closet that just won't hold one more winter coat or pair of roller skates, that door just gets harder and harder to close.

damona, I think it is great that you are using your awkae to time to look up info on-line but you might want to limit yourself from the more triggering stories. Yes, reading them can help you feel less alone but they will also put more images in your head that you may not be able to process. And I think that some studies have shown that a computer screen can feed into insomnia in much the same way that a TV can. Something about the way the lights work, but I am unclear on that.

Have you ever tried counseling? I think you live in the same state that I do so I might be able to help connect you with a close agency that deals with sexual assault. The counseling is free. PM me if you want and I will see what I can find in your area. Even if you have tried it before, it might be time to go back. Healing is an ongoing process and what sometimes feels like a step backwards is actually just a step into a deeper level.

Another thing you could try when you can't sleep is to call a crisis line. 1-800-656-HOPE will connect you to the closest rape crisis hotline to your area code. You don't have to lie awake in the dark without even another voice to comfort you.
((damona)) i also wonder if there are other memories, pushed down and hidden. couple of books that have really helped me (you may know of em' already): the courage to heal: a guide for women survivors of child sexual abuse, and women who run with the wolves: myths and stories of the wild women archetype by Clarisa Pinkola-Estes. the second really helped me connect healing and self empowerment together, this is a courage thing, no doubt.

body memories, i've found that these things need to be physically either revisited or moved out with physical movement i.e. punching, kicking, crying while punching and kicking or massage i.e. a trained body worker.

Women Who Run With the Wolves is a wonderful book for survivors even though it is not specifically for that. Good call, nelly. wink.gif
And it has been around long enough that you can almost always find it at a used book store for less $$.
kitten and nelly, thank you. from the bottom of my heart, thank you.
The TV/computer and not sleeping thing is about the light - it;s generally really bright, much brighter than even lights in most houses, and it screws with your ability to work with your natural sleep/wake rhythm.


I've been..unbalanced. i guess that's the right word. I'm off the meds and trying to get pregnant (which is a whole different set of issues, including the fact that I was raped sans protection after telling him that I had missed a few pills and had no condoms, which is why I was saying no). The PMS is really bad and I keep having issues crop up with the Diva cup as well.

The biggest thing is work though - I'm in the process of reporting a bully which is making my anxiety go up which is making the PTSD rear its head again, when I thought it was mostly settled (one or two flashbacks every few months vs once a week, localised anxiety vs generalised). It took me a while to work out the links - I'm not reporting the bully because I feel bullied, which would explain the anxiety, I'm reporting her because everyone else backs down because she's so fucking aggressive. I can handle the aggression. But the anxiety keeps ramping up, with the vague physical crap. I also had a survivor come in, but I think she was an addict as well (methadone smell/look) so she was way too open for my liking, kept getting in my space and so desperately needed help. I could have fucking smacked her when she said "you know this though, don't you? You've been through it". Which was kinda the whole thing. I'm doing my job lady. I don't have to have gone through it to help you. So that fucking sucked. That was on the same day I told the big big bosses about the PTSD as well. So I came home and drank.

And smoked. Which was stupid. But I got through, which is the main thing.

Damona, I've found the weather being hot will make triggers and stuff worse. Have you and your partner tried showering together? The MU and I shower together a lot - not sex, just being together. Cold in summer, hot in winter. Not to mention it can be a really restful and non-triggery experience for me. There's no expectations of sex, just nice touching that doesn't trigger me. I've also found being really really strict about sleeping helps, partially because I HAVe to get up and HAVE to move, which can reset the insomnia, but then I can nap/sleep in as a real kind of indulgence to make myself feel better - that last bit only works if you really let yourself relax and rest. I tend to watch Futurama...
I could have fucking smacked her when she said "you know this though, don't you? You've been through it".

Ugh, how infuriating. I once had a coworker at my retail job who was always making big with her issues. Everyone else thought she was crazy, I just figured that she hadn't had enough therapy yet. She came up to me on the sales floor and said, pretty loudly, "Jennifer, you must have been through something horrible to become as great as you are." Or something like that.
It was mortifying.

Good luck with the pregnancy. smile.gif I think you will be a very good mother.

Hee, I just introduced my boy to joint cold showers. He didn't love them quite as much as I do but probably b/c I kept aiming the shower nozzle at him when he wasn't looking. laugh.gif
QUOTE(kittenb @ Jul 14 2008, 07:12 AM) *
Women Who Run With the Wolves is a wonderful book for survivors even though it is not specifically for that. Good call, nelly. wink.gif
And it has been around long enough that you can almost always find it at a used book store for less $$.

I just bought a used copy last night on Amazon. I had a library copy before. I had it on my list all day to order it, and when I logged onto Amazon it was the first book on the page. wink.gif
It will be nice to have my own copy.

((anake)) PTSD and anxiety f'in suck! Good luck with you job.
hello, survivors' space.

i'm new to this thread.

"Women who run with the wolves" is an amazing book, and one that helped me so much when i was dealing with a lot of stress. i even bought a pair of red shoes in honor of listening to myself. smile.gif
Damn, was I triggered yesterday...

That is all.

((((hugs to survivors)))) there will be better days soon. smile.gif
I was triggered last night too. Bad and big time, but it's been building for a while.

still having troubles with insomnia and headaches, but i think that's more that my system is all out of whack right now than from any triggery things. hope you are all doing alright out there in bust-land.
hi Damona - i hope that your headaches have ceased and that sleep is no longer eluding you.

dear survivors,

i felt triggered during my acupuncture session today, and i'm not sure how to put my finger on it. maybe i do. one day, while waiting for the bus after a yoga class, a man masturbated across the street from me. it was late at night, and dark. no body else was around. this is one reason why i feel unsafe exercising in public, or walking to an exercise type activity in the evening, which is when i'll be able to go after work.

i've lost my sense of feeling safe while being out in public.

i told this to the acupuncture practitioner who, among other people, encourages me to exercise to help various ailments.

then, the needles really hurt today. and one of her treatments felt uncomfortable. i felt burned by the moxibustion. and the door to her office doesn't close because, if she did, apparently we would be trapped inside. that is, the door handle inside of the room doesn't work (???).

today, i felt trapped. and i cried on the table. before i got to her office, i had an asthma attack on the train and had to use my rescue inhaler. she was in the room with me the entire time, and at one point i told her i felt uncomfortable. i remember clearly stating that i did not feel okay. i told her i felt like a guinea pig. i didn't feel relaxed or better afterwards, not one iota. she's a newly minted, in a word, acupuncturist and one, i suspect, who is eager to try her newly gained skills and exercise her degree.

for diagnostic purposes, i showed her my blood test results (basic bloodwork), and then she photocopied them. now i regret allowing her to do so; i feel violated.

after i got home, i wrote to the acupuncturist explaining my concerns and subsequent hesitation in continuing work with her. the thing is, she's sliding scale and affordable for me. previous to working with her, another person was way too expensive.

it's difficult to find people who are trained in sensitivity to survivors and also difficult to find people who are financially affordable. it's also difficult for practitioners to know everything about a client.

tonight was by far the worst acupuncture session i've ever experienced, and i never thought that was possible.
persimmon_girl - acupuncture and other types of body work can bringg up all kinds of weird feeling and memories. It sounds like your acupuncturist isn't listening to you as she needs to. When I worked as a massage therapist I always encourage my clients to tell me how something felt and I let them know that I would work within their comfort level. They were the experts on their own bodies and how something felt. I always tried to find an effective technique that they were comfortable with.

Are you planning on sharing the letter with the acupuncturist? It would be good for her if you did but my priority is your happiness and well-being. I know 1 acupuncturist who is trained at working with survivors. I wish more body work practitioners would learn about sexual assault trauma and how to take a victim-centered approach to the work. I hope you feel better soon.

Persimmon, please don't give up on trying to get your needs met. I know how you feel. I have been triggered in the past by doc's, especially when I had my IUD inserted. I realized that I have to be upfront about what I want, if I am to get what I want. That can be hard because of the stigma rape survivors/victims face. I decided that I was going to ignore the stigma and just communicate. When I went to get lithotripsy I looked my doc right in the eye and told him I was a rape survivor and did not like being touched or seen by people who didn't have to touch or see me. I think because I was straight forward and no nonsense about it he obeyed my wishes. I encourage you to demand and clearly communicate your needs to every health care professional. You deserve to have your needs met.
kittenb and deschatsrouge: thank you both for the thoughtful responses.

i'm glad that you pointed out that body work of any kind can be potentially triggering but also, i've learned, an incredibly rich and immediate source of starting the healing process. and relaxing, to boot! (acupuncture, i mean)

i did e-mail the acupuncturist before posting on this thread, so i believe the practitioner is aware of my concerns and feelings.

it's always nice to be reminded that my needs matter, and it's possible to have them met.

thank you both again.
Huh. I just got a call telling me one of my abusers died of a heart attack this morning. I always avoided him at family functions even though I forgave him, now I guess I won't have to. I do feel bad for his wife/kids. I do not feel moved enough to go over there with food stuffs, though.

ETA, JFC! Not only did he have a heart attack, he was on a motorcycle trip with his wife/some friends & apparently drove off a fucking cliff. His poor wife was videoing the whole thing! Now I have to go.
WOW! I don't know what to say about that. I would be thrilled to hear that my abuser drove himself off a cliff but he wasn't family so it would be very different.

Good luck.
Queen Bull
aural, wow. just, wow. ((((((aural)))))

i'd be thrilled if one of my abusers was offed in a spectacular way.... well, actually, the one i have forgiven, but the guy when i was a teenager... oh yeah. i'd like to see him go out in pieces. small pieces.

anyway, i can understand how you'd feel kind of ambivalent about the whole thing, especially if he was a family member.
He wasn't a blood relative, just by marriage.

I've decided to go to the service on Saturday, but I won't go by his home.
I've just started to post here again after a short while.
We had a paedaphile living in our street when I was a child.In actual fact he was one of my brothers friend's fathers.
He molestered my sister and her friend when they were about 11.My sister told my parents and they both went up there to confront him.He denied it of course.Then they were going to go to the police but my mum started in on my sister asking her over and over "Are you sure? You better not be lying because if you are his reputation could be ruined'
My sister told me that my mother pretty well made it hell for her so she dropped it.
My sister then molestered my brother who then started on me.
So yeah my white bread middle class family are pretty fucked up.
I'm estranged from both my brother and sister.
I've recently written my brother a letter outlining (in some parts explicitly) what he did to me and how it's effected my life.I've been trying to get up the courage to send it for about five years and have written many drafts.
I've written it over and over in my head.Now I have it saved on my computer and I have a copy in my car.
My brother has suffered from depression (like much of my whole family) and one of my main fears it that he might do something stupid to himself if I send it.He has three kids too.The third is a girl which deeply worries me.
So I have to make a choice.Either I send the letter and suffer the consequences or live with the abuse memories and triggers and generally never move on.
Sorry for the long post.
{{{datagirl}}} That sounds like a nightmare. Do you want to share the letter with him because you are afraid that he is currently abusing his kids? Do you have any kind of relationship with him these days? I think it would be great and amazing if you could talk to him about what happened but if you find out that he is abusing his kids then some sort of action/intervention must happen.

I wish I could tell you what to do. It is an awful situation and I am sorry that you are caught up in it. sad.gif
I sent the letter today.
I'm so fucking scared.But luckily I'm at home getting drunk so hopefully it won't hit me till tomorrow.
I've shone a light on a very dark thing.I've taken a risk but I just want him to know that I know and I remember everything.I posted it in a postbox in a suburb I never go so I wont be reminded if I happen to pass that post box on my way to work.I had Ani Difranco SwanDive playing while I popped the letter through then got in my car and cried nearly the whole way home.I want sexual abuse to stop.For so long I have been haunted by 'what ifs' and 'if onlys'.
Today I put the responsibility on him.
datagirl, you are my hero. brave, brave soul. powerful, courageous step towards healing. woman warrior.
I need your responses (support) today before I head off to work.
Thank you.You have no idea how much that means to me.
I went to the doctor yesterday to get a referral to see a physchologist.If you get a referral from a doctor (and undergo a mental health assesment) you get 12 weeks free mental help.But it fucking sux because first of all you have to prove that you really need help.It doesn't involve giving the reason though which would just be inhumane.
So anyway.I'm still very scared about my brothers reaction if any at all. I told my mum that I'd sent the letter.I told her about the abuse in 2005 so she's aware of what went on.She never confronted him about it though.So I guess it's up to me.She actually supported me in sending it.Sometimes I feel like I've done the right thing.Time will tell I guess.I didn't do it because I wanted to be brave.I had no other mental choice.He has kids.He needed to be aware of how his actions have severely fucked up my life.
Last night was simply maddening.I was just so worried and really needed someone to talk to who knew me.I rang a friend and he generally saved my mental health.The doctor prescibed me more valium so I took just one and had an ok night's sleep.
It's just the worry that's getting to me.I don't want my brother to do something stupid to himself.I'm not sure if I'm even ready for his reaction at all.
some days (most days) I feel like I have dealt with my issues with being sexually abused. Then, out of nowhere I have dreams every night for a week about it until I can't hold it in anymore and lash out and act like a total psychopath at the first person who gets in my way. I guess I need to re evaluate what I need to work on. I just want it to go away, but I know that isn't at all possible.
Maybe I have talked about what happened enough, but not how it effects me in everyday life.
hi tankgirl. i totally hear you.

i've been feeling really angry at mostly everybody recently, and am sort of glad i'm looking out of kilter and lumpy since that means people don't look at me too much.

i don't trust my responses right now, because they seem so out of proportion to what is actually said/done to me. and i find myself just being a lot more verbal and really not having a lot of inhibition in terms of speaking back to people or noises that frighten me.

this also means that my nerves feel shot.

Last night during Mad Men, there was a scene that was a major trigger for me. It snapped me right back over 15 years into the past & I found myself feeling things & remembering things that I had long buried. I think for the most part I'm really honestly and truly over it (which is why I don't think about it anymore), but even though the memories are fading, they're still there.

Spoiler alert: In the scene on the show, a woman is forced to have sex with her fiance. She tells him no repeatedly, but he pins her down to the ground. Eventually she just turns her head, her eyes go vacant, & she just lets it happen. Then the camera shot changes & we see her point of view, staring at a piece of furniture in the room. This scene is all the more painful because it happens to a woman who is usually thought of as very strong and empowered.

The moment that really resonated with me was the shot of the furniture. I know how that feels. It was stunning to see a show convey that. I've never seen a show where they showed that perspective.

I was upset by this, but I didn't cry. I guess you could say I was shocked. It was like, "Oh yeah. I'd forgotten about that." and suddenly I was remembering this stuff I hadn't thought about in a dog's age. I told my husband, Sheff, about it (he was not watching the show with me) and he thought it might help me to talk about my feelings in this space. But I don't know how to describe my feelings. I feel sad. I feel sad for the person I was back then. I feel grateful for the place where I am now. I feel heartbroken for the many many women out there who also know what it's like to shut down, turn your head, and just focus on something else so that you won't feel what's really happening to you. And at the same time, I feel bad for expressing those feelings in an open forum because I don't want to trigger others in the same way that I was triggered last night.

Anyway. I don't know if this has made me feel better or what. I don't find a lot of solace in knowing that other people know how this feels because that just means they've been hurt, too. Am I making sense here?

Thanks for listening.
Yes, you are making sense. Especially where you say that you feel sad for the person that you were back then. I don't tend to mourn much about a lost childhood because it didn't really effect me when I was a child. But I mourn what I lost in my young adult years when others were out taking chances and I was tied up in dealing with being raped. I will never get that time back and I will never see justice for what I have been through.
It doesn't make me feel better, either, that there are other who know what I am talking about. However, it does make me feel better to talk and to vent. I hope posting here helped at least a little bit.
I've had TV shows affect me unexpectedly. I remember once and episode of ER where the man who had stabbed Carter had ended up back in County Hospital. The look on Carter's face when he recognized the man's voice freaked me out so bad I had a mild panic attack. It was awful.
So yes, you are not alone. I am glad that you decided to post here.
I think it must be a massive step in healing when you move onto that. I'm only just starting to think in that way, instead of just being angry and upset at myself (you know, if I were a better/stronger/healthier person it wouldn't have happened/I'd be over it by now/I could have dealt with it). But I'mjust starting to have those moments where I mourn what was lost. As a culture we've lost grief and the whole process (I just read something saying 'oh you'd get a week off if a spouse died'! I don't know I'd have even stopped crying a week after) in the wider society and personally.

And we certainly aren't supposed to grieve for ourselves, or for rape. Which I think makes things so much worse.

My big news? I'm pregnant. Planned in our offhand way (the MU has a tendency not to want to plan until it's definate...) but, yeah. Pregnant. And of course last night I read a short story about women, rape and forced pregnancy. It really really fucked me up and I felt awful, but then I read the intro and the dedication again (the story had alien pregnancies that killed the mother, but the dedication was to the Muslim women of Bosnia) and it made more sense. I still have issues with the story, but it was less horrifying when I reread that bit this morning. Mind you that's after the nightmares and the anxiety attack.

I'm kinda worried about being pregnant and not having control over my body. But I've been dealing with chronis pain for a long time, so I fgure it's similar, but with soemthing incredibly aweseom at the end. And realising I'm making an entire human being in my uterus is astonishingly powerful.
ananke - both you and your uterus are astonishingly powerful. Congratulations!

Congrats Ananke!
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