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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
Dr. Schwartz's Weblog

Rape: Its Emotional Consequences

Allan N. Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Jan 7th 2008

It is always disturbing to me that those clients who have suffered the violent crime of rape feel ashamed and guilty. Despite all we know today about psychology, the psychology of rape, i.e.: that it is not a sexual but a violent crime and the fact that women who have suffered this horrible fate were not at fault, so many of them persist, for years afterwards, in feeling guilty and ashamed of themselves. I guess, that is the main point, that rape is a crime that damages the self esteem and dignity of a person at the deepest levels.

The three main issues for those who have suffered this assault are: 1) Shame and guilt, 2) Control and trust and, 3) Post traumatic stress. In terms of psychotherapy for these individuals these three issues also provide three main goals of treatment:

Goals of treatment

1. Understanding and believing that rape is not the fault of the victim and that they did nothing shameful.

Consequently, it is better to not keep the fact of the rape a secret to be hidden from friends and family.

2. Learning to live with a sense of control over life, limb and body and re-learning to trust loved ones.

3. Resolving the symptoms of Post traumatic stress in order that there are no longer symptoms of:

a. Nightmares

b. Startle response

c. Sleeplessness

d. Depression

e. Agitation

f. Irritability with sudden outburst of anger.

Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at dransphd@aol.com for details.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Raped, Delivered, Free - GDM - Feb 18th 2015

    I would like to say to anyone that has every experienced this my heart goes out to you.  I was Raped repeatedly from the age of 3 to age 16 by several men and even a woman.  As a child you feel helpless, afraid, fearful and unwilling to speak up about it because of fear.  Perhaps who would even believe me or rescue me from this horrible experience.  At the age of 16 being able to speak up to my mother who protected the predator and went against me.  It was horrible.  I found myself living a somewhat decent life as a young adult although I knew within myself I had been violated over and over again. I don't remember nightmares or depression but I do remember being a victim of many bad relationships.   At the age of 19 I found Christ which has made a considerable difference in my life.  I've been married for over 30 years, 5 kids, working and helping other women who have gone through similar situations. 

    God is faithful, He can help you get through anything.  I really don't quite understand how he let's this happens to us however I know it's sin.  The world is full of sin and corrupted people. It's a vicious cycle.  Someone gets raped or molested and they repeat the act in some cases if not helped.   If we want help, we can get help.  Even though it's not our fault that this has happened I do believe we have a responsibility to get helped so that we can begin to heal and help others.

    My life is not the perfect life but i'm certainly not where I started years ago as a child.  I'm a woman, mother, grandmother, wife, clergy wife and willing to reach out to others.  There are demonic forces out there that works against us destroying life but if you believe and have faith in God He can help you be restored.  It's not that you ever forget what happened but your able to live again and love again and allow peoople, genuine people to love you.

    Hope it helps....Find God, and find a loving church home where you can grow spiritually, seek counseling, pray, study a good sound bible, find someone safe to embrace and talk about it and be listened to.  Your life will change!!!!

    Life of a woman - - Feb 1st 2015

    i read these comments, and they reaffirm my resolve to stay away from men, if I can possibly help it.

    Too many women experience this sequence of events:  They are born female - and too many parents out there want a male.  The girls are treated with relative lack of enthusiasm.  A few years pass, and they may, or may not be assaulted - merely because of their anatomy...along with societal disrespect, etc.  Then they reach puberty, and the full force of societal prejudices come into play - boys start coming at them, men start ogling and whistling at them, comments fly all over the place.  Now these girls are at a higher danger of all out rape.  They may not be protected - because they are devalued in the first place. As years go by, the teen years are full of hormones, from both sexes, and the dangers are particularly high for the girls...pregnancy, STD's (more easily contracted because of the logistics of sex), less family support because of unique behaviors coming out of the teen years.  These girls grow up - and it may be harder to get a decent job, and even if it isn't, they may be paid less.  Since they have to put beans on the table, they will either get married, get a menial job or will go out and sell themselves - and even more self-hate and societal disrespect will ensue.  Yes, some may get a decent job - by the grace of God.   On and on and on...we have practIcally every strike against us....it is no wonder that so many men, probably most, are saying, \\

    i was wondering - veronica - Nov 18th 2014

    I was wondering why I find it hard to have sex sober after being raped ten years ago. I want to but it's hard for me to do. I still have nightmares about it,I am scared all the time wondering if harbour or not looking to finish me off,it's hard to trust anyone,I don't liked to be touched hardly at all,I am manic depression so adding that to it didn't help,I keep thinking over and over again how could things play out differently. What could I had done to stop this but then I think I need to get threw this. So months and months after the bad thing I put it a side and never delt with it. Now I am wondering what do I do now. I am getting married soon an  I want to make love to him but it makes my skin crawl just thinkin of it. I mean don't get me wrong I love him he's handsome etc but I need to get past this if I am ever going to make love to him. Could someone help me please

    But who wants to listen? Silence, the lesser of the two evils? - - Oct 18th 2014

    Guilt and shame is prolonged not only because of the victim or survivor her/himself, but because when one attempts to break the silence, no one wants to listen. Most people will say "Get over it" no matter if the rape occured 2 days, two weeks or 20 years before. 

    Stigmas and cowardness is one of the main factor that victims continue to feel shame. And beleive me, once you break the silence and you try to take back your own power and talk about it, you go through hell. So it is hell both ways.

    Until societal stigmals, rape culture do not change, shame and guilt will remain. Victims will be revictimized over and over again through their life time. 

    That is why today and through my art and no matter what people say, I try to take that truth and transform it to educate. 

    One word to the survivors... hang in there. There might come better days for survivors and we keep on talking about it to the public. Education is the key.

     

    Silent for over 30 years - 30+ years ago - Apr 13th 2014

    I was gang-raped by five men when I was 17 years old.  I am now 51.

    Because they threatened to torture and kill each one of my family members one at a time, in front of me, and then kill them, if I should ever tell anyone or contact the police, I kept this secret all these years.  They belonged to a powerful group of mostly men who were scary and intimidating to say the least for a teenage girl.  They followed me at a distance for a long time and even had people befriend me to keep an eye on me.  

    I withdrew from my family and friends, which has created many wedges and issues between us even to this day.  In my mind, I had no choice.  They robbed me of my family and friends for over 30 years.  Now some of my family members and friends are passed on to Heaven and some are close to the same. Unfortunately there is no time left for me to make any kind of amends with my family so the rest of my life will be as lonely as the past thirty years.

    I have suffered from nightmares (I wake up the household screaming frequently) and have many of the symptoms of post traumatic stress syndrome.  I have control and trust issues.  I believe this has affected my career, my relationships, and even my physical health.  Depression at times is very difficult to cope with.

    As for my career, the one that has suffered so much because of having to quit jobs to move, or because they found out where I was working,  out of fear, it is all but over now.  I have no time to build retirement, I have medical problems that just keep mounting. 

    I have considered suicide at various times in my life.  My concentration is not good, and my memory is really bad.  I tried to block it out of my mind and with that I lost many memories from the past.

    Noone understands because noone knows.  I had to protect my family but they think I just don't care about them.  The hurts have run so deep for so long, I have given up trying to repair those relationships.  

    I have spent all these years just trying to survive financially and keeping myself numb.  Alcohol, drugs, gambling, whatever makes me feel good and numb at the moment, even though it only lasts for a minute.  Then I have to numb myself again.

    My life has been anything but normal.  I had so much going for me when this happened and it was all ripped away that aweful day.  I was larger than life, and now I just hide from life as much as possible.

    Recently I realized that this incident has affected my life in so many ways, and mostly negative ways, but I have no idea where to even begin the healing process.  All of my issues have become habit and a way of life.  

    I guess I'm writing this so maybe it will help someone else.  I don't think there is any hope for me and my life, it's been going on for way to long.  But maybe this will make others realize that they should tell someone, they should get help to heal.  They should not feel guilty or shame, it's not your fault.  It was a violent assault against you and the people responsible for this heiness crime should be prosecuted.  If they aren't, you will never ever have closure or justice.  You will stumble through life they way I have, with no direction, no plans, no goals, nothing.  A whole lot of nothing.  No dreams to achieve, no family because you'll push them away, no friends because you will push them away as well.  You will just be an empty shell filled with anxiety, loneliness and sadness.  Like me.

    If I had realized at all, that my life would be like this, I'm not sure what I could have done differently but I certainly would have at the very least, seeked counseling.  I actually did seek a marriage counselor at one point many years ago.  The reason my sessions ended was because the counselor told me that there was something deeply rooted within me and I needed to open up or she could not help me.  I told her thank you very much for your help, and then I walked out the door, never went back.  I had so much fear that they would find out that I told this secret that I was to scared to open up.

    As I sit here writing this, I was hoping maybe it would help me in some way.  It just reminds me of how sad my life really is.  

    I hope that this helps someone and prevents them from being silent, and that they get the help they need to heal from this horrible crime.  Please don't keep it buried within you.  It will create so many issues that you will never be able to repair if you keep it to yourself.  Seek assistance please.

    I was 17, they were in their 20's 30's 40's, I don't really know how old they were...but they destroyed me and my life.  don't let that happen to you.

    God bless you all.

     

     

    rape - - Apr 3rd 2014

    It\\\'s been 35 years since this rape occur,and lately i have started thinking about it all over again.I have never told anyone about this. I have generalized pain,depression and anxiety. It\\

    To Survivors of Rape and Sexual Assault - Abs - Dec 4th 2012

    My dearest ones upon this forum:

    Being raped is an atrocity so inexplicably and indescribably cruel that it renders its victims (both male and female) a battered and shattered husk of themselves. BUT just as a garment or building can be torn down and to the untrained eye, demolished, the initial elements can be reused. The bricks at the bottom of the rubble that are found once the debris is sifted through are then reused as the foundation building blocks of a new, stronger building. So too one can and must dig through the aftermath to those remnants of oneself-no matter how small the amount-and build oneself back up. It takes years, with much sweat and tears, but it is not impossible. 

    I write this from experience. I am now nearing age 22, and have undergone the bells of rape by 9 adults in all. My father was the first, attempting to kill me repeatedly, and when that no longer worked, he raped my mother in front if me, would make eye contact, then came the days of repeated rape; I was three years old. Finally escaped him, my mother and I relocated cross country, and as she worked and I learned to speak English, a neighbor took to raping me, creatively cruel in his methods by using his penis half the time, then the handle of a wrench the others. And then his girlfriend joined in. I was four years old. At age nine, I was seized by the city's most violent gang members as I ride my bike home, and five men took turns raping me in a gang rape hell that lasted over four hours and left me an inch between life and death. That same year a drunk adult overpowered me in a field. Then at age sixteen, my ex stepfather who knew of some of my past hells, decided that he too would rape me to help me cope. 

    A descent into a lifestyle so self destructive it comprised drug and alcohol abuse, self mutilation, abusive relationships, and suicide in which my heart was restarted just in time Lasted five years. But I wrenched myself away, determined not to only survive physically, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Now a year clean, I realize that healing is a war in and of itself, with dozens of daily battles. But one can be victorious in this. There will be tears and sweat and pain, but not defeat. Do not allow them the victory over your soul as well. You are not alone in this fight. 

    rape - Chelly - Apr 30th 2012

    I was sexually assaulted around six years old by my brother and didn't tell anyone until I was grown. It's still a family secret and no one ever confronted him about it. I was also raped when I was about 16 by a guy who was in his twenties. Then, the worse came when I was married at 18. My EX husband abused me in every way possible. For months, he raped me when I was pregnant. I was married for twelve years and it continued until I left. I now have problems because of this. Sometimes, I can't get enough and sometimes I don't want to have sex at all. I don't like being nude and it makes me feel bad for my boyfriend. Is that normal to not want someone to even look at you in that way?

    Why are other side effectsmof being raped as a child missing from the internet? - Betsy - Apr 25th 2012

    To Whom It May Concern,

    Two years ago I was surfing the web for side effects of being raped as a child.  I found several websites on the first page of google describing how one is emotionally stumped at the age they were raped, perfectionist, more likely to go gay and the list goes on.  But now there is nothing on the web describing these behaviors and I want to know why?  I can not begin to tell you how liberating it was to stumble upon the information I did two years.  The sites themselves are also gone.  It was so freeing to know I was not alone in these feelings and to be able to identify my feelings for what they were.  You do realize what type of society we are living in when you apparently can pick and choose what appears on the internet now.  This is a huge eye-opener and a reality check.

    Living with rape for more than 30 years - Kate - Feb 23rd 2012

    I was raped in 1977.  I let this guy into my dorm room. He drugged my drink.  it didn't knock me out.  Oh no! I couldn't move my body but my brain was still there. I couldn't tell anyone.  This guy was my 1st cousin's long time boyfriend.  We were not just cousin's.  We had been like sister's. We were born only 10 days apart. i knew it would destroy her and our famlies.  So instead of telling anyone I kept it to myself. When I got home from college my mother made the comment that she sent one daughter to college and got a different daughter back.  That was true. For the next couple of years I did anything that was self-destructive. There are at least 2 years that I can't remember.  Before this event happened to me I was a totally devoted christian.  I was engaged to a great guy. We were eachothers first. We had been together only one time before he went into the Air Force. I cut off all communication with him.  I am now on my 3rd marriage. I am thinking about seeking help now. My fear is that the real person that I was will want the person I am now to go away. What will she do with her if she comes back?

    raped.. because of the dirnking? - - Dec 19th 2011

    I am 22 and i was raped too a few months ago, one night I went to a bar with friends...i had been drinking before i got there.. i barely remember somethings while in the bar.. i started dancing with a guy, who was with a friend.. then my friends left and I stayed with the guy..he told me to go out somewhere else, but i was thinking on going home.. i was way too drunk, but as we got out-me, this guy and his friend- there was a car waiting and i was asking where where we going? I said i didn't want to go anywhere but they pushed me into the car, and there it started to be even more confusing.. and I don'tremember many things.. but i was lying there, in the back of the car with the guy and his friend and they were both touching me under my clothes.. then he took my pants off and I knew then what was he trying to do and I said -no, please don't- and he said why not, i just kept saying no, and that i didn´t want to do it.. i even put my hand between my legs as if it would help.. but it didn't.. and he raped me.. and his friend also was making me give him oral sex..forcing me to have it in my mouth.. i felt so bad.. it hurt so much.. i started crying there.. but then we got to his house and he raped me there too.. i was crying most of the time..

    now i feel so numb.. i don't think i feel the consequences so much yet.. but i don't know how im i supposed to feel.. i just feel less of a person now.. i think it was my fault sometimes because i was so drunk.. and i feel ashamed..i haven't told any of my friends or family yet, I hope i can soon.

    same thing - - Oct 6th 2011

    i am 12 i will be 13 november i have been raped also i have been through it it hurts i have really bad nightmers about it i suffer from deprresion an i understand where you are comeing from i really do

    my story - - Sep 24th 2011

    Im 13 and i got raped when i was 12, few months back,. The feeling kills like a bi**h.. it hurts so much, its not describable, and you feel as if,words can NEVER descibe it and it cant, the hurts. Its like getiing stabbed over and over. Im young and i goot my GSCE mocks this year, and i've gone down loads of sets and levels at school, constantly crying,worrying if he comes back, the fear of not leaving the house knowing if hes still after me. He was my boyfriend in all.. linked up the day i met him the night and i thought he was ok,kissing usual bf gf thing, i trusted him because of my older cousin,shes like a sister, and she knew him and she arranged it all. he was 18 aswell.. and he said he was 14/15 believeable to because of his height.. he knew how old i was.. and we linked up and he raped me on the forest floor, i need a cure for the hurt, he isnt banged up,he walks freeely, i havent graased him to the fes for many reasons, im a muslim, i would be blamed, just how life is,especially when your ment to be virgin till your married as an islamic law..,. And i'd lose contact with my cuzzon for life as i have family problems with her mum and dad and my parents.. im so hurt,and people are laughing about it, you noe normal typical high school kids,.. ik a few people who have exprienced this.. but its been delt with.. i have fear in me all the time and upset. i wish i can forget this but i cant, been 6months now.. no its easy but im giving him what he wants and hurting really bad. I even feel guilty at times. i feel as if he dont deserve to banged up.. Turned me into a slag aswell, not done nothing physicall ever since but i didnt plan too, and i turned dirty minded.. need major help.. let me know if you can help or any ideas.. its not easy but one thing ik.. its easier knwing your not on your own feeling this,...<3

    Will It Ever Get Better? - anonymous - Sep 9th 2011

    You would think that 32 years would be enough time to get over it, wouldn't you?  I sometimes think that I hold on to the mental trauma as a way of excusing my failures in life when things would have turned out the same way whether I was raped by a stranger in a parking lot as a 23-year-old or not.  There were people who knew what happened and cared at the time.  But, like me I guess, they didn't have any idea what to do about it.  I tried to believe what I thought they believed, that it wasn't that big of a deal - I survived, didn't I?  Lots of people live with bigger problems and traumas.  Just get over it and get on with your life.  That was my mantra.  The world is not a safe place for anyone.  Better to understand that at a young age and structure your life accordingly. 

    I still don't know what I or anyone else could have done to help me.  I never tell anyone any more because it is excruciatingly hard to deal with their non-caring attitudes, or worse, the attitude that it's been an awful long time, why are you still bringing it up?  I have two wishes right now:  1) that I could sleep through the night without having nightmares, and 2) there was someone who would care enough to just hold me while I cried about it for little while. 

    One other thing:  I won't fly again until I am assured I won't be assaulted by goverment thugs at the security line. 

    Just me - - Jun 22nd 2011

    I am a lair.

    I am a deceiver.

    I am sorry I cannot tell.

    I trust you, you trust me.

    Yet, I will hurt you if you hurt me.

    Forgive me father for I have sinned.

    Forgive me father for I have commited treason.

    Sorry, sorry was my answer.

    Forgive me, if you can.

    Believe me,

    cause I don't think I can.

    Angry - - Mar 31st 2011

    Where do I begin? After reading these stories I don't feel so very alone anymore. I was molested by a friend's father when I was 3. I was molested again by the daughter of a friend of my mother's when I was 7. When I was 17 my first boyfriend raped me in his home. 3 Months later my mother sent me to live with my father. He turned out to be the worst of them all. I spent 6 months under his roof being beaten and raped. I just wanted to die after that, I finally just ran away in the middle of the night. I am 31 years old now and this still affects me every single day. I have never had a normal relationship, I trust no one, I shut myself off from all people. How do you trust again when your own father cannot be trusted? How do you achieve intimacy when you cannot look anybody in the eye? It's all good and well to say that you must reclaim your life, but how the hell do you do that when every attempt leads to further abuse and betrayal?

    after rape no intimate desires? - s.nicholas - Jan 3rd 2011

    I am married to a 41 year old who was raped by some guy she was going out with. She was about in her early 30's. I am thinking that without any intimacy going on between us, I may have to move on. She doesn't even want to talk about why she desn't feel any intimacy  and I believe that though she says that's how she always has been, she is blocking out the trauma by not wanting to being intimate with me. Yet she has been caught having intimate text messages with two different guys. We have been engaged since June of 2010  and got married by August of 2010. Help

    the man in the brownish red suit that was to big for him - - Dec 11th 2010

    thank you i have read your page on this subject of rape it has helped me a lot it happend to me over 40 years ago i nearly forgot untill i had a flash back and now i remember nearly every thing i was at an airport seeing a friend off on holiday i was at the window looking at the plane taking off and a very thin looking man came up behind me and asked if i wanted a lift in his car i said no thank you him and his men walked to the cars out side and i came out of the airport and one of his men grabbed me and knocked me out when i woke up i was in the back of his car he was a good looking man so what did he want me for i was just a teenaged girl there is a lot more to this but i will keep it short he became my boy friend and i had a child a few years later then he left me

    RAPE IS A CRIME - Thomas "Birdy" McKee - Nov 27th 2010

    I've spent 30+ years in prison [not for a sexual based assault], during that time I studied the Law and spoke personally with hundreds of sex offenders; most of whom is proud of the control that they had over their victims. Rape isn't love, it's all about total control over another person [male/female]. People have to understand that sex for a rapist has more to do with degradation and control with the use of violence.  This being said, their brains and urges are oh so much different than a normal person, how they come about the need to use their penis for assault purposes is unknown. I've been trying to teach others [both man & women], how to spot the danger, and how to stay safe.  The words just isn't sinking in, rapist enjoy inflicting pain, period.  They live for the infliction of pain, it's not pleasure for them if there is no pain for the victim. Castration is not the solution, rapist will use most anything for penetration purposes, so if one is castrated... hands, foreign objects, etc...  Get the picture?  I have a Blog, that pretty much explains all this, I'm not advertising, but to protect yourself please at least read what I have to say, I've been on the inside and listened to their stories and boasts, visit it: http://www.inbirdyseyes@blogspot.com.

    Gratful to be free and being able to share protection tips with the world. -Thomas "Birdy" McKee.

    rape IS a sexual crime - carla - Nov 21st 2010

    How can rape be lumped in with other violent assaults when it's so obviously sexual?

    If rape isn't a sexual crime, then what is?

    Having been raped and otherwise assaulted, I can state with absolute certitude that rape is different from other physical violence. And far, far more damaging.

    Saying that rape is violent but not sexual completely invalidates the victims' experience. We were subjected to SEXUAL ACTS. Either violently or under the theat of violence. The violence is the means toward the end: sexual acts.

    Dismissing the sexual aspect of rape dismisses the essence of the crime. And denies the reality of the victim's experience. Which, as we all know, just makes things worse.

    Perpetrators may deny sexual motivation, or psycholgists may classify and reclassify the crime, but we who have survived sexual assault are very clear. It was sexual.

    And yes. I do take it personally. I don't care if the perpetrator didn't mean it personally, or sexually, I don't care about his motives at all.

    I care about MY experience and the effect it had on ME. It was a penis in my vagina. That's sex.

    I was 16. He was my first boyfriend. - Michelle - Aug 20th 2010

    When i was 16 I got a a boyfriend. Everything was fine with us, untill one day. I went over to his house, and we sat on his trampoline. We were kissing and talking. Then he started to take my pants off and rubbing me all over. Despite my constant "NOS" he kept on going. He raped me numerous times. He took my virginity. I believed I had to stay with him, because we had sex (whether is was consentual or not) and that is why it took me so long to leave him. After i left him I foud out he cheated on me with three different girls. (he also raped them.) After then I turned to alcohol and tobacco. I thought it would help my depression and anxiety. But it didnt. It made everything worse. I slept with a few other men, and couldnt stop drinking. (untill the drinking started affecting my brain). Now I am 19, and happily married. But i still have trouble having sex with my own husband. It is hard for me to be able to get in the mood for him, because of the trauma that came to me because of my first boyfriend. I feel bad not being able to do things with my husband because of this guy. I would like this memmory to just go away so i can enjoy life with my husband, but it is not that easy. I hate myself for dating this guy, and even though i know it is not my fault. It feels as though it is my fault. I feel gross because of it also. I also feel stupid, because i did not want to report it to the cops, because i felt as though no one would believe me and many other reasons. I want to be able to live my life with my husband with out this burden hanging over my shoulders. I used to be a very outgoing person, but after him I am very distrusting of men, and I look down when i walk, unless i am with my husband. I need help, and I know i do, but i cant afford it.

    What if alcohol is involved? - - May 11th 2010

    I think I was raped along time ago, but I was drinking and dont remember much other than waking up naked in an emty room with a mattress on the ground. I had went out to a bar with a friend, got trashed and she said her friend lived right down the street, I was happy to go I had drove there and I wanted to crash somewhere close, I lived 45 mins away.  So I went.  I remember drinking more there.  I dont even remember what his house looks like or his face.  When I woke up I put my clothes on and left, never to seee him again.  Things were awkward with my "friend" I dont talk to her anymore...........I dont think about the situation alot, When I do I feel disgusted and awful.  But I was drunk, that changes things....So how do I know If I was raped?   I have low self-esteem, self distructive thinking but I dont know if this is the cause.

    The next step. - - Apr 15th 2010

    I was raped when I was 15. I was with my good friend at the time hanging out at a friends house over the summer, he was there...we had been friends for awhile so it was comfortable to be around him and our friends. Things escalated and eventually I ended up alone with him, I was 15, had barely had my first kiss let alone someone show interest in me. But I didn't want him to do what he did, I froze and I couldn't speak. I never told my friend what happened.

    I had my first drink the next weekend. I wasn't sure how to deal with the emotions I was having or the shame I felt. That weekend I drank away my pain, a week later another He took advantage of me. I don't remember what happened, all I remember is drifting into consciousness during the night and seeing him next to me. People that found out though I deserved what happened, that I had asked for it...

    Long story short, I'm 22 and have been clean for the past 3 years. I dealt with my pain privately, I didn't tell people because I didn't know what to say or how I felt. I numbed myself with alcohol. I began abusing rx pills and coke...I had moved on from the rape but the emotional loss was what I was left to deal with

    I lost my best friend to an overdose 17 days after her 18th birthday. After Laura's death it took a long time to heal, I got clean and sober. I still keep all of the emotional pain sealed away, I'm incapable of expressing pain or fear to others. I don't let people see me cry. I just want to let go and be able to let someone in.

    I don't understand how I'll ever have a healthy relationship. I feel like a healthy sexual relationship and confidence is essential for having a healthy relationship. Yet I can't tie emotion to sex, and I avoid sleeping with people I actually care about. I want to be able to talk to the people I care about about the emotions I've locked away and the grief of losing my innocence and my friend.

    I know I'm not alone in this struggle, but it still feels like that because within my circle I am alone. So, what is the next step...I'm nearly 23, I can't let the past dictate my future

    emotional trauma - scaredgirl - Mar 25th 2010

    When I was 13 I entered into a relationship with a man ten years older than me. It quickly descended into violence and he regularly raped me. At one point he ripped me from the bath by my hair and raped me on the bathroom floor because I was taking too long in the bath. He was a drug addict and had built up massive debts that he couldn't possibly pay so he 'sold' me to his dealer for the night, unbeknownst to me, who raped me twice. His dealer told me that it was the biggest turn on of his life being with a 14 year old (as I was by that time).

    I was raped repeatedly for a long time after that, as I never, ever wanted to have sex with him ever again willingly. I eventually left him and that was 10 years ago. I blocked out a lot of the memories and forced myself to enjoy life. He moved away and I haven't seen him since- however I've just been told he's returned to the town where I live and just like that- the flashbacks have started, the nightmares and this overwhelming sadness. I'm guessing I need to finally deal with this but I haven't a clue where to start....

    almost raped - Cece - Mar 10th 2010

    I'm 20 years old and im a virgin, I was almost raped by my very 1st boyfriend about a month ago (after being together for just one month). we were hanging out in his cousins house and we were making out like we usually did, things escalated and he started to get wild and yank my clothes off, i begged him to stop and i tried to push him off me but he just acted like he didnt hear me and grabbed my wrists, he got so close to raping me i felt like my like my life was about to end... i was so scared but he really didnt care, he was dead set on getting satisfied but i guess my begging annoyed him so he rolled his eyes and let me go...i really didnt know what to do so i layed there for about 30 mins while he went to sleep next to me. Its only been a month since that happened and i can hardly sleep, i zone out alot, i get short of breath, sometimes i shake, i cry because i can't stop thinking about it, i just want to scream. I even spoke to him like a week after it happened and he said he did care but it was my fault because i didnt tell him i was a virgin, i feel like im losing it...what do i  do? how do i gain control over myself again?

    How Violent? - OPTIONS - Feb 20th 2010

    Had a room mate off and on for six years (total time spent under the same roof almost four of those six years). Many reasons and other priorities. No family, alone, responsibilities so I put up with four attacks (two in front of his own family members). The pressure to be "lovers" when I had made it clear NO. He had too many issues of his own to deal with. Anyway, in the end I had decided that I did not want to be near him or have him be near me. I did not voice this but I had decided he was too irresponsible and enjoyed another lifestyle. Because of the violence, and other things, I proceeded with caution. One night, he was bugging me and bugging me to "sleep" with him. I made it clear that my doctor said NO (He has a serious strain of Hep C) and I really didn't want to. I had also made it clear there were no shortage of willing women who he could go to for that, but I was not one of them. Well, that night, he stormed across the room, yelling, "I don't care, I don't care, I don't care". The doctor? He tore my clothes off and because of the previous attacks (most all involved jumping me like a blue streak, and out of next to no where, choking me and throwing me to the ground). I should have fought back but I didn't. Three days later, I left for good. I did go to my doctor and reported to him. That bugged me as it seemed to be surprising knowledge to him that I had been celibate for over five years, so if I "got" anything, it was from him. I have not done the blood work yet and this happened in late Aug 2009. I did not report it to the police as I had already reported the physical attacks and of course, to my knowledge, nothing happened and so why would I want to put myself through even more. I am not ashamed, but have no time for wasting more of my life. [Long history of family violence left out on purpose]. My question is do I have reason to "fear" for more from this asshole? Or, is it just residue hanging on? Part of me has concern for others but hey, most of his "acquaintances" were familiar with his temper for years, but never did anything either, or even warned me. If he can manipulate, there was no problem. I totally detached emotionally. He couldn't manipulate me and that is when he would explode (anger while driving). Off the wall completely and I say this from observing many things over the last six years. Just had to put it in writing I guess. Exhibited many times, to many people, and situations "non human" responses in my view. I feel stupid for feeling uneasy.  

    trusting again - paige - Dec 14th 2009

    When I was sixteen, I broke up with my boyfriend and went on a date with a guy he didn't like. The guy took me to a movie, and halfway through, pulled me from the theater to his car, where he took my virginity without my consent. I thought this was my fault for acting in such a malicious way.

    I slept around with many guys in the following aftermath. I didn't care about rumors. I started dating the same boy again, and ended up cheating on him numerous times. We finally ended the unhealthy relationship.

    Soon after, a boy from one of my classes invited me over. I had a good time with him, until he held me down. I tried confronting him in class the next day, but he denied everything. I had to sit through class with him for the rest of my senior year.

    In college, I finally opened up enough to trust again. We had a great relationship. One night, I woke up from a rape nightmare with his hand over my throat and screaming. I never felt comfortable sleeping with him after that. Then came the night when we were both drunk, and he wouldn't stop despite my protests and sobbing. I hated him. I verbally abused him, he physically bruised me, and we ended it.

    Now, a year later, I am entering a relationship, and I am too scared to trust him.

    im broken - - Nov 25th 2009

    i feel so lost i was raped by my father now i feel like im broken i never have a good relatioship because i always feel like im not good enough for him i feel inadequet i feel less of a woman i hate feeling this way

    I ruined my life because of rape. - Krystal Barnard - Nov 15th 2009

    I was molested as a child, by a female.  It kind of messed me up throughout my life.  I never knew how to set boundries with men, I always felt unworthy and not good enough to assert myself.  I allowed myself to be taken advantage of, even during my marriage.

    There was a man who was supposed to be fixing up our house.  He was a lot older, and a lot more interested in me than our house.  One day while the kids were taking their nap, he asked me if I would check the carpeting in the closet.... 

    I was terrified.  I wanted out of that house.  I was so angry with my husband for not protecting me.  I never told him or anyone else.  I began to fantasize about a life without him or the house.  I ran to other people and situations.  I used others to try and make myself feel whole and clean.  It didn't matter what my husband thought or felt.  I needed more because I felt so sad and lonely.  I was keeping a terrible secret and I needed a way out. 

    I still have nightmares.  My husband left me for being unfaithful.  I wake up most mornings drenched in sweat.  I am talking about it now with my therapist and my doctors.  My children live with their father.  I'm still trying to understand why I did all of this.  I know it sounds crazy, but sometimes I still can't remember the past year.  It comes in pieces.

    I can't help feeling that if I would have told someone, especially my husband, that I could have saved myself so much suffering.  I wouldn't be so alone, I wouldn't have lied, I wouldn't have delayed the hurt that comes in these situations.  I wouldn't have gone through that drinking spree.  I wouldn't have reached out to any person that showed me an ounce of attention.  I wouldn't have felt like I needed to be perfect.  That I was never good enough for anybody. 

    I don't know what comes next.  I am healing and learning.  My advice?  Don't run.  Stand your ground and open up to those who love you and support you.  It has been more painful for me to wake up and realize what I've lost because I was too afraid to talk about what happened.  I self medicated and self destructed. 

    The man who asked me to go into that closet was able to lock me inside.  I'm finally able to unlock the doors, walk outside, pick up the pieces, and try to fit them back together again.

    Sisters I too share your pain of rape - Lady Sheyla - Oct 20th 2009

    Sweethearts: (ladies who've been raped)

    I am over 40 and still in pain.

    I was kidnapped & I was molested, fondled by a borderline retarded adult male when I was only 8. I was kidnapped humiliated & raped by a stranger in the woods when I was 13. I was raped again on my first date when I was 17. It was brutal. I was raped in the Military after I was 21. I began to wonder was I born to be raped and abused and misused.

    I actually hate men for what they can do to us with that organ. I conversely still desire to be loved by a man like God intended me to be. I think I will never feel that because I am unable to ever truly trust a man. I was introduced to sex in a violent way and I was not yet able to comprehend what sex was or why this was happening to my young soul (first) and young body as well. I was not sexually attractive at this tender age. These perverts were just sick. Because I was in the States custody my family wasn't there to protect me. Now I protect me by not trusting anyone or their motives. I vow to murder anyone who ever tries to rape me again! I can't live thru the pain no more. Please Lord understand I know your commandment about killing but don't beseech me this right to say no - finally no! To be heard loud and clear! To protect myself from this hateful selfish act upon my person.

    I will not be a victim again. Meanwhile, I hurt so deep in my soul only another victim of rape can understand my pain. I lay awake at night (like tonight) with big crocidile tears rolling down my sadden cheeks. I  hurt for that little brown girl whose virginity was ripped away with searing pain in my private places, with defile of his touch and bewilderment on my young mind as the Angels took me from my body so my mind would not snap. God placed my consciousness in his hands until the rape was over and over the years He has slowly given it back. He waited til He felt my mind could accept it. Now I'm depressed.

    Somebody help me deal with them getting away. No jail time for them but an eternal prison exists for me. I'm always reminded of the cold ground in the woods when I see Autumns splendid colors arrive. Always reminded of the game the retarded guy played that turned out to be a 'bad' game I coudn't escape from. Fear, fear, so much fear he's gonna get me again when the lights go out. Darks nights bring dark dreams and cold sweats, racey heart pounding...... no sleep tonight. And the disappointment of thinking a first date would be so different & he really liked me only to be rudely traumatized with more demands for sex on my spirit!

    So sisters you are not alone. Unfortunately, after reading this site neither am I. Sadly welcome to our eliteness. But be triumphet please don't kill yourselves any more. I've tried & only feel worse. You survived it for a reason. Reclaim 'you' so he won't have the final victory and you will. God bless.

    What is rape? - - Jun 30th 2009

    What happened to me must surely happen to many other women who then struggle with processing the stress that inevitably arrives.  I found myself in a strange country, no way out, with a trusted family member who was helping me with my situation.  I was an easy target, troubled marriage, distressed child, and he wanted to offer me jobs, give me money and he was very very rich.  He sucked me in.  I arrived and he announced what he was going to do?  Where did I go?  How did I get away?  I tried to get him really drunk - mentally he was so strong that he scared me - I had to put out or I could not escape.  It happened twice.  I escaped only because a kind porter saw my distress and gave me help to escape. I was on auto pilot. I knew I felt bad, and had to run away, but I had not processed what he had done. Once back in the country I fell apart.  A friend asked me if I was raped.  I said I did not know.  Isn't rape when someone hold you at knife point, threatens your life??  Apparently not.  I was a strong trusting woman and now I trust no one, will shut people out, hide and I know that fear of seeing him again and keeping your back against the wall so no one can sneak up on you.  I was looking for help and he took advantage of it.  SInce then I have been permiscuious, sabotaged my marriage in many ways, suicidal and struggle with any form of conflict due to trust. My husband has stayed with me, god knows why if he knew what I do to myself I am sure he would run a mile.  I KNOW why I am reacting to things, I try to control it, and try to find the woman I used to be.  On the outside I can pull it off, but alone I am a prisoner of demons.  This happened 3 years ago.  It is a long time to fight the mess he left behind.  If I allow myself to grieve properly I am afraid I will never come back.  I live from day to day.  Rape happens often.  So many women say NO, but the men pressure them.  No means NO for any male reading this.  NO is NO NO NO until she says Yes Yes yes!  ANY woman who says no, stop and walk away.  You have NO idea the damage it does.

    I never told anyone - - Jun 27th 2009

    What happened makes you feel like you cant walk on this earth anymore, it hurts so bad you wish you could walk right up to heavens doors and embrace god in your arms , like your to ugly for the world and maybe angels are the only ones that could see any grace left in you. I pray that the angels here on earth help all our raped souls through this pain.

    "you gotta find a way 2 survive cus they win when your soul dies"-2pac on rape

    just a thought - - Jun 25th 2009

    I was raped a long time ago. I never acknowledged that it had any effect on me and I never talked about it or told my family or close friends. This was because I completely blocked off my feelings about it. I realise now that I felt very guilty - that was one reason why I didn't tell people. But another was that I was trying to re-establish control over what had happened, by (and i was semi aware of this at the time) suppressing any strong emotional reaction, which of course meant i didn't want to share the experience with other people. This is a viscious circle, because actually, you need to share the feelings. Over time, it is also a form of self-abuse - something which i felt well worthy of as a result of the rape.

    hmmm... i'm working through this 26 years later, after having a family with a gay man, and now dealing with chronic ill health. The rape caused me to fall into emotional patterns, affected my sense of identity, confidence and self worth, which i haven't understood and which are now ingrained and difficult (although not impossible) to shift. I now suspect the rape completely changed my life.

    the after affects - Paula - Feb 19th 2009

    Dealing With Feelings

    Rape isn't just physically damaging, it can be emotionally traumatic as well. The right emotional attention, care, and support can help a person begin the healing process and prevent lingering problems later on.

    Someone who has been raped might feel a lot of things: angry, degraded, frightened, numb, or confused. It's also normal for someone who has been raped to feel ashamed or embarrassed. Some people withdraw from friends and family. Others don't want to be alone. Some feel depressed, anxious, or nervous.

    Sometimes the feelings surrounding rape may show up in physical ways, such as trouble sleeping or eating. It may be hard to concentrate in school or to participate in everyday activities. Sometimes it may feel like you'll never get over the trauma of the rape. Experts often refer to these emotions — and their physical side effects — as rape trauma syndrome. The best way to work through them is with professional help.

    It can be hard to think or talk about a frightening experience, especially something as personal as rape. People who have been raped sometimes avoid seeking help because they're afraid that talking about it will bring back memories or feelings that are too painful. But this can actually do more harm than good.

    Clear bonds... - Sharon L. - Sep 3rd 2008

    Well, the woman with multiple past sexual partners would have to join her husband in a long, drawn out process of "reprogramming". It would firstly involved releasing any present guilt assosiacted with her past sexual activity and allaying any fears of her new husband in ragerd to being compared to the other men. Then, it would take a relearning of sexual preferences in technique, physical closeness, etc. And above all COMMUNICATION! Expressing feelings when being touched, takling about the frustrations of moving forward with the husband, etc. It's an ardous process no doubt, but possible and well worth it. Time is really the measure of how well it will work and it takes TWO willing partners. (It worked for me!)

    - - Jan 8th 2008
    Rape, socially understood as unwanted sex with a degree of coersion, is probably not the only way a woman can aquire a deep-seated emotional injury. I think the mainstream casualisation of sex has really put pressure on women (and men, although men seem to be able to process sex in more physical terms), and results in a lot of emotional problems that are unacknowledged by modern men, and by modern society. How does a woman form a clear, unsullied bond with her husband when she's done it with dozen different men (who ended up hurting her) already? Even psychologists, who err on the side of free choice, furtively acknowledge that promiscuity can, in itself, lead to emotional problems in marriage. But how else can we women form a relationship in the current sexual climate?

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