Rape and Healing


So I was reading this article. It is about bodily rape by males upon females:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/syrian-rape-and-chemical-_b_2370638.html

While reading, I noticed a few comments made by my friend, Ellarceehill…
like this one:

“. . . there is definitely a shift in consciousness by others coming forward, one voice, then many, and for the better good. Take care of yourself, fellow survivor. The cycle of abuse must be stopped, Grateful for your voice.”
– Ellarceehill

She wrote these words while interacting with a poster called Ravenmidnight, whom she mentioned as a victim, but then called her a survivor. Bravo and well-said… but there is a “next step” in this process of recovery. Some may forget this, and some may never know of it. That next step is the deliberate and calculated shift from “survivor” to “thriver.”

fearless2

“. . . Don’t let the fear of being raped force you into changing who you are; if you let the fear of what might be change or inhibit the possibilities of your future, you are letting the people who perpetrated those evil acts win. . . I let it happen to me – after I was assaulted about 12 years ago, I became a hermit. I avoided people, avoided going out, changed the way I dressed, and spoke, how I looked, and behaved. . . ”
– Daezed

“. . . Most people don’t have a malevolent tolerance for an armed stranger jumping out from behind the bushes and attacking a young woman. Most people don’t have a malevolent tolerance for a bunch of football players drugging a young woman and gang-raping her. . . . . But our country (not everyone, not me, not you, not most commentators here) DOES tolerate the charming fraternity man who plies his conquest with drinks until she’s drunk enough to have sex with him. They tolerate the star quarterback who forces his lab partner to have sex with him when they’re studying in her bedroom. They tolerate that nice man in the choir who tells his wife its her marital duty to sleep with him every night. . . . . I agree that a lot of us just feel sick and helpless over the situation. But even more of us don’t think rape happened unless some stranger attacked a woman with a knife.”
– belle vierge

belle vierge and Daezed are right. The more we hide from others – and from ourselves – the more power we give to the rapist, whether he – or she (or they!) – were friends, strangers, relatives, or significant others. Rapists count on us to be weak, to shut up, to hide, to hate ourselves because of what was done to us. Our rape – and the rapists – should not define us. We were our authentic selves before the act took place, and we must strive to remain our authentic selves afterward. We must not allow the theft of our very souls due to the impermitted use/violation of our bodies.

Those who have suffered the unwarranted violence and indignity of a rape (of any kind) must claim their healing, but in that healing they also must re-claim what was taken from them by the act itself. For some, that which was taken from them might be peace of mind. For others, perhaps, it is the ability to walk alone at night. For more, it may be the act of sleeping in their own bed, in their own room, in their own home. For yet more, it may be the continuance of a loving physical relationship with their significant others.

heavy carry

As Daezed said, “I became a hermit. I avoided people, avoided going out, changed the way I dressed, and spoke, how I looked, and behaved” … acquiescing like this gives our rapists power, although we don’t mean to. We think hiding in these ways heals us and protects us, but it doesn’t. It just gives them victory, as that is all they ever wanted – power. Rape is not (always) about sex. It is about the power of one person over another, the forcing, the humiliating, the demanding and receiving whatever it is they want.

Ellarcee also stated: “How can we help in halting this archaic mindset. Early in recovery, after suffering a most brutal attack, a ‘mentor’ tried to convince me that I lured and used one of my attackers, which is not the case, after entering my own home, there was a home invasion in progress, there were multiple people, I was drugged, hostage, robbed and brutalized in every way over a period of days. This type of mentoring sent me into seeking proper help, and initialized much better care for my multiple injuries, which I am grateful for. but it was such a shock to have someone try to further compromise my very core..it was mind bending to say the least and flared the other injuries to the point of near death, nearly took me out. This is the very thinking that I am greatly opposed to, then to think of others, this must be changed. . . . It’s taken years of therapy to move forward, many medical procedures, and a community of support. Today we do not have to go silent in fear of further punishment. I know what happened, I wish I could forget, but it doesn’t leave me. I know that I would never want to harm anyone with this, so I try to help. Mine is not a pity story, I’ve fought to stay alive, fought for good medical help, disabled as a result of rape 7 1/2 yrs. ago. As a senior citizen, it is very important to participate in this shift of thinking and consciousness. The rest of this sick historical repetition, is a red flag, some removed. It is so telling what sickness we’re up against, but progress is being made. . . . It cannot be explained away by the debators of rape. Rape is utter evil, rape invades a sacred ground of bodies minds and spirits, the very core of another human being, The infections, the unmitigated hell of another’s psychopathy changing forever what life is left for the abused as a result of rape. The medical expenses, and on-going health issues to this day for many, many of us is the part of rape that cannot go silent. Sometimes this needs to be brought forward, shown, just like in Eve Enslers 3 1/2 min.film @ www.onebillionrising.org/ Yes, this many years after, it’s still there, the effects of rape, and many times from a hospital bed. We know this is not a pity story but the reality, rape is the burden. This violent cycle of abuse of rape must and will be broken. We are having a huge impact. Thank you and many others posting on this side of the threads, and for the millions who have read our side, we the raped side. We are strong, today, because we don’t have to go silent ever again.”

Indeed. We all must work hard at preventing our rapists from ruling our lives, haunting us, living “24/7” in our hearts and brains, paying no rent! Our lives should not be measured by “B.R.” and “A.R.” (“before rape” and “after rape”) unless terms like these would help us heal by standing up for ourselves and others in the same situation. We must not maintain the physical, mental and emotional insults provided by our critics, and torture ourselves with them. We have been through enough pain already, caused by others. There is no need to harm ourselves, too! We must stand tall and bring the act of rape out of the shadows of shame, into the beautiful bright light of love and life. We must pass through the agony of fire and come out on the other side of that inferno, as tempered and as sharp as quenched steel.*

tempersword

We must never, ever be afraid or ashamed to speak up, even if those listening become embarrassed by what they hear from our mouths. Those of us who have experienced such horrific events and survived them must not stop there. We must not be afraid to continue, to grow, to thrive for the rest of our lives, to be better and stronger than we were before, and to be there for others. To teach them to learn as we learned..

So, why this blog entry? For many reasons. One is because I am a woman, now a Crone, and I have been there. Another reason is because I have young grandsons. They must understand the right and wrong of this issue. It is the responsibility of my amazing daughter, their mother, to raise those boys on the side of right and justice, respect and honor… and it is my ongoing responsibility to supply them – and all SisterWomen – with encouragement.

firewoman

(*Note: tempering is a heat treatment applied to alloys such as steel or cast iron to achieve greater toughness by decreasing the hardness of the alloy [from Wikipedia]. Let us practice at decreasing our own “hardness” in order to achieve greater “toughness” to protect us in our lives. Namaste.)

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3 Comments

  1. Deb Hillman said,

    January 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    Thank you my dear Sister for writing such a powerful blog post. You are an incredible spokeswoman and WayShower for all of us; for on some level all women have been raped, but the literal physical rape leaves such deep scars. I honor your healing and I love the term Thriver! Keep speaking out! I stand with you! Goddess is pleased with our Voices at a Time such as this! ❤

    Like

  2. Arie said,

    February 27, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I couldn’t agree with Deb Hillman more.
    You truly are an amazing woman. It’s hard to heal from this pain. I too have gone through it. I was molested by a sibling as a very young child, and told not a soul. I then grew up and got married to a man that I thought would never hurt me. Until he showed his true colors, I had forgotten the pain and confusion I had gone through as a child. Nobody listens if you say that your husband rapes you, because it’s your husband. I am currently divorcing, and have moved out of state from him. It took all I had to leave, but it’s been two years now. I haven’t forgotten the nine years I spent with him in denial. I do feel stronger now, and healing takes time. I’m learning to forgive myself and am on my way to a beautiful life.

    Like

  3. Jody said,

    September 8, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Very nice post, indeed. Thank you for it.
    As a victim myself, to whom, for many reasons, it took 7 years to actually admit that what I had gone through was rape, and still trying to heal from it, and proud of the work I have achieved so far but aware the path to complete Healing is still a long way ahead, please allow me to react to a few parts of your post.
    I understand how we can say that hiding, becoming a hermit, changing our ways (consciously or unconsciously) can be seen as another victory for the rapist, but I find it to be just another way to blame victims for being victims. When you’re wound, you find a way to protect yourself by avoiding the world for some time, just to get back with the strength you need to face what hardships life sends you. Why then is it wrong to temporally (and I mean temporally) hide from the world to focus on the work you have to do on yourself to heal?
    In my opinion and based on my own experience, behaving as if nothing happened IS what turns rape into something ‘normal’ or ‘benign’ that it is NOT. You need to acknowledge what has happened to you, you need to identify the changes it has brought upon and in you, and you need to determine who you were, who you want to be. Whether you like it or not, being raped changes you. It broke me, sexually, socially, romantically. I was lucky enough not to go through depression, but yes, I went into seclusion, my home became my fortress and I needed that as a haven where I could find myself and feel safe to heal. I don’t believe it is possible to go on being who you were, after such a traumatic event. Your perspective on life and relationships change, and you need to acknowledge those changes, decide what to do with those. And that takes a lot of quiet time in a place where you can feel safe. What raped people need is a place where to feel free to talk about what happened to them to people who fully understand, a place where and people to whom they can their questions, put words on what they’re going through, realize they’re not alone and what they’re feeling is neither unusural, nor abnormal. That is the kind of place that I would have liked to find. But here, in France, there are no such places, only one phone line. This is the reason why I am starting a support group for victims of sexual crimes. So, victims have to deal with so many things: how to mend their personality, their sexuality, how to deal with their disappointment about themselves not being able to see signs or not being able to protect themselves (though we, victims, know we are not to blame in any way, it is self-confidence shattering to realize you were manipulated, or not capable of getting yourself out of harm’s way), victims don’t need to deal with ‘behaving as if nothing happened’, we have to put on enough of a façade as things are to go on working or see our closest friends and relatives.
    Submitting to the instinct of protecting yourself by changing the places you go to, or spending more time in a place where you feel safe, or changing the way you dress, or living like a hermit for a while to get your strength back is OKAY, as long as you do it consciously and it does help you heal, not makes you feel even worse about yourself.
    Get your life together again, or build a new life for yourself that enables you to blossom and feel good. Don’t do anything that will bring more harm, you’ve had quite your dose already.

    Like


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