Sunday, November 26, 2006

Perception of Rape Victims Who Stay With Rapists

CJ's comment over at Alas, and my response get into such important areas of perception that it needs to be repeated here. I don't think CJ is a bad person, but his assumptions about rape victims and about the trauma, or lack of trauma, perpetuate some very dangerous myths.


And women have continued to have sex with men who have raped them, in their case having put the event on the same plane as borrowing the car without asking. Not every incident of rape is a life-altering event.
A large part of this seeming lack of trauma is the denial of rape by the rapist and by society at large. The trauma is there but according to many it is self-manufactured. So the rape victim can start questioning the reality of what she experienced even before she’s gotten over the shock of being raped by someone she cared about or loved. In my case I got raped a second time before I realized the first time was no misunderstanding or accident.

Make no mistake that first rape was life altering and traumatic. My rapist did a nice number and put the responsibility for raping me on me. It was also his way of showing me how much he loved me.

Yet people say it is nothing more serious than borrowing a friend’s car to run an errand. Bull.

I lived in a traumatic fog for weeks. Just because my family and others didn’t see it didn’t mean the trauma wasn’t there. That numbness and internal chaos gets labeled as lack of trauma is the problem of the observer, not the rape victim.

And because people don’t see trauma, they say it couldn’t have been a real rape that should be punished the same as rapes committed by strangers. Because it can take time before the fog lifts, reporting rape even a day after the rape is assumed to be a lie by many people who don’t have a clue what they are talking about or the harm their assumptions cause real victims.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:09 AM   4 comments links to this post


At November 26, 2006 3:19 PM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Dear Marcella,
THE TRAUMA AND LABELING OF RAPE IS HORRIBLE! I personally know this all too well!!
Take care Holly

At November 27, 2006 3:30 AM, Blogger sophie said...

CJ's comment ignores a lot of very real possibilities.

In my case, one of your persistent 'twelve-steppers' who refused to be dumped. With more knowledge, I would call him now a stalker not a boyfriend. Every day you get put into a position of creating a huge fuss or being a nice girl. You soon learn that if you create a fuss most people ignore you because he's your 'boyfriend'.
Then you find yourself having to make the choice between agree to sex, or be raped with no birth control involved.

So yes, I continued to have sex with a rapist. That doesn't mean it wasn't a traumatic event. And it doesn't suddenly make the further sex consensual.

I would suspect that CJ also doesn't believe in the possibility of marital rape, from that comment.

At November 28, 2006 6:28 PM, Blogger taught_to_despise said...

"The trauma is there but according to many it is self-manufactured."

I have seen this argument in different forms rather a lot of late and it is making me so damn angry.

More victim blaming. We bring it upon ourselves because we keep morbidly focusing on the rape when we should be brushing it off and getting on with our lives.

I've even seen the bullshit 'statements of concern' like:

'It's *sad* really... these women simply won't let go of their abusive experiences and so they live miserable lives by their own doing.'

This kind of thing has even been hinted to me recently by other women.

Makes me sick.

Take good care,

I really like your writings.


At November 29, 2006 11:54 AM, Anonymous xanadu1015 said...

That's f-ed up! Does he feel the same way for kids who are molested but don't immediately tattle on the bastard that abuses them? Guess that means I'm at fault. So freaking stupid! What about battered women? Please, it is these kinds of ideas that help keep the problem of blaming the victim, rather than the pig that hurts which is wear it belongs in the first place. Nothing excuses the sick behavior. Duh!



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