This has been taken from a sexual abuse/rape forum
Yes, I’m talking to *you*. Whether you’re a new member or not, no matter your background, no matter your gender, nor your age, you are beautiful.
To have gone through what you’ve gone through, to bring you to this web community, the fact you are alive, whether you’re striving or just barely hanging on, from one survivor to another – I must commend you for your inner strength.
You have a voice, even if you only allow it to be heard here on AfterSilence. So I commend you for using it – because each time you do, you take a little more power, a little more control, that your attacker(s)/abuser(s) have/had over you away from them, and transfer it to yourself.
Every time you post, vent, talk to someone, you are reaching out. You are refusing to let what happened ruin your life, you are daring to claim your life back. I know many of you feel that coming on AS and talking to others isn’t much of a step, even one at all, but it is – it’s a huge step and you should be so very proud of yourself for having the courage to take that step.
Remember that what they took from you, what they took from us, was not given to them willingly, nor was it offered. They are nothing more than lying actors with a passion for stealing and hurting. So please do not place the blame on yourself.
You did nothing wrong. NOTHING. Say what you want to say, hindsight is 20/20. Of course we can look back now with our “would’ve/should’ve/could’ve”s. We did what we had to do at the time to survive through our ordeals – some of you are still doing what you have to do to survive through the ordeals you may still be in – to you I say: Don’t give up. Point being, there is no shame whatsoever in simply doing what we feel/felt we have/had to do to get through trauma. The only shame there is, the only shame there SHOULD be, in the trauma we had/have to get through – is theirs, the people who have put us through the ordeals that brought us to AfterSilence. Our abusers, our attackers. They are the only ones who should feel any shame. We can not control other people’s actions – even when we try.
We have been fooled.
We have been lured.
We have been tricked.
We have been deceived.
We have been conned.
We have been taken advantage of.
We have been savagely attacked.
We have been victimized.
We have been held hostage.
What did we do to deserve to have that happen to us? Well, many of us might say things like:
I shouldn’t have believed…something we had no reason not to believe at the time
I shouldn’t have trusted…someone/something we had no reason not to trust at the time
I shouldn’t have went…somewhere we had no reason not to go at the time
I shouldn’t have said…something we had no reason not to say at the time
I shouldn’t have done…something we had no reason not to do at the time
Let’s break that down a little more, shall we?
Look at those above statements we often make. There’s a common theme.
“Shouldn’t have” before I go deeper, how many of us have used that term – be it to other people, or to ourselves? I know I have. Now let me ask you this, so you can ask yourself this:
When you say “I shouldn’t have…believed/trusted/went/said/done/etc…”…
Let me stop you from giving me/yourself the top answer to that question:
You are not stupid. Nor are you an idiot.
That’s a common misconception we make about ourselves. Why do we feel stupid for something that someone else did to us?
Why do we feel stupid/to blame for something that was out of our control?
Why do we feel stupid?
Because we couldn’t stop it? ….Why should we have had to stop something we didn’t ask for/want to begin with? And I’m sure in our own ways, most of us DID make an attempt to stop it in some way. Even if we didn’t, we had no way of knowing it was going to happen in the first place. So it was only natural for our minds and bodies to go into survival mode and do what they had to do to get us through it. We are not stupid. You know who’s stupid? The idiots that hurt us.
Seriously. How stupid must they be? It doesn’t take much to just be a half decent person in order to find another person to CONSENTUALLY be with them. It takes a pretty stupid person to not realize that, and feel like they have to force someone to be with them. But they’re more than just stupid, they’re sick. Because we know it’s not just about sex, it’s about control and power. In some cases, sick fetishes. That is not our fault. That is not your fault.
Back to those statements. When we believe something…it’s usually because we are given reason to. Someone puts us under a certain impression, by something they’ve said. In other words, lies. We believed something because they lied to us. That is not our fault. They are good liars. Some people have no trouble looking at you straight faced and lying to you. We’re not mind readers. Most of us will take people at face value, if they say something – we tend to believe it because…well, why would they say something if it wasn’t true, right? Of course now many of us do second-guess people when we are told things because of our experiences. But back then, before we were hurt so badly…we had no reason not to believe when someone said something. Not our fault. Not your fault.
When we trust something…again, we are given reason to. Again, because of something we were told and have belief in. Because we had no reason not to. (We do now, of course). Again, we were deceived. We did not deceive ourselves – rather, we were deceived by someone else, in many cases…by a few someone elses. Not our fault. Not your fault.
Destinations. In some of our cases, random attacks, in others, not so random. Some of us may have been lured to a specific destination. Some of us may have been innocently at a destination we already knew (be it home, school, work, etc). Some of us may have been on our way TO a destination. Whatever the case may be, on the instances we were hurt…it is not our fault that we were where we were. We had no reason to believe we shouldn’t be in many cases. In the cases where maybe we knew we had a reason not to be at a destination (due to cases of on-going abuse, or the threat of it) – clearly we were there anyway, so there was still a reason for our being there. In cases like that, generally because of threats. Non-verbal, verbal, physical, whatever the threat may have been…we were there from fear – fear that was instilled in us by an abuser/attacker. Fear that is no fault of our own. No fault of your own. Again, we did/do what we have to to survive.
“I shouldn’t have said…” don’t even go there. Absolutely NOTHING a person may have said could be grounds/reason/excuse for another person to do what they have done to us. NOTHING. I don’t care if we said we ran over an innocent animal, or accidentally broke our abuser’s favorite possession – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING we may say/have said is an excuse for them to hurt us. If you have ever been told before being attacked/abused that the “reason” they are doing it is because of something you said…they are lying to you. People like that just want an excuse to hurt you to get a power/control trip for themselves. ANY excuse, even if you have/had the supposed ‘nerve’ to say you need the bathroom while they happen to be in there. Not your fault.
“I shouldn’t have done…” Similar to what I said above. What could you possibly have done that could be an excuse for someone to hurt you? Did you take too long to cook a meal? Did you look at them the ‘wrong way’? Did you fall asleep when you weren’t supposed to? Eat something you weren’t given permission to eat? Go somewhere you weren’t given permission to go? Made a joke? Danced? Fallen for a fake search (through no fault of ur own)? Gone to that party in the first place? Agreed to that blind date? Left that open beverage out of your sight for too long? Walked home by yourself? Been born? Etc…
The possibilities here of what we commonly say we shouldn’t have done are endless. But none of these things are grounds for an attack/abuse. Before we did any of the things we may have done before ‘it’ happened…what reason did we have to believe that an attack/abuse was foreseeable just because of that generally simple, normal function we did?
None. Not our fault. Not your fault.
See where I’m going with this? It does not matter where you were or where you were going, it does not matter what you believed or what/who you trusted, it does not matter what you said or what you did before hand, everything we did, said, everything/everyone we believed/trusted, everywhere we went/were….we had reasons. Some due to lies. Some due to threats/fear. None of it is our fault. None of it is your fault.
The fault, the blame…all belongs to our attackers and abusers. All of it. 100%. Not even 0.001% of it is ours. Stop mentally arguing with me, you heard me (or rather, saw what I said), not even 0.001% is yours. You did what you had to do to survive. Maybe you’re still doing what you need to do to survive. You can’t blame yourself. Not even for not going for help or going to the law. In many of our cases, the law just isn’t helpful to think about. We have to have ‘evidence’ that we might not believe we have. We may be afraid because we have been ‘warned’ by our attackers/abusers not to tell on them. And that’s perfectly legitimate. It is not your fault.
If you have any issues I have not raised in this letter, feel free to post and bring it up.
You’re a survivor.
You’re brave. (Yes, you are!)