Speaking Out - - 2003-06-04 03:46:51
"Rape has long been considered a crime so unspeakable, so shameful to its victims, that they are rendered mute and cloaked in protective anonymity...The victims of rape must carry their memories with them for the rest of their lifes. They must not also carry the burden of silence and shame..."
In order to be healed survivors of rape and sexual abuse must come out of the isolation and hiding. It takes untold courage to open up; telling someone what happened to you can be frightening as often the pain of the violence removes also your ability to talk. Because rape is still considered a distasteful subject survivors of sexual abuse often suffer additional pain from the reactions of their friends and family. Their friends may be distant, minimize their pain or may even avoid them. People don't like discussing the subject of rape and may try to distance themselves from the event by blaming the victim. Perhaps they feel that if they can somehow place the blame on the victim, they will be invulnerable to rape themselves.
Often unintentionally upsetting comments are made by friends or relatives, those closest to you and whose opinion you value the most. Some people may tell you that you should stop feeling sorry for your self, or that you are not being positive. Maybe they can't see any reason why you should be depressed and think that you can just snap out of it. If you had to deal with these kinds of reactions you know how hurtful it is, you wish the ground could open up and swallow you. Whenever this happens, please take a long breath and remember that they are the ones with a problem, not you. Don't let them silence you. They simply don't understand because they've never had to deal with it.
Most survivors had to learn on their own how not to let what others say or do affect them in a negative way. In time, you may also come to realize that most people donít intentionally mean to hurt you with their words. Some of them are just unprepared to deal with such sensitive and emotive issue and say things without considering the implications of their words or the deep impact that their comments could have on you.
Sure, some people's reaction is bound to hurt you but this doesnít mean that you should give up on the idea of finding support and understanding in others. There are people out there who do understand. Finding comfort and support in a friend can touch your soul in a way that words can barely express. These kinds of friends are priceless. Just be cautious about who you confide in and reveal sensitive details to. Tell some one who you feel will be there for you, understand and support you. Breaking the silence it's the first step to recovery. Every time you break the silence and trust someone, you are one step farther in your recovery journey.
Remember, you did nothing wrong. Don't be silent. Speak.
This site is offered for support of other survivors, it is not meant to be a substitute for any kind of professional help. I don't have any qualifications or training in therapy, I am by no means a professional. I claim no responsibility for the use of this web site, use of content, or content of any links leading from this site. If you are in a crisis situation I urge you to contact your local rape crisis center or health care professional.