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No Rest For The Rape Victim

Updated on September 18, 2010

Variables Victims Face

There is a misconception out there that because rape is now a strongly punishable offense then women victims are no longer singled out or judged. That is not true at all. What is true is that it is easier to report the abhor-able crime. That being said it is also easier for some foolish women to report falsely. It is because of these women, among other reasons, that true victims are uneasy about reporting. Unfortunately the reasons women have for not reporting are valid and we have nobody to blame but ourselves..

In 1999, I was raped. I was just shy of 19 years old and still an innocent. Somebody decided that I had waited long enough and he took the honors. The range of emotions that I went through was dizzying. Anger topped the list followed closely by shame. The next week I went about my life as normally as possible while agonizing over whether or not to report. Crying myself to sleep, I avoided my friends, who would have instantly known something was wrong, I ate minimally only because I knew I had to, not because I was hungry, I tried in vain to make my mind focus on work and only barely succeeded. After six days I was an internal mess.

In an effort to further the 'everything is okay' image I was clinging to, I kept a date I had made two weeks earlier. Despite my best efforts, he noticed my lack of honest enthusiasm and had a mutal friend drive me home. Being a police officer, I asked non-chalent questions about what would happen if "my friend" reported the crime. By the time we got back I had broke down and told the story. He advised me to sleep on it and come by in the morning. I did. I had to write down what happened to me in detail first and then I had to spend the next few months being grilled on what I wrote. It was easier for me to write it then it was for me to say it because I had, and still have, a hard time saying that little four letter word. In my book the word is unspeakable because the act is so horrible.

The worst was yet to come. People in my community split. Some on my side, some on his. I never asked for their sympathy. By making the act public, I was thrown onto a public pedestal where I was subjected to the cruelties of my peers. Every loud whisper and accusing glance tore at my heart. Some outright accused me of lying saying that it was nothing but next day regret. He lied to me and took away my rights, but I did him wrong. The injustice of being socially outcast over this terrible violation was unbearable.

After three months I put in for some leave time. I was exhausted by the interrogations and the accusations and needed a break.  What I really needed was a little time to forget about it all.  I was ready to move on but I was not allowed to. All I was allowed to do was relive that night over and over and over again in order to prove that my story stayed consistent. The day before my leave I got a call asking to end the months of interrogations via a plea bargain for less jail time for him, the alternative was court martial to be held the next day.  Another slap in the face. Nobody had told me there was a trial date.  Besides that, I had physical proof of my rape and an untainted reputation and I was still being treated as though I might be lying. The plea bargain went through and his conviction was processed. The conviction did nothing to stop the rumors. Six months after the conviction, I was visiting with a friend who had to stop by a new guy's place for something. I saw an item that had belonged to the man in question and lost my breath. Not having a clue, they spouted off about how some chick cried rape and got this guy behind bars. Losing my cool I lectured them about judging people they have never met and making poor judgement calls based on knowing a guy for less than three weeks. My friend got me out of there and I do not know that my rant did any good but they may as well have stuck me in the stomach with a knife for how much I hurt.

Fast forward ten years and I am sitting at home watching a mystery show that is showcasing a rape victim. They portray her as irrational, moody, mentally unstable, and completely unable to trust any males. This is the image many see. Yes, some female victims portray those characteristics. Some display a few of those, others do not show any of those traits. In my case, my initial shock and default to appear normal in the face of adversity proved to be my social downfall. Others viewed my stoic lack of angry emotion as a tell-tale sign of guilt. Those that knew me know that I am not a fan of public airing of personal problems. Again, my downfall. Apparently, if I had acted the grief stricken, paranoid helpless damsel in distress as the media suggests I should have, then I would be credible. These are the kinds of misnomers that desperately need to be retracted.

Every person deals with adversity in their own way and it is not for us to judge how guilty or innocent a person is based on what dramatic movies and television shows tell us is the normal reaction. Rape is not normal, each circumstance, though similar in some ways, is unique to the individual. We have come a long way from the way we look at AIDS patients and even the way we view domestic abuse. There needs to be more change in how we view rape victims. I have moved on with my life but not without immensely struggling with the loss of my feeling of self-worth. It has taken ten years to regain most of that and I am still healing in many ways. I have a strong will, a stronger moral compass, and supportive friends and family which have gotten me this far. I am a very lucky girl. Plenty of women go through what I went through and do not have the support system I have and if I am still hurting from so long ago, I can only imagine the pain they are in. More awareness needs to happen and stronger punishments for false reporters need to be in place. Maybe then real victims can get the peace of mind they deserve. Maybe then the general public will understand that a person who has already suffered the pain of the attack and the indignity of the report and trial has suffered enough and needs your support, not your accusations or sympathy.


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    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      6 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Chaotic Chica, thank you for sharing your truth. I relate to everything you say. Same reaction. Frozen in fear and shock. That is a VALID response to a completely wrong and insane situation!

      But no matter how we react, no matter the circumstances surrounding our rapes, it's inevitable that some will judge our behavior as wrong. Even well-meaning friends and family have no clue how their tone-deaf reactions add to our pain. They just don't get it. But it's not our job to convince them. We just need to get support wherever we can.

      I've met many other rape victims over the years. There is instant understanding and acceptance.

      Time does lessen the sting, but we never know where or when we will be jolted back into a memory that brings it all right to the surface again.

      Really healthy to get the feelings out in writing.

      All the best to you. In solidarity and strength, MM

    • Chaotic Chica profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaotic Chica 

      7 years ago

      christina, I am so sorry that I was unable to respond until now and I hope that you are doing better. What is most likely happening is that you seem to be experiencing panic attacks. It is hard for others to understand what you are going through if they do not know and I know it is hurtful to you and very frustrating but give them a little slack for being ignorant. You may want to start talking to a counselor about it if you haven't already. Unless you are a minor they cannot make you report it and they are bound to confidentiality so it may be an option for you. I wish I could tell you it gets better because it did for me but you are your own person and you must handle things the best way you know how. {big hugs} For the record, I care.

      AngelaKaelin I am sorry to say that you are right and I, too, wonder just how long it will be before people finally get it. It is a terribly hopeless feeling being accosted and villianized for being a victim. In my case I froze solid out of shock and fear and people said I should have fought back kicking and screaming. I know it would have done nothing if it didn't make matters worse as he could bench press his own weight back then and now he is a championed weight lifter. I was a mere buck ten and didn't stand a chance. Once the shock was over, I was left to decide which was better, what he was doing now or what he would do if I ticked him off. I lost either way so I opted for the lessor of two evils. I had someone tell me that by making that decision that itself meant that I was giving him permission to continue and therefore it was not rape. Lovely sentiment.

    • AngelaKaelin profile image


      7 years ago from New York

      Nice hub! Most people won't understand until it happens to them. They are unable to empathize with others, so they lash out at survivors to make themselves feel superior. I can't tell you how tired I am of people acting superior - they're blessed, their god loves them more, they are too smart to be the victim of a criminal, they think happy thoughts so bad things will never happen to them, they can't understand what you did that this has happened to you(like you did something to provoke a stranger to try to murder you), etc., etc. But, now we have TSA in the airports and everywhere else sticking their finger raping passengers... so, I guess more people are getting a taste of it. I don't know how much of the population has to experience rape before any kind of action is taken against rapists! But, the problem is a systemic one. That's partly why you see these twisted representations of rape survivors in movies. It's a whole system designed to keep the rape machine going.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was also raped by my boss, although i told my friends i didn't report it and haven't told anybody at work. The thing is now i think i'm developing a heart condition after this and everybody at work thinks i am only seeking attention or pulling stunts beause they don't know what's going on.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I was raped too. My family didn't believe me. Thanks for having the courage to speak up.

    • Chaotic Chica profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaotic Chica 

      8 years ago

      Alexadriaruthk~thank you for kind words. Surviving is essential, if not easy!

    • alexandriaruthk profile image


      8 years ago from US

      oh I am glad you survived it good job again, more power to you!

    • Chaotic Chica profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaotic Chica 

      8 years ago

      Thank you, blondepoet. That's what I'm hoping for, by sharing my story, someone else will speak out, too.

      Kate-WOW!!! You're so young! Lord knows that you're not the first person to be raped so young, others here have, too, but that you are able to speak about it already is a wonderful. Nothing that happened to you was good, but the ability to be able to voice your pain and anger, even if just here, that is a big thing. I hope you realize that. It tells me that you are a fighter, whether you realiz it or not. Hang in there, we're here for you.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I'm 15, I was raped at 14 on the 3rd of October, I broke down inside but never show the affects it had on me. Weakness is not something tolerated in my family, no matter what. My sister cried more than I did but I do realise I have stopped talking as much as I used to, I am scared to do anything with my boyfriend, thank god he is kind and understanding, I only let about 3 or 4 friends touch me inside school and it's never skin on skin contact because it gives me flashbacks of 'that' day.

    • blondepoet profile image


      8 years ago from australia

      Wow thank you too for sharing your story. The more voices that stand up to tell their story the more we will be heard.You are so right in what you say "We all deal with it in a different way". I am so happy that you have been able to move forward too. xox

    • Chaotic Chica profile imageAUTHOR

      Chaotic Chica 

      8 years ago

      Thank you. It does take alot to talk about it. I thought that more I talked about it, the better it would be. I was both wrong and right. It still hurts but it's not as bad most of the time.

      You are right about friends, I have many aquaintences, but only a few good friends and they may as well be my family. They're the one's who helped me the most.

    • christryon profile image


      8 years ago

      What a powerful story you have told. It took a lot of courage for you to speak up. I am glad to hear that you now have a good support system in place.

      I have noticed over the years, that your true friends will stand beside you when thee rest of the world walks out.

      Warmest regards as you continue on your journey.


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