A woman is naturally born to be loving, passionate, nurturing, and self-sacrificing. She invests so much in the relationship that makes it easy for her to always be on the losing end.
I do not believe in the saying that love is blind. The more accurate way of saying it is, “Lovers are blind,” especially women. They can pretend to love doing things that they are not really in the mood of doing just because their partner likes it, and one of those things is sex.
The stigma of being raped is earth-shattering. I felt shame, fear, alone, and terrorized by my nightmares and unpleasant memories. “Common reactions to sexual assault include feeling like you can’t feel safe again, feeling ashamed, low esteem for self or others, feeling scared, and wondering if your life can ever be the same,” says licensed clinical psychologist Elizabeth Ramquist, Ph.D. But no matter how bad it felt, I know I have to move on from it. My parents often remind me that it was not my fault and was not of God’s doing, but rather an opportunity used by the devil.
“Sexual assault is any sexual act, which is unwelcome or unwanted. It is sometimes committed through use of manipulation, coercion, intimidation, threats, force, or a controlled substance. It can range from sexual battery, to threat of sexual assault, to rape,” according to Hung Tran, Psy.D.
My struggle lasted for almost before I was able to bounce back from the trauma of the rape, and the healing process was very painful. But with the support of my parents, counselor, and churchmates, I was able to move past it. I was able to restructure my life, rebuild a sense of self-control and self-worth, and have the courage to trust people again. I even see myself now as stronger and more resilient.
Opportunity Presents Itself
As I see myself ready to face the world again. I started to ask myself questions on how I survived it. I focused my attention on studying God’s words and looked for answers and the reasons why God allowed it to happen.
Yes, I was raped, but it was not the end of it. I’ve realized that there are other things that I should be thankful for, and one is that I’m still alive. Second, because of what happened to me, our family became closer, giving me the support I needed. Third, I found a purpose for my life after my rape, and it is God himself who opened doors of opportunity for my family and me. He gave us the strength to face it and talk about it not just within our family or the confines of our church but to other communities and organizations as well.
I thank God that our family became bounded by the same spiritual determination. It has become our core strength to spread awareness about rape and give hope for victims of rape and sexual trauma. God had made me an instrument to help teenagers like me who almost took their lives because of the stigma brought by sexual assault, abuse, and rape.
Rape Is Not The End
Your traumatic experience from rape may have closed a door, but it is your choice to allow it to open windows so
love may come in
belief in God will enable you to forgive
affirm what God has done and can do to your life
I cling on to God, for there’s no one else that I know of that can help me get to where I want to go but Him. He is the only way I know who can help me survive and let go of the pain. I look up only to Him so that I may forgive my assailant. If not for his love, goodness, and control over me after the rape, I could have been stuck in the darkest moments of my life forever.
All Things Work Together For Good
I believe that my God is a God who makes no mistakes. Tragedies happen for a reason. For me, it was the rape, while others have their own forms of miseries, which God allows to make His children stronger and become better people. These things are hard to comprehend when you’re in the middle of your misery, but after the suffering, it is then that you will realize that God’s yearning is for your betterment because He is the father who loves you most.
It is your faith that will allow you to see this, and only by God’s grace will you have a faith like this. I don’t know how God will use what happened to you, but I believe if you listen to Him with your heart you will find His purpose for you as I did.
After my rape, I just held on to Him. He was the one who led me to the victory I am enjoying now with my family. Also, “Healing from sexual assault and physical abuse is a slow psychological process that can be worked on gradually and released as a negative event that happened and is not what controls your life today,” says Dr. Taji Huang PhD.
If there’s one more thing that victims of sexual abuse are afraid of, it is them telling and recounting every painful event that they would never want to experience again. More often than not, these survivors live in silence as they have the thinking that they would be ‘judged’ by anyone who would hear their story. Trust becomes the most difficult issue to deal with when it comes to the victims’ therapy.
“Disclosure of an unspeakable event is beyond what many can do in the immediate aftermath of rape but that need not preclude reaching for help. Often it is in that step towards help that a small re-ordering of life begins,” says Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
Most of us, at some point in our lives, have stalked someone or been stalked by someone. It could be someone we like or a famous person we fancy, and it is just typical to like someone, to somehow wish to be someone or be with someone. At some point, we have all experienced stalking.
What Is Stalking?
Stalking is a behavior where a person has an excessive and obsessive desire or attention towards a particular person. A stalker spends time and effort to know everything about the person he is stalking.
Is Stalking A Mental Illness?
“Believe it or not, many stalkers, due to mental health or personality disorders, are impaired and lack the ability to reason and engage appropriately with others. For the most part, individuals who would be labeled a stalker often suffer from a lack of social skills and finds communicating with others challenging,” according to Támara Hill, MS, LPC.
Most of the stalkers have severe mental issues like depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, and other personality disorders. It is a little bit scary because some of these conditions act or perform stalking based on their reality which can be delusional.
When a person has schizophrenia, he loses his understanding of reality. He has his own belief which he believes to be the truth. People with schizophrenia are most likely to develop a particular desire and obsession towards someone. It can be in his reality that the person he is stalking feels the same way.
Signs You Are Stalking:
Nowadays, almost all of us can have access to the internet, and it is easy to learn about someone just by searching them up on social media like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Sometimes, we are unaware that we are already stalking someone by always checking on their status and updates on social media.
“I’m not a stalker.” It is what you tell yourself when you notice your obsessive behavior towards someone. You are immediately in defense and denial.
You create duplicate accounts on social media just to cyberstalk.
You befriend his family and friends. Somehow, you feel a certain level of closeness to that person when you talk to someone close to him like his best friend even though deep inside you find him annoying.
You pay close attention to his activities and whereabouts in the hope of seeing and interacting with him in person.
You make an effort to know his phone number and would try and ring him once in a while. You call him just to hear his voice without really talking to him.
Signs You Are Being Stalked:
Someone is lurking around wherever you go.
Someone watches you but doesn’t talk to you.
Someone asks about you repeatedly.
Someone keeps on ringing your phone, but when you answer it, nobody speaks.
Someone always likes your posts on social media, sometimes even comments even though you are not close.
When you feel and think someone gives creepy attention and obsession to you, trust your instinct because it is most likely the case.
“The data suggest a substantial proportion of adolescents are victims of stalking and are likewise at risk for a number of deleterious health outcomes,” according to Dennis E. Reidy, Ph.D. “As such, this population merits further attention by prevention researchers and practitioners.” He speaks about a study he has done where teenagers are more likely to be stalked.
Rising Stars Who Were Tragically Killed By Stalkers:
Christina Grimme was only 22 when she was shot dead by his stalker fan Kevin James Loibl, 27. He was stalking her long before the night he decided to end the life of the singer, Youtuber, and The Voice finalist. Investigations revealed that the killer was at the back of the crowd watching Grimme at her concert in Florida. Little did everyone know that he was already planning on making that concert her last one. He immediately shot himself right after killing Grimme.
Rebecca Schaeffer was a 21-year old Hollywood movie star at that time when she was gunned down by an obsessed fan, Robert John Bardo. Reports showed that he stalked Schaeffer for three years before finally succeeding in his evil plan of putting her down in her Los Angeles home. Her tragic death resulted in passing a law prohibiting employees to reveal addresses of celebrities prone to these situations.
There were many other celebrities killed by fans who were close to them that’s why nobody thought that they would suffer such fate. They were most likely stalking, waiting for the right moment to do their evil act. Whether the stalker intends to murder his stalkee, any action that poses a threat to that person’s well-being, whether emotional or physical, it is crucial that the person being stalked act accordingly or tell the authorities about it. It can be paranoia, or maybe not. But there’s no harm in taking precautions especially when our life is involved.
“Please don’t try to handle this on your own. You’ve never been in a situation like this before so, of course, you don’t know what to do. But the police and crisis teams do have experience to draw on. Talk to people who can offer you the protection and practical help you need. Do consider staying somewhere safe while you work this situation through,” says Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker.
Having studied in a Christian school, we were taught that virtue and values are most important. We were trained to be ladylike in speech and demeanor. It was ingrained in us at a very young age that discipline, respect, and love for others should be our priority for us to start building a future full of positivity.
I grew up protected, loved, and cherished by everyone around me. Who will ever think that such a tragedy will happen to me?
It was just like any ordinary Friday, and since there was no school the next day we were allowed to have some fun. My parents are often home late during Fridays, so it was just me, my siblings, and my uncle who were home. I, together with my siblings and some friends, decided to go out for some burgers and fries. As it was getting dark, we headed back home after a few chats.
Upon entering the gate to our house, maybe the last one who got in forgot to lock it, and we didn’t notice that some guys whom we didn’t know we’re able to get in.
My siblings went to their rooms while I headed to my parents’ room to have a quick shower there. I was already drying up when I heard a loud stump approaching the bathroom. I thought it was just one of my siblings, but to my surprise, it was a big man I’ve never seen before. He was tossing things around, as if searching for something, opening every drawer and cabinet. Not finding what he was looking for, he started walking towards the bathroom where I was hiding.
I was speechless, trembling in fear, but in my mind, I’ve been calling to God to protect me. I was sitting there on the bathroom floor trying to hide. I felt the cold steel of his gun against my shoulder. I looked up, and he grabbed me asking me for cash and valuables. In terror, I told him I would give him everything as long as he wouldn’t hurt me or anyone in the house. Then he told me just to sit there. He turned off the light. At gunpoint, I thought he was going to shoot me, but I was stunned when he forced himself into me. While he was doing that, I was praying. I felt numb. There was no clarity of thoughts. All that I had with me were my fears and my tears.
When he was done, he asked me to get dressed and he tied me and directed me to the kitchen where my siblings and uncle were. They were also hand-tied. My instinct was to check on my siblings if they were hurt. After having all the cash and jewelry the robbers needed, they fled immediately. And my uncle called the police station.
The police were already in the house when my parents came. It was the police who broke the news to them that I was raped. I saw how hurt they were. My mother was sobbing as she was heading towards me.
The material things that were gone can be recovered but not the one they’ve stolen from me.
I Questioned God
It was like a nightmare that haunts me not just every night but every second of each passing day. I was asking God, “Are you really there?”
“Why didn’t you hear my sobs?”
“Why did you allow it to happen?”
Learning To Trust Again
With counseling and with my parents’ support, I was able to survive the terror it caused me. I may not understand why God allowed such things to happen, but I have learned to trust him.
God sometimes opens the hedge of protection, but that doesn’t mean that we will let the evil rule over us. Satan has used those guys to try to discredit the values God had instilled in me.
My mom never fails to remind me to humble myself under the mighty hands of God and not to rebel against Him despite the brutal insult committed against me.
At that time, I questioned God. I don’t exactly know why He allowed it to occur but I re-learned to trust and rest upon His promise of a better future.
It was hard, but as time passed by, I have learned to forgive those criminals who assaulted me. I have lifted their fate in God.
Life has to continue for a future of positivity. And at the right time, God rewarded me by giving me a very loving husband who supports me in all my endeavors. We have lovely kids who also followed the narrow path leading to God’s kingdom.
I no longer count the loss. Instead, I am forever grateful for the blessings God is pouring upon me and my whole family.
We hear staggering news of children (boys and girls alike) who get abused almost every day, and it is very frightening just to let go of our little darlings. It’s not the issue of being paranoid or untrusting to other people, but only overly concerned with our own kid’s safety.
We cannot be with our children all the time. There will come a phase in their lives where they will demand a bit of freedom, and we should know when we should let go so our lovely little birdie will learn to fly on her own.
What Is The Right Age To Let Go
It’s essential that we listen to our kids when deciding on this. Some kids tell their parents upfront, but others are too shy or too afraid to voice it out because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. However, we must learn to read their body language and read between the lines when they are telling us things. When you have a hint, don’t argue with it anymore, respect her and save her from embarrassment. It will help her build confidence in herself.
Make Them Smart and Strong
But before we do the letting go, it’s vital that we prepare them so that their time flying alone will be an enjoyable one for them. Teach them well that they may be smart enough to protect themselves from predators.
Teach the difference between appropriate touch and inappropriate touch. “When I talk to younger kids about sex and their bodies, I think the most important thing to do is be concrete,” saysDr. Jamie Howard, a clinical psychologist here at the Child Mind Institute who specializes in families and trauma. continues. “You can say, ‘the only grownups that touch your body are mom and dad and the doctor, particularly private parts.’ This changes, of course, as kids get older, but being developmentally appropriate in your conversations does not mean you can’t be concrete as well.” It may be awkward, but it’s crucial that you arm your kid with information to avoid making her a victim of sexual abuse or harassment. Remind your kid that it’s her body and that people should respect it. Tell her that no one should touch her underneath her clothes unless medically necessary and should always be in the presence of her parents.
It’s not always about strangers. Most of the reported sexual abuse is committed by someone close to the child. Be always aware of who she spends time with and what activity they do. Tell your child that if anyone (a close relative or not) did something to her that she thinks is not right, she has to inform you right away.
Practice a No-Secret Relationship with your kid. Always engage her in conversations, especially when it involves her. Let her be open to you by being open to her. Never interrupt her when she’s trying to tell you something, it might be something significant. Be her best friend. Child therapistNatasha Daniels suggests to “Tell your child that no matter what happens, when they tell you anything about body safety or body secrets they will NEVER get in trouble.”
Faith and trust are very important. Explain to her clearly what these two things are and why they are of importance. Assure her that you will always listen to everything and never get mad whether what she says is proper or not. You can always talk to her in a manner that she will not hide anything from you or be afraid to open up to you.
Be involved in your kid’s life, by knowing where she’s going, who she’s with, and what her activities are. Befriend her friends. Train her always to open up to you and never to break your trust.
It’s very heartbreaking to let go of our little ones, but we must, for them to know how to survive in the world that is not the fantasy dreamland they grew up listening to in our stories. It’s a world where there are people who care for nothing but themselves, who are good at manipulating people who are weaker.
There’s no exact formula that we can impart to our kids but there are safety measures we can teach them at an early age, so that they may know how to take care and protect themselves.
According to forensic psychiatristDr. Alan Ravitz, “The main strategy should be encouraging kids to talk to their parents, no matter what.” Letting go of our kids is taken in baby steps until they are smart and strong enough to spread their wings and fly freely. The values we inculcate in them will always stay with them. They may sometimes forget and may fall, but like all parents, it’s important to assure them that we will always be here to protect them.
Falling is a part of flying, and we, parents, are the nets that are always willing to catch them until they can fly again.
Today’s fashion trend may not be favorable for most people as they are too bold and daring. Because of this, it has been a debate about whether clothing has something to do with the alarming number of sexual abuses. The 2015 San Francisco Women Abuse Statistics show the soaring number of sexual abuses, both reported and unreported. Does rape have something to do with what the women were wearing? “Society needs to stop re-victimizing the victims of sexual assault (“What were you wearing?” “Did you drink too much?” “Did you resist?” “Are you sure he knew you didn’t want to?”) and focus its efforts on teaching perpetrators of this crime that people’s boundaries and rights must be respected at all times,” says John M. Grohol, Psy.D.
Three Reasons Why Clothing Doesn’t Have Anything To Do With Rape Cases:
No clothes literally speak, “Rape me!” Fashion, nowadays, may be too revealing, but humans are naturally sexual. They think whatever they desire. Rapists feel the urge regardless of what the woman is wearing, and this has been proven many times. Most rape victims were even wearing decent and unrevealing clothes during the time they were abused.
Sex addiction, hypersexuality, hypersexual disorder, compulsive sexual behavior, or sexual compulsivity is a mental health condition where an individual is urged to think of sex, and it may be irrelevant whether the object of desire is wearing appropriate clothes or not. The eyes see beyond the layers of clothes because the mind may already imagine the person.
Our eyes may play a vital role in stimulating our emotions. However, our actions are not entirely based on what we see. Rape becomes it when one person gives in to the urge of having sex with someone who doesn’t consent, and it takes more than the eyes to do such a crime. “Everyone has the right to refuse and change his or her mind, and to feel uncertain towards something. Any time someone does not respect another’s personal wishes, any sexual act between them is no longer consensual but rather an act of violence/assault,” says Hung Tran, Psy.D.
Clothing may play a vital role in determining identity. Often, it sends the wrong message because no person would want to be violated, and it is not right to blame rape cases on what women are wearing. Yes, it may be too much, but no matter how thin or small the piece of clothing a woman is wearing, nothing is equivalent to the message, “Rape me!” “Rape is often experienced as an annihilation of the ownership of self — a loss of the self’s ability to act, to make meaning or register what is happening, to remember. Feelings are overwhelming or numbed. Narrative is destroyed. There are no words for what is too horrific to comprehend,” according to Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
Sexual violence is a crime hard to forgive both on the part of the victim and her family. It poses so much danger to the victim as it affects many facets of that individual’s well-being, which includes, but not limited to, the psychological and emotional imbalance of the mind and body. According toJohn M. Grohol, Psy.D. ,”Many people who suffer from sexual abuse or sexual assault can also suffer long-term effects from the abuse.”
The Experience Is Detrimental To Mental Health
Victims are expected to experience a sudden shift in their mental health like having flashbacks or hearing something they heard during that moment they were being assaulted, which might trigger them to remember how they were abused and may result in fears and trauma. “When you are traumatized, you lose control of your life. You may feel like you still don’t have any control over your life,” saysMary Ellen Copeland, Ph.D.
The trauma that the victims experienced may cause them to have mood swings, resulting in suffering and a feeling of anger towards their perpetrator. If they are left unattended and untreated, victims of rape, human trafficking, sexual abuse and other forms of maltreatment may experience mental issues which may get worse as they grow old. It is commonly found that a victim of malicious acts suffers from depression, anxiety, and even panic attacks.
How Support Groups Can Help
“Help the survivor find other resources, such as a support group, psychotherapy, or relevant professionals in the community,” said expertsDena Rosenbloom PhD and Mary Beth Williams PhD. There are many institutions and support groups that help individuals who are victims of sexual violence. They know and understand how traumatic the experience is on the part of the individual especially when it was done to her at a very young age. It may affect her behavior around the community, in school, or in the workplace, and even her relationship with her family and friends can change.
Joining a support group is necessary to help the victim understand why such things sometimes happen. It’s not easy, but with the guidance of a counselor, she will learn to come to terms with it. She will learn to determine what she can do to avoid such violent act from happening again. Understanding the situation of the victim will help her get through the traumatic experience like talking to her, trying to connect and ask what she needs, making her feel comfortable in trusting a person again and making her forget her bad experience little by little.
Support groups offer counseling that can help victims cope with the emotional stress caused by the abuse. The victim may find the experience more bearable and tolerable if someone will listen to her and offer her lifelong advice which the other person had struggled with before.
The Fear Of Being Judged
Counseling renders services wherein you can talk to a professional without being judged. Talking about past abusive experiences is a sensitive topic for the victim, but it will help her lessen the pain and make her understand that it is not her fault and she can get through with it and forgive the person who did her wrong. Forgiving is not easy, but it will eventually come once the victim’s pain has lessened, and she has accepted what had happened to her and had prepared herself to move on from that nightmare.
What the counselor wants to avoid is for the victim to have passive suicidal thoughts, have ideas of revenge, imagine doing the same thing to another individual, and other negative thoughts and feelings. That is why it is essential to reach out to the victims of abuse and offer help as much as you can to save them from ruining their lives.
The Victim Must Understand That Forgiveness Is For Her Own Peace Of Mind
It is hard for a victim to go on with life with a heavy heart, holding a grudge against her assailant and other people who have caused her suffering, and act as if nothing had happened or what happened is a normal occurrence. She is in a lot of pain and in a state of confusion. There are a lot of questions at the back of her mind, like how can life be so cruel for letting such thing happen to her, where is God during that moment, and more, which when left unanswered will leave her in the dark.
Every day is a battle for her – her thoughts, anger, and feelings for that person. But as long as she knows that there are people who are willing to help her and make her feel that she is understood and accepted no matter what had happened, she will soon have the confidence to live again and get out of that dark corner of her life and go out in the light.
Counseling can guide a victim through different interventions, so she can let go of the past and turn her suffering and anger to compassion for her perpetrator. As she learns to be compassionate to her abuser, she is learning to free herself from anger, and that will eventually lead her to a more positive and happy life.
Rape is preventable, but victim-blaming makes it seem inevitable. Victim blaming is the attitude and tendency to view the victim of abuse as responsible for the assault. “That a woman would be blamed at all for being sexually assaulted is in itself disturbing, as surely the blame lies solely with the attacker. That a woman’s clothing at the time would factor into this decision of blame is, I think, even more astonishing,” says psychologistNathan Heflick. Victim blaming implies that the survivor is at fault, and this reinforces the perpetrator’s narrative. It obstructs our ability to support people who have endured this trauma.
The culture of blaming the victim manifests itself in language in different ways. Examples of common statements include the following:
She asked for it. She wanted it. Look at what she was wearing!
Erika Shershun, Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, MFT, states that “In this challenging political climate many sexual harassment, assault, and abuse survivors are finding themselves triggered on a weekly if not daily basis.” No one asks for rape. No one wants it. No one deserves it. Rapists rape people, not outfits, and campaigns such as “What Were You Wearing?” have proven how rape occurs regardless of what a woman is wearing. Showing cleavage is not consent. Drinking or being alone is not consent. Wearing a mini skirt or make-up is not consent. Regardless of the situation, consent is critical.
He didn’t mean to do it.
Rape is not the presence of no; it’s the absence of yes. Consent is clear here. Blurring the lines exacerbates the problem. It bears a silencing effect on the survivors, many of whom will choose not to report the attack because they believe it was “not serious enough.”
She lied. How is she so sure?
Many survivors cannot remember all the details of their rape because they were either drunk or drugged, and this affects their memory. However, traumatic experiencesscramble your memories. They claim to have vivid, sensory memories, such as images, sounds and smells. Some survivors even remember these decades after the incident. These are the most distressing moments, and they get “locked-in” and remain “very salient.”
Unfortunately, when survivors are asked to recall other peripheral information, such as the exact time of the assault or who was present—facts that police and prosecutors look for to establish the facts of a crime—they are unable to do so. Survivors who report the incident, as few as they are, may even struggle or contradict themselves, consequently undermining their testimony.
Shame On Who?
“This sense of shame often causes victims to blame themselves for the sexual misconduct of their perpetrator,” saysBeverly Engel L.M.F.T. Victim blaming affects not only the individual or the community but also the society, as survivors continue to bear the burden of proof, cases remain unresolved, and perpetrators run free.
Most importantly, victim-blaming perpetuates social acceptance of holding the survivor accountable, instead of the person who should bear the burden of the blame—the perpetrator.
To better support survivors who choose to share their stories with us, we must do the following:
Believe them. We should take survivors at their word and trust that they are telling the Acknowledge how incredibly difficult it is for survivors to share stories of trauma and abuse. These stories deserve our respect.
Reassure them that they did nothing wrong. It was not their fault. Do not let survivors blame themselves. Perpetrators are to blame, always.
Avoid accusations. We could be invalidating their experience—maybe even their sense of self—if we point out how the survivor could have acted or responded differently.
Challenge victim-blaming statements when you hear them. These are never a joke. People might not realize that their attitude makes the victim seem at fault. Kindly counter what they say, and raise awareness in others. Jokes can also normalize victim-blaming by making light of trauma. Call these out immediately.
Victim blaming exacerbates rape. We can all help survivors. Let’s support them the way they need to be supported.
Meeting someone who has gone through a horrific experience can be challenging on your part, especially if you want to help that person feel better. Whether you like it or not, you cannot deny to yourself that a part of you wants to change the world of that individual because you are a nice person. As such, do not freak out right away if you sometimes feel clueless about what to do or say to someone who had a difficult past. The right thing to do is to be kind in your words and acts. According to Judith Orloff M.D., “As a friend, you want to help, but you become overwhelmed by their endless tales of woe.”
In this article, we are going to share to you some of the smart ways on how you can help someone who has been a victim of a rape. We want to share the tips that we got from a therapist so that we can stand together to help rape victims.