Testimonials of Abuse
"I was physically threatened and abused after my assault. People seemed to feel I should be punished for telling anyone I had been assaulted. Once I heard someone walking across my porch in boots. I knew it was bad so waited until they left. I found they had slashed my bike tires with a power stapler. We couldn't get the staple out of the tire for a while. A few weeks later I was riding my bike down a ramp that is very steep. Half way down I realized I had no brakes and my front wheel was in fact falling off. I hit the curb at the bottom with my rear tire and was thrown forward over the handle bars. I landed on my knee. I can't do high impact things now. I stopped riding a bike after that because I was afraid of what else they would do. People treated me very badly after I was raped."
I was kidnapped, drugged and raped by my 24 year old [relative] when I was 12. When I woke up in the hospital I felt drugged and queezy and asked the nurse "what did you guys do to me". She pulled the nastiest face and said "You did that to yourself". I overheard a doctor talking to the police confirming that I had been raped...the nurse knew that. She thought I willingly took the drugs. When my mother came to get me later that day she was livid. She told me to get dressed and when I went to put on my clothes I found that I had urinated in them while I was unconscious. I told her about that and she said "Put them on anyway, it's what you are".
Some 6 years later I was visiting my grandmother and met a girl who was 14 down the street. We used to hang out and watch soap operas together and one day my cousin showed up. He was 30 by then...he asked this girl out and after a whole lot of deliberation I decided to tell her about him and his tricks. She went and asked my aunt if it was true and my aunt denied it. My aunt came to me later and said "How dare you drag your cousins skeletons out of the closet that way...you could have humiliated him".
Those were the worst cases of victim abuse I suffered but of course, there were others.
"I only told a few people. Some knew him and some did not. It seems to me that people got squirmishly uncomfortable, some became critical and judgemental, one weirdo got nasty, and so I stopped talking about it. I got the feeling like people believe it is only something that happens on the 11 o'clock news but couldn't possibly happen in real life! I got a counselor soon after the last rape and that helped me a lot. Now, I deal with aftereffects as needed. (if I am triggered)
Victim blaming reminds me of that '80's song: Dirty Laundry- "kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down..." (sad but true commentary on human nature)[name deleted] "
"I was told why didn't you
scream loud enough. Why didn't you fight hard enough? Why didn't you stop
"I had been having extreme PTSD and people still didn't believe that I had really been raped. I was very disoriented all the time. The more verbal abuse I got- the worse it got. I couldn't retain many short term memories. I would forget what people said to me at work within a few seconds. I got confused very easily. Driving down the street on the way to a class I recognized someone I went to high school with. As I was looking to the right at him he turned all the way towards me and began imitating a crazy person with a vacant look on their face. I think he crossed his eyes. I gathered it was an impression of me. When I got to class the boys in front of me began throwing spit balls at me. I moved so that my back was against the wall. Even the teacher joined in tormenting me. I have had several teachers do stand up routines at my expense. Just because it was considered okay to hurt 'the rape victim'. People treat us like we're not human beings."
"The first person I told started yelling at me how stupid I was for being alone with him and told me all the things I "should have" done in the situation. She went on to tell me that my reactions afterwards were "wrong" as well...leaving me feeling even worse than I already did...which I thought at the time wasn't possible. Her response was a huge part of my decision not to tell anyone else in R/L at the time. Ironically, she will be taken by surprise when the investigators contact her regarding my case and I hope she eats her words when my perp is given his sentence. (positive thinking considering the investigation has barely begun)"
"Not sure if anyone else has a list but, here's mine:
*friends I made the mistake of trusting*
"Yes, when I was training in the Navy, I [was] sexually molested. When I made a complaint to the commanding officer, it was treated very badly. I wanted a written apology, and the abuser would not concede to it. I was then treated really badly for the rest of my time at recruit school. That is where I ended up attempting suicide.
The only reason that all these people treated me badly because of the molestation, was that it is a male dominated area, and they did not believe me. So they thought they would give me a hard time. Maybe to show support to their 'buddy'. A lot of the instructors at recruit school encouraged the boys (most of them were boys really 17 - 20 yr olds) to treat the women badly. Of course, this molestation dredged up all of my past rapes, hence the suicide attempt (aside from the fact that Recruit school was enough to make you want to kill yrself anyway).
Some things to consider with stopping this happening would be:
1. education (background of psychological
symptoms of abused ppl, ppl exposed to trauma, PTSD etc)
I think all survivors can say they 'mourn' the adult that they would have potentially turned out to be had they not been raped."
"People have generally retreated after I told them, and/or stopped wanting to talk to me."
"My dissociating (DID) created a child like persona to protect me during dangerous times. That elicited alot of jeers and people to this day still call me 'baby' as an insult. The difference now is that I know alot of other survivors who do the same thing to a more severe extent and if anyone made fun of them it would be considered horrific. It would be like saying something cruel to an autistic person."
"I wasn't 'out' when I was raped (I am a lesbian) but my rapists found out. Someone told me they made sexual jokes about sandwiching me and another girl. Alot of the fall out after my assault was essentially gay bashing. People called me a hermaphrodite, referred to me as a man (I was feminine at the time). It really pushed back any healthy coming out process I might have gone through in my early 20's. The week after it happened a man I was volunteering with pointed out the window at a woman. 'What do you think of her?' he asked. I said she had a nice skirt on. That wasn't what he wanted to know. He was trying to get me to leer at her. Basically- they were looking for a sexual history to use against me. I really didn't have one (I didn't date much). So they had to dig a little deeper. Being gay was a pretty good excuse to dismiss my pain. It was also a good tool to hurt me further."
"For a while I was getting threatening phone calls. The person said 'I know what you did with those boys.' She also said she was going to kill me and 'smear my insides all over the highway'. My eating disorder flourished after that. I figured out who it was. I did call the police and report it but I didn't give them her name (I wasn't sure). She later admitted to it in front of a witness. I didn't think she would actually do it. It turned out she was angry because my rapists had told her that I said something I did not say."
"My mom who was
a rape counselor at the time told me that I shouldnt have been at my exboyfriends
house (to watch movies as friends) to begin with. Then she told me that
she would never let her self get raped to begin with.
"The worst one for me was:
"Are you sure you don't just regret doing it with him?" from my best friend.
The day after the rape my friends at school knew I had "slept with him" and kept saying stuff like "K you're such a slut" Ok so they didn't know it was rape at the time..jeez I barely realised myself..but still those things have stuck with me all this time, 8 years on I'm still having major self-blame issues and such trouble believing it was rape and wasn't my fault. A few small comments can have such a massive impact, when will people learn to think before they speak?"
"Most of my negative experiences with survivor bashing came from my having symptoms of rape trauma syndrome. I think that because people didn't know what Dissociative Disorder was they decided that those symptoms indicated I was just randomly crazy. Therefore MORE likely to not really have been raped - but to have made it up. Actually all the reasons they didn't believe me are the symptoms that would indicate I had been sexually assaulted. Irony. I had such bad PTSD that I couldn't read more than a sentence at a time for two years. I would start "remembering" or having what are called flash backs to things my rapists had said or done. I had people tell me that they thought I had been given a lobotomy (they were not being sympathetic). Actually it was just that they retraumatized me for five years so badly that my PTSD became permanent. It flares up when I feel I am in a dangerous situation and my mind goes blank. Kind of like an ice cream headache. I just can't think without serious effort. Makes it hard to study...When I was finally able to even tell my therapist what happened she explained what it was. I took several tests over the years and scored very high for OCD and PTSD. I also scored as having a very high IQ at the same time. I went to a poetry reading and asked this guy where my friend the speaker was. He started talking to me until he recognized who I was. Then he started sneering and said 'what's the matter- forget how to read?' and walked away. I regained normal reading ability two years later when I went into the hospital for an eating disorder. It was the first time I felt safe in years. I was quite a bookworm for the next year or so."
"My mom said to me right after it happened that I shouldn't have been wearing such short shorts. I haven't really gotten that many others but that is because the first bad responses I got from my family shut me up for seven years and in my mind I blocked out anything else bad that was said."
"I was going down the street and a child with his family stepped into the road and screamed 'whore' at me. His mother was smoking a cigarette and glaring at me. I was not in any way promiscuous."
"Several years after the assault I was walking down the street near a club with a friend (the first friend I made since the assault) and two college aged boys stepped in front of us and yelled 'whore' at me at the same time. At that time I had only had one boyfriend in my entire life. He is the only person I had ever consented to sleep with. At the age I was when I met him I was the oldest virgin I personally knew. I don't consider the rape as a loss of that. They drugged me. That night I was wearing jeans and a loose sweat shirt. Probably a jacket. It was cold. I stopped wearing make up after I was raped too. People used the fact that I wore eyeliner for three months of my life as the reason and excuse for them assaulting me. It was on sale. I guess I shouldn't buy eyeliner."
"I was driving home from work (near a University) and a drunk college student stepped in front of my car refusing to move. He started yelling horrible things at me. I had to back up. I don't remember how i got out of there."
"[They said that] Since I was on my period, my hormones were raging, so I really wanted the sex but I got a mood swing and regretted it afterwards. Seriously, isn't that the stupidest thing you have ever heard? I got that a few times on a forum that deals with relationship advice, that my period played a role in it. I wasn't even asking them to debate whether or not it was rape, I just asked for comfort!!
Also from that stupid forum I used to like:
-Well yes, you did manage to get raped, but you need to stop focusing on the person that did it and instead focus on why you allowed yourself to make those bad decisions that lead to it. [see Self blame]
-Don't play the victim.
-If you had really been raped, you would have fought a hell of a lot harder. [see Victim blame]
-There's so many "what-ifs" that this story can't be real and must be some sort of law-school hypothetical.
Some people were really helpful on there, but once I educated myself on SA and experienced it, I realized just how ignorant most people are about it.
Stop going to guys' hotel rooms. - I was told that a couple times by the police and my family. Hello, I think I learned my lesson when I ended up being raped!
How can it be rape if he didn't put a gun to your head? - my dad
Did you like it? - my ex boyfriend
Gee, that sucks. Sorry, I'm hungry so I'm gonna get food now. - a person who I thought was my best friend until she signed off of AIM right when I was explaining what had happened to me to go somewhere to eat dinner."
"If they realized I was having problems I hadn't had before the assault (and they knew that) why didn't they make the connection between rape trauma syndrome and my problems?"
"When I was raped I definitely connected their motivation with the fact that I was taking a women's history class. I would talk about what I had learned that day alot and I think it angered them. I also felt they were disrespectful towards girls and women. They would cat call females when they walked past. They tried to look up my friend's skirt. I think the assault was their way of 'getting one over on me' and showing they had the control." [see gender bias]
"I was riding my bike down the street. I saw a car coming from the other direction. I noticed him make a U turn and start coming toward me. I had a bad feeling about it. There were two lanes and a lane of parked cars. There was no other traffic on the street. A bike, a car and two lanes. He pinned me between the parked car and his car (the handle bars mostly). I flipped all the way over forward and hit my head. I was wearing a helmet. There were alot of witnesses. I didn't press charges or even tell anyone at all because I remembered what happened when I asked for help after my assault. It just got worse and no one believed me. I didn't even tell my boss that I had a sprained wrist from the incident. I just used my other hand. I kept my silence. I think he was the security gaurd at the grocery store. He said he worked there. The security gaurd had a clear water gun full of oddly colored fluid and he shot me in the back of my shirt. I had stains that color on my back when I got home from the store. I also saw him watching me in the parking lot. I didn't tell anyone about that either. No one would have cared or helped me. At least I didn't think so."
"I didn't have any friends for five years after my assault. Every time I tried to make a friend they would be pressured not to hang out with me because of my stigma. Once a girl walked up to me and said '[name] told me I shouldn't be friends with you. I'm going to anyway. I don't care what he says.' I avoided her after that so that neither of us would be persecuted by the man who told her not to help me. He was our boss and knew her family. That same man had indicated to me earlier that he knew about my assault. He said he would be my friend 'anyway'. He also said he had heard rumors about me which my rapists spread. They told people I wasn't nice anyway so they shouldn't help me. I assume they also just denied it. I didn't know what to say."
"While mom made some truely amazingly stupid and insensitive comments, she never really blamed me for what happened. (though admittedly she does not believe that anything happened)
My friend "S" however, seemed reluctant to believe me. After I told her, she said to me, "So was this just something that started off as kissing and then got out of hand or was it that now you feel guilty because you slept with that man?"
I said no, and then the best that I could I told of how we had been drinking earlier that evening, and how he had walked me to my car and r*ped me even though I said no. I felt like I had to definitely make that point, like I had to prove to them that I did not consent.
S then said, so you admit that you had been drinking. How do you know you did not give him permission? At this comment I realized I was not going to be able to convince them of what happened, so I just stopped talking."
"A lot of people I know that knew about the attack said it wasn't even r*pe because she had been drinking. They also said it wasn't r*pe because "he wasn't that kind of guy." Whatever that means. Those comments really hurt my friend, and they invalidate all survivors"
"I post at a forum where in the past I have been very open (probably too open) about my history of sexual abuse. I guess my amount of talking about it a lot, and me just being myself made myself an enemy. Earlier in the week, there was a thread about men us ladies found attractive, and I happened to mention that I was attracted to older, middle-aged men, but no older than that. (I am in my mid-20's). I thought everything was going fine until later on a thread was done about sexual experiences, and I mentioned the incest. This person dealt me my secondary wounding when she said I was lying or exaggerating about the extent of the incest, because I was attracted to middle-aged men. No amount of pointing out that my abusers were way older than middle-age would convince her otherwise."
"I had some pretty negative reactions to some of the things that happened to me when I was younger and to some things that happened to me in my 20's.
I never really named all my experiences, but here's some of the reactions I had to those experiences; I'll apologize in advance because I think some are upsetting, and very triggering. Please read with caution. I also think these reactions aren't only linked to victim blaming, but blatant sexism too, and an example of ongoing abuse in my family.
***the following may be very triggering***
1. Recently I told a neighbour I had been drugged and raped in my mid 20's. When we were discussing the effects certain drugs can have on you (that were similar to roofies, and sedatives) she said this to me even without me mentioning the rape "yeah... you wake up and realize your were raped, and then you get over it." I felt like it was an underhanded way of saying be quiet.
2. I grew up in a pretty abusive and controlling family. They would often beat me and call me a slut. my mother would encourage my brother to beat me because I was a "whore", and needed to be locked up in a mental ward. I sometimes wonder if it was because I questioned her authority as a parent, and the way she was so neglectful as a mother. I sometimes think her name calling, and abuse was for standing up to her sexually abusive ex husband (my step father). I used to think I got punished for being strong.
3. My mother would encourage my brother to call me a whore, and all kinds of names. When I was 15 I was followed and harassed by a man in his 30's. He pushed me into intercourse after cornering me and threatening to hurt, and rape me. He admitted to following me for at least a month- and that no matter what I would do I would "never get away." My mother would allow my brother to call me all kinds of "slutty" names because of that incident. Thanks mom. I had such a hard time during this time I just lost my mind."
"Things people have said to me:
"You put yourself out there and should not have been there" Really as if I have not thought that before...
"That's how college guys are, when they're out to get laid" Okay, so we should just accept it because every 19 year old guy is a rapist... right??
"He wasn't even in the frat so don't hold it against the house" Great, let's just worry about the frat. boys
"Well, you weren't raped, so get over it." Yeah because having some guy that you trusted push you down, climb on top of you and try to rape you shoving his hands inside of you, making you touch him is sooo much better. I'm totally relieved, thank you. I'm so thankful I was not raped, thankful every day but don't tell me I'm not allowed to hurt."
"Reading these posts in here, it's absolutely heart wrenching, but has shown me i'm not alone. My first rape, when I was 13, was by a guy I knew, a friend, a few years older, he was from a typical "hard" family, i.e., people don't cross them. I was bullied, constantly, emotionally and physically, by him, his family, and worst of all, my so called friends, who were friends of his too. I had things written in marker pen about me in the school toilets, and the few people who did believe me would say things like "Yea, but it's not rape, just a bit of teenage fun that got out of hand"
There was loads of other stuff, but i won't go into it all. Then after my second rape, by a complete stranger while i was walking home, well after that, there was the, well you can't possibly be raped twice remark, or that i'd been drinking. Even had a doctor telling me i needed to pull myself together and should be over my rapes. Luckily i now have a pretty awesome doctor"
"I was playing a game with a mixed group of friends recently, perhaps you've heard of never-have-I-ever? Essentially, someone says something they've never done and if you have done it you have to take a drink (or since we play a non-alcoholic version, put down a finger), and if you also haven't, you don't. A friend commented that she had never had sex with a guy, and I didn't put a finger down b/c well, I never, willingly, have. And a different friend actually called me out on it, in front of the entire group.
Not word for word, but the essentials:
I had no idea what to say. Neither did anyone else, bc she was the only one present that knew. How can you minimalize something as traumatic as rape to the extent that you assume someone would admit it to everyone if they weren't trying to cheat points in a meaningless game?
A longer while ago:
A pastor's wife at a friend's church told me that it was wrong to feel anger or hatred toward the man that raped me, because more than likely he was abused as a child and it wasn't his fault (As an adult in his late forties, let me add). When I responded (perhaps a bit too harshly) that adults make their own decisions and a bad childhood does not justify Choosing to commit such a heinous act against someone else, she replied "You're just young and young people think they know everything." then babbled on about all the rape victims she has personally known and how it just so much easier for them to blame someone else (ie the rapist) rather than find God's love in their hearts for their enemies. She referred to it as "spiritual laziness."
That's all I can stomach for now."
Websites with survivor bashing, secondary wounding and victim blaming attitudes
DID episode commits secondary victimization hate crime by stigmitizing patients. While pretending to advocate for victims this show actually perpetuates negative stereotypes about rape victims in many episodes.
These 2 articles are about the same case. One of them has a theme of victim blame. Spot the victim blame.
The Letter- the original article May 19, 2006
Response: A heinous woman protests ...
Wiki rape article Talk page
Wiki is widely regarded as being survivor un-friendly within the survivor community. In June 2006 the entire article was deleted and I was threatened when I tried to restore it. Quotes from other survivors:
"I use wikipedia too and it is very male dominated, I currently have someone harrassing me and my work there, and blatantly admitting such on edits!" Anonymous female wiki editor.
The problem with this is that no one sticks up for the female survivors when they are harrassed. Usually it is allowed even when it's blatantly vandalism or harrassment.
"I would recommend that you cite it as having members who participate in victim blame but encourage people to work on Wiki to help change the culture, the more of "us" there is the less "they" can affect it. Unfortunately Wiki is a source of information for millions of internet savy people so we can't refuse to recognize that it exists."
From someone discussing working on a wiki rape page:
"I'm not up to this one, but I admire that you're trying like this..."
Most female survivors that I know wont work on wiki because it is such a hostile environment.
"Wikipedia is AWFUL when it comes to playing the victim blame game.
I do NOT go there for any info anymore after reading a few "scientific" articles. They do not support impartial articles!"
"When I first visited the Wiki Rape article it stated that all survivors who report in situations in which the perp is not convicted should go to jail. They used a victim in a court case that had not ended yet as an example of someone who should go to jail. Since (according to World Book Encyclopedia) only 2% of accused rapists are convicted of the crime due to lack of concrete evidence - that would mean 98% of victims who report would go to jail. This seems unbelievably wrong and backwards. That is when I started editing the article."
"So, is this a man-law?"
Overall Wiki is a slice of humanity. It's a good example of victim blame in our society in general. That is not to say 'it's okay' but to say we have alot to work on.
Here is an article about how poorly edited wiki articles on women's topics are: Why I Don't Trust Wikipedia. It is notable that constructive edits that improve an unpopular (women's) topic are often reverted or destroyed.
Here is another article on "Take Back The Tech campaign with a call to populate wikipedia with women’s rights issues and integrate a gender perspective to its content.
By doing so, we’re doing our bit to ensure that this popular and important repository of information and documented living history does not neglect the specificity of perspectives and knowledge from women’s lives."
This website calls eating disorder patients who have suffered through domestic violence and being shot disgusting. It also implies that the victim was raped because she was stupid. The real enemy in this situation is the woman's abuser who was a boxer, arrested for slapping, pushing and kicking her three years after she mysteriously suffered a gun shot wound. Fight the real enemy. The subject of this website now does advocacy presentations for eating disorder and body image issues.
These are some sites which do not revictimize themselves but contain examples of secondary wounding behaviors:
"The young female complainant received several death threats from Bryant fans, including one from a Swiss bodybuilder named Patrick Graber, who offered to commit murder for a $3 million fee. He was caught in a sting operation by the FBI and was sentenced to three years in jail."
"She has been forced to quit school, she cannot live at home, she cannot talk to her friends, and she has received literally hundreds of phone calls and e-mails threatening either death or mutilation," CNN
More examples of victim blaming messages
Many survivors with ed's have complained of the secondary victimization on this show.
Some offensive quotes:
"At the risk of offending the International Union of Pimps and Hos, here's one of the jungle's unpleasant truths: No decent man wants his wife, mother, sister or daughter to be a stripper -- even if he'll pay to watch someone else's. And therein lies one of this episode's lessons." This article attacks the character of a rape victim while telling the reader this behavior is unethical. It gives a hypocritical message to not do just what the author is doing.
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