(Trigger warning: rape, victim blaming) Anon asked

Question: I was in an abusive relationship that I never really told anyone about because he and another friend had me convinced that no one would believe me. Then I got involved with a guy who was worse and I felt like I couldn’t leave him because no one else wanted me. After he left me for someone else he continued to rape me. I got a repuation for casual sex because I felt like I couldn’t say no. And guys started forcing me. But my friends think I’m just a slut. My friends tell me that if I just laid there and cried then I wasn’t raped. Because I never gave them a reason to think they couldn’t have it. But there were times I tried to physically push them off of me. I would scream. But they would keep doing there thing. I tried going to counseling, but she told me I never gave the guys a reason to think I didn’t want sex. It’s been really a struggle. I argue with some of my closest friends who say I am playing the blame game.
Answer: I’m so sorry to hear that your support network is treating you so poorly. I’m also sorry to hear about all of the trauma that you’ve experienced.
I want to start by first acknowledging that one very common response to rape and sexual assault is having sex with numerous people and/or having diminished boundaries or an inability to know what are your boundaries and how to articulate them. For some, it feels like a means of trying to get back power that was taken away from you. For others, there’s a numbness and depression in the aftermath of an assault and/or abusive relationship that may make you less invested in what happens to your body. Whatever the reason, it’s really important that you know that any sexual activity that happened that you didn’t want to have happening was not your fault. If you are in a situation where you don’t feel like you can say no, then you haven’t consented.
Now for your “friends.” Honestly, they are behaving in an extraordinarily shitty way. As friends it is their job to love and support you and they are doing exactly the opposite of that. And furthermore what kind of bullshit is “if you just laid there an cried then it wasn’t rape.” Um, HELLO. The only crying that should be happening in sex is crying from sheer bliss and physical pleasure. And it should be pretty fucking easy for someone to tell if you’re crying for that reason or because you’re upset. Anyone who continues to have sex with someone who is visibly upset is a rapist and a terrible human being. So I’m really not sure why your “friends” think that you crying isn’t a CLEAR indication of your non-consent. I know that things with friends can be complicated and I’m only seeing a snippet here, but I would encourage you to think strongly about your friends and the kinds of behavior you deserve from the people in your life who are supposed to love and support you. 
As for your therapist, she sounds terrible too. If you are crying, screaming, and trying to push someone off of you, that’s a pretty clear indication that you aren’t into what’s going on. Hell, even if you aren’t doing any of those things, it’s pretty easy to tell if someone is actively and enthusiastically consenting to what’s going on sexually or if they are just tolerating it. I’m mad that your therapist invalidated your feelings and didn’t help you process all of the trauma you experienced. I hope that you look for a different, less shitty therapist who actually knows what they are talking about and who is interested in supporting you, not telling you ridiculous lies about consent.
Anon, I’m so sorry that everyone around you is failing you so terribly. I really hope that you are able to find some supportive people who believe that the trauma you’ve experienced is valid (it is!) and who want to support you in healing.
selfcareafterrape:

In honor of that: Major trigger warnings for sexual assault/rape for all of these.
But I think.. poetry and knowing that other people experience these things too allows us to connect. It can help inspire us to write our own pieces. Poetry can help us process. But only listen if you’re going to be okay doing so and make sure to take care of yourself.
Blue Blanket by Andrea Gibson
One Color by Neil Hilborn and Ollie Schminkey 
Black and Blue by Jasmine Mans and Alysia Harris
Communion by Jeanann Verlee
And/Or by Jeanann Verlee
Paperdolls by Sierra Demulder
Unsolicited Advice (after Jeanann Verlee) by Tony Ingram
An Open Letter from Harley Quinn to the Joker by Lauren Bullock
A Survivor’s Guide to saying Yes by Anna Binkovitz
Trellis by Andrea Gibson
On Admitting You are an Abuse Survivor by Sierra Demulder
and this poem has nothing to do with the topic- but it’s the poem that I listen to to make myself feel better. so I’m sharing it here with you. It isn’t a particularly inspirational poem and I can’t tell you why it makes me feel better- but it does.
For those who can still ride in Airplanes by Anis Mojani

selfcareafterrape:

In honor of that: Major trigger warnings for sexual assault/rape for all of these.

But I think.. poetry and knowing that other people experience these things too allows us to connect. It can help inspire us to write our own pieces. Poetry can help us process. But only listen if you’re going to be okay doing so and make sure to take care of yourself.

Blue Blanket by Andrea Gibson

One Color by Neil Hilborn and Ollie Schminkey 

Black and Blue by Jasmine Mans and Alysia Harris

Communion by Jeanann Verlee

And/Or by Jeanann Verlee

Paperdolls by Sierra Demulder

Unsolicited Advice (after Jeanann Verlee) by Tony Ingram

An Open Letter from Harley Quinn to the Joker by Lauren Bullock

A Survivor’s Guide to saying Yes by Anna Binkovitz

Trellis by Andrea Gibson

On Admitting You are an Abuse Survivor by Sierra Demulder

and this poem has nothing to do with the topic- but it’s the poem that I listen to to make myself feel better. so I’m sharing it here with you. It isn’t a particularly inspirational poem and I can’t tell you why it makes me feel better- but it does.

For those who can still ride in Airplanes by Anis Mojani

(via selfcareafterrape)

(trigger warning: rape) Reporting to the police

Question: I was raped 10mo ago by my (then) boyfriend. I want to go to the police, but I don’t know what all that involves and if I could emotionally handle it. Could you walk me through what all would happen if I did go to the police and report it? I have text messages from him saying he would kill himself if I went to the police, and a recorded Skype conversation of him essentially admitting to raping me, but no witnesses. I want to make sure he doesn’t hurt anyone else like he hurt me.

Answer: Hey Anon. I am happy to walk you through this but please know that this is just my experience in one city and depending on where you live you may face a different experience. Heck, even in different police departments in San Diego I have witnessed widely different reactions and protocols from department to department or even officer to officer. I am also going to be really honest with you not to deter you from reporting but so that you’re prepared for possible things that could come up in reporting.

I want to start with a depressing fact: only about 3% of rape cases that get reported end up going forward to see some kind of prosecution. I say this because I think it’s important to think about your motivation for reporting. Obviously the hope is that your case is one of those 3% and that your reporting will prevent him from doing this to someone else. But if your case isn’t one of those 3%, how are you going to feel? For some people, it’s really cathartic to speak your truth no matter what the outcome. And in many cases, it at least becomes documented that they were the suspect in a rape investigation so that if they have a history of sexual assault or if they assault someone in the future, a case against them becomes stronger. That alone can be motivation enough. I just think it’s important to think through these things because if your main motivation for reporting is about him never doing this to someone else, know that that may not be the outcome.

After you’ve had a conversation with yourself about reporting, if you decide to move forward my first suggestion would be to see if you can get an advocate from a local rape crisis center to go with you to make a report if that is an option available to you. They would have a lot of knowledge of local protocols for late reports and would be able to be with you for support when you make the report.

Typically when I would go with people making late reports we would go to the police station together. Because these are considered non-emergencies they are typically lower on the priority list but it’s likely to be faster if you go in person than if you call a non-emergency line and wait for them to come to you. Be aware that it is less private if you go to a station because front desk people sometimes have a hard time with discretion. If doing it from home or a safe place feels like a better option to you, that’s totally fine just be prepared to wait for a while. You may be able to request an officer of a particular gender if that would make you feel more comfortable but they may or may not accommodate that request. Also note that if you’re brought into an interview room, you’re likely being video and/or audio recorded so anything you say in that space becomes something the officers know about.

When you meet with an officer, they should take you to a private room to take a report. If for some reason they don’t, you can request that of them. They will collect your basic information. Then they will ask you to walk them through what happened. They will likely ask some detailed questions including specifics about what kinds of sex acts were involved in the assault. If you don’t remember or if you don’t know the answer, it is perfectly acceptable to tell them that. Your only job is to tell them the truth and if the truth is you don’t remember or your don’t know, that’s totally ok.

You will also likely face the question of why you waited to report this for 10 months. Those of us who have complex understandings of trauma understand why people wait to report or choose to never report at all. But the system often views it with skepticism. Especially in domestic violence cases where the concern is that you’re only reporting it now as a means of getting back at the person or to try to get the upperhand in a family court case if you had one. I say this not to deter you but just so you can prepare yourself for the question of why you waited. Waiting is a totally valid and common thing to do, especially in the face of someone threatening to kill themselves if you report, but know that some law enforcement will view it skeptically and it’s something that will come up later down the road if your case progresses.

Once they take the report, it should get assigned to a detective. The detective should follow up with you and ask you to come in for an interview which will be similar to the report but will involve even more detail. They will definitely ask you for all of the specifics about the various crimes that were committed and each sex act counts as a different crime so they get very detailed.

Depending on where you live, the skype conversation may or may not be admissible as evidence. There are laws in certain cities and states that prevent recordings where the person didn’t know they were being recorded from being used as evidence. The text message would absolutely be admissible as would any other written communications from him about it. Detectives have other ways of gathering evidence in late report cases where there aren’t witnesses.

I don’t know if you want me to go into what happens after the police portion or if this was what you were looking for. Remember that some people have really positive experiences with the officer they report to and some have really terrible experiences. This is a rough guide of how it should go but be prepared for unexpected things to happen or for an officer to treat you poorly because those things happen sometimes. That’s part of why I strongly recommend bringing an advocate with you if that’s possible for you because they are better able to help make sure your rights are being respected and that you have emotional support. Please let me know if you have any other questions and I hope this was helpful.

(trigger warning: rape) I need help healing

Question: Hey, I’ve been struggling for a bit with some things from my past and I don’t usually seek help but idk what to do anymore. I was 17 when it happened, at a small party with a group of friends, I was blackout drunk and my attacker was someone I thought was a friend. That was two years ago and I had forced myself to completely forget about it. And I did, until a week ago when I saw him at a store. I have never felt so traumatized before. I have never been so afraid. I need help on healing.
Answer: Hi Anon. I’m so glad that you reached out when you don’t normally do so. It’s really hard to take that step; it takes a lot of bravery. Thank you for trusting me with that.
I’m very sorry to hear that someone you thought was your friend used that trust against you to hurt you. Often when an assault happens, people try to stuff it down and move on pretending like it didn’t happen. That’s a super common response because you often just want your life to go back to “normal.” And that often works for a while and you feel at least stable and able to go through your daily life.
Then something happens like seeing them in a store and things come crashing down. You get triggered and all of the feelings you had when the assault first happened come to the surface again. You might have sleep disturbances, panic attacks, and feel unsafe to leave your house.
You have options. You can work on your own healing plan or you can seek counseling. I am a big fan of counseling for all people when you’re ready for it. I have been in therapy for 4.5 years and while it is a lot of hard work, it is really important and vital. If you’re going to pursue the counseling option it’s important that you find someone you feel safe and comfortable working with. You might meet someone and never click and that’s ok. Therapists should never make you feel bad for deciding to see someone else. And it may take a few tries to find one you connect with. I say this because people go to a counselor they don’t click with and then decide that counseling sucks. But a good trauma therapist will move at your pace and will be ready to listen when you’re ready to talk about what happened. You don’t have to start talking about it first thing.
If you’re interested in non-counseling approaches, you can try journaling or any other self care strategy that helps you. I had clients for whom particular music really helped them heal. Others took up art or dance or yoga. You can read self help books about healing from trauma or whatever else you think would be useful for your particular healing journey.
If you are interested in the counseling option, I’d encourage you to contact a rape crisis center in your area. They can generally recommend good therapists and many offer free counseling at their centers.
I hope this is somewhat helpful. Please feel free to reach out if you’re struggling or if you want to talk more about what’s going on for you.

Anonymous said: Have you noticed that when feminists talk about the high level of women that get raped, there are the men that go "men get raped too" and "women rape as well", but when a boy or man gets raped it's usually the men that are saying "you should've enjoyed it, it's free sex" and "quit whining, you're lucky you got some" while the feminists are the ones supporting and consoling the rape victim. Seems like a bit of a double standard to me. Or they use that victim as a weapon against feminists :(

Yep. You are spot on here. Generally MRAs use those arguments as a way to derail feminists and advocates working to end rape culture rather than as a means of working to bring attention to male survivors or female perpetrators. If their work was actually about supporting male survivors they would be forced to do the uncomfortable work of looking at patriarchy and structures of masculinity that have invalidated the experiences of male survivors (many of whom are also assaulted by men) and created female perpetrators. But that’s not their goal.

selfcareafterrape:

CoCSA stands for Child on Child sexual abuse.

A lot of CoCSA is written off as children being children- but even when children are being children it can have long lasting and traumatizing effects.

and survivors of it deserve respect and more space and more explicit conversations about what…

rcsolstice:

choctawaukerman:

Today the US Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts bill that gave abortion/family planning clinics as 35 foot protection zone in which protestors could not harass clinic patients, opening patients to the possibility of harassment, verbal and physical attacks, and even death threats as they attempt to enter a clinic.

This is ridiculous. 

(via stfufauxminists)

So I assume, Supreme Court, that your buffer zone is also an unconstitutional violation of free speech and we will all now be allowed to hang out at the door and harass you while you try to go about doing your jobs? Or are buffer zones only unconstitutional when they protect the vulnerable and not the privileged?

So I assume, Supreme Court, that your buffer zone is also an unconstitutional violation of free speech and we will all now be allowed to hang out at the door and harass you while you try to go about doing your jobs? Or are buffer zones only unconstitutional when they protect the vulnerable and not the privileged?

Way to go, Supreme Court. You’ve now decided that the rights of dangerous, abusive harassers are more important than the rights of people trying to access legal healthcare options. Good job.

The Daily Show has done an excellent job with this piece in illuminating what it is like to be a woman living in rape culture. I’m so glad this was on such a popular, highly-watched show and that they handled it so well. Also, can we all just agree here and now that Jessica Williams (msjwilly) is the greatest correspondent ever?