(2) find a new plot than be insensitive. Thank you!
I think there is a lot to be said for accurate portrayals of women dealing with rape and the aftermath in books. Very many stories out there right now get it so horribly wrong and that’s a disservice to us all.
It’s good that you are aware of how often rape is used as a plot device as if it’s the only way to portray a woman can triumph over hardship or make a female character more authentic. Also, it’s pretty sickeningly used as shorthand for drama or just to make a male character spring into action and get revenge. And so many of the plot lines are by-the-book (no pun intended) when it comes to rape, which depicts only one scenario and set of circumstances.
Often the rapists are boogeymen who lurk in the shadows, which ignores the reality that 2/3 of survivors already knew their attacker. Worse yet,sometimes rape is written as just another part of romantic struggle; a lover’s quarrel or a way to tame a “wild” girl into a more suitable partner for the “hero”. In addition, the plots don’t really examine the implications of rape on their protagonist (blame, disbelief, emotional struggle, social impact, intimacy issues etc.)
If you are looking for examples of books that depict rape in an honest way, there are a few that come to mind:
* Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
* Lucky by Alice Sebold (which is autobiographical)
* The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
* Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
* Easy by Tammara Webber
* Broken Wing by Judith James
A lot of authors who have written honestly about this topic have spent time speaking with survivors, volunteering at rape crisis centers or discussing the topic with hotline counselors and survivor advocates in order to get the story right. Do your homework and be cognizant of the fact that the story you are writing is a reality for so many of us out there.
2) and he was already trying to get with some other girl. I remember feeling really disgusting without knowing fully why. Then, later that night on the phone he was talking about how great it was to get intimate and asked me if we were going to have sex the next time we hung out. I said no, but he started going into very explicit detail about how when “he stuck it in” and took away his hand he was able to thrust and how we had sex. He told me it was okay though and that he loved me but I could
(3) not remember and he didn’t seem to be lying. He also was able to tell me how I orgasm during, etc. I was also very sore the next day but I had assumed that was from being fingered. There was also another time when I had consented but it began to hurt so I asked him to stop but he had held me down by my wrists and said he wouldn’t until he was done. As for the not remembering thing, I’ve recently been getting nightmares and waking up saying “stop” without remembering what I was dreaming, my
(4 or 5, lost count) face drowned with tears. And I really don’t want to believe that I’ve been raped. I know his behavior was abusive and we’re no longer together and I cut off contact with him a while after the break up because I realized his behavior was wrong, but I can’t quite tell myself that I was raped and I’m very sorry for the mass messaging; I’ve been silent for over a year. I don’t know what to do because my dreams are becoming more frequent & I feel alone & scared that it’s my fault
First of all, you need to know that none of this was your fault. Not any little bit of it.
Going by the textbook definition, there are several factors that you mentioned (underage sexual contact, digital penetration without consent, sex without consent) that apply, but if rape isn’t the term you want to use, you don’t have to identify it that way. Use words that fit best for you.
I’m glad that you realize now what a terrible person this guy was and how he manipulated you. It’s tough to revisit painful memories like that, but seeing the truth in them is something that can help you grow and gain closure. Cutting off contact with him was the right thing to do And writing here about what happened is a huge step too- don’t sell yourself short on the bravery that it takes to reach out. You’re doing good.
Know that you don’t have to deal with this alone. You can call a hotline like Safe Horizon or RAINN to speak to someone anonymously about what happened. If you feel like it might help, you can find a local counselor or support group to speak with. If you have a friend or family member who you can trust, starting with them can be a more comfortable way to be able to talk about what happened.
You can also try writing down what you remember (as a letter to yourself, in third person or just as a list). Writing about your experience can help you to consider and confront the feelings you have.
It’s really important to take good care of yourself right now. Try listening to soothing music or meditating before bed to help ward off nightmares. Make sure you are getting enough to eat and try to at least check in with others (isolation might feel safe, but too much can be harmful). Find some things that can pull you back when you get too stressed; a favorite book or movie, a long walk, anything that makes you feel better.
I know it’s a struggle but you can do it. Every time you heal a little bit, you win. You’re stronger than this. Be brave. And remember- it’s not your fault.
When I was in High School, I was overweight. Not more than 30 pounds, but I was the fattest in my year. There was a boy that one day grabbed my ass and I told him if he ever does that again I’ll break his arm and he said I should be happy because that will be the only time a man will ever want to touch my “manly fat ass” … I still remember it, it wasn’t traumatic or anything, but it made me so angry having all of his friends laugh at me after that…
I think it’s important to keep in mind that the abuse you suffered and the schizophrenia are two separate things. Your ex chose to be abusive; his mental condition is not a means to explain away his actions, even if he tries to use it as one. It was a facet of him as a whole person, but it was not what made him treat you the way that he did.
I can understand where you are coming from as far as fearing similar issues will come up with new partners. I was with a man who had Aspergers and sexually assaulted me on multiple occasions. He tried to make me believe it was because he couldn’t “read” my reactions. For a long time, I blamed his condition. Then I blamed myself. But I realize now that the only one to blame is him.
There are so many people out there living full, brave lives with mental illness. In fact, people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than to cause it . The spectrum of mental illness is so vast and there are many people all along that spectrum who have healthy and fulfilling relationships (myself included).
Bad choices make bad people, and anyone can make bad choices. Keep that in mind as you navigate the dating pool. Turning someone down because of your misplaced fear could cause you both to miss out on something really wonderful. An open mind and an open heart will go a long way.
The concept of purity is a big contributor to rape culture. The prevalence of abstinence-only sex ed and societal adherence to the double standard of virginity work to keep women confused about their bodies, their sexuality and their autonomy.
Purity balls are exclusively aimed at young women, encouraging them to see their bodies and sexuality as property owned by their father until they are married, when they are handed over to their husband. At no point in this transaction does the young woman ever get to exercise ownership of or enjoy herself as a sexual being.
This lack of sexual self-determination, coupled with the belief that girls who have sex are “dirty” is a gold standard of rape culture. Women’s bodies and minds are heavily policed, given a strict moral code that ensures they are never in control of their own pleasure or sexual experience.
To maintain this impossible standard of purity, women must negotiate a world where being sexy is considered social currency, but only if it is for enjoyment of others, all the while keeping in mind that their purity is a commodity meant to be consumed only by their future husband.
In addition, women are often blamed when the very fact of their existence “tempts” a man. This can lead to survivors blaming themselves for behavior that is entirely out of their control. If the most important thing about you is that you are “pure”, what is left if that purity is stolen from you?
Elizabeth Smart famously spoke about feeling like she was no longer of any value after she was raped after being kidnapped. Tying self worth to a made-up construct like virginity has dire consequences for survivors of sexual assault.
This belief in purity and its ownership also contributes to the myth that marital rape doesn’t exist. If a husband “owns” his wife as a sexual being and her body is her gift to him, then she is denied a voice when it comes to sex within marriage.
Distilling the worth of any woman down to her sexual experience or the perceived condition of her genitalia is another means to subjugate women. Treating the vagina as a possession (See “Your Vagina is not a Car) to be bought, sold and traded reduces women to chattel. This is unacceptable.
Our worth is not predicated upon who we choose to be intimate with and when. Rejection that narrative in favor of one that values women as whole beings is key to fighting rape culture. Your body, mind and spirit are what make you indispensable. They are yours and yours alone and anyone with whom you choose to share them should consider themselves lucky to have had the honor of the experience.