''I CAN'T TALK ABOUT MY RAPE!''
From: Claudia Slate
Subject: Re: Rape
D> factor. But, until we started talking about being Silent No
D> More, how many of us have said, "I CAN'T TALK ABOUT MY RAPE (for
D> any number of reasons)"? For you, 15 years; for me, 8 years,
D> for others around here, similar numbers of years.
D> But, how many of us know that many women don't talk about our
D> rapes in part because others are convinced that we wanted it to
D> happen to us? And of those who know this, how many of us take
D> that fact off its shelf in our minds, dust it off and really
D> consider it?
I know that I became convinced that it was my fault or that somehow I had
wanted it to happen. Hey, my perpetrator told me so and it seemed he was
correct, when it continued to happen and I didn't find a way to stop it.
I mean, I had my "reasons," and the priest I went to at confession kindof
validated them as did the nun I tried to talk to. And that made it partly
impossible to talk about - for then everyone would see that it was something
I had brought on myself - if not directly asked for. It was easier to try
and simply forget it - to wipe it out of memory, than to actually "look"
at it or the way it was effecting my decision making or behavior.
I may have mentioned this already, but bear with me - because if I haven't,
I think it is important. I recently attended a five day workshop in
psychodrama and shaministic healing. Most of the 35 other participants were
therapists, psychologists, social workers, etc. About 13 were men - the
were women. I was really amazed at the number of incidents of rape,
incest and sexual abuse revealed during those five days. Some of the
memories were from infantcy. One recalled being about 2 years old when her
grandfather was ejaculating all over her while playing with her vagina.
One woman wanted a child but had been unable to conceive though there were
no apparent medical reasons to prevent conception. She recalled being
sexually abused at age 12 and then, feeling that she was already "ruined"
she went on to a series of sexual encounters. She like several others of us
there, myself included, recalled sitting down to make a list of the
partners she had had, but ended up in tears of disgust when she realized the
number she didn't even know the names of. I know that I used to try to
decide how many would make me "promiscuous" and would always search in
my memory for things I knew about friends or other women that I thought
were "worse" than me, so that I could "keep myself out of that catagory."
She talked about the men she had "used" in trying to regain a feeling of
sexuality. A purification ritual was devised for her on the last day of
the workshop. She covered herself in ashes, talking about the things she
had done that made her feel dirty and unworthy to carry a child. Then she
went upstairs with two "attendents" who bathed her and symbolically, all of
the women there, washing away the guilt and the shame. While that was going
on, the rest of us sat in two circles, women on the inside and men on the
outside, and talked about the things in our lives that had made us feel
guilt or shame.
Now what was interesting to me about this, was that while the men generally
felt really bad about the things the women expressed and they talked about
the women they had "used" (one night stands, etc.) there was also a lot of
anger at women expressed - and especially anger at mothers that was
carried over and acted on in their relationships with women. In fact, one
of the guys I had worked with the day before and during our work, he had
first expressed rage at me, then his mother and then wanted to make love to
me. The women on the other hand, were more likely to take responsibility
for their actions, to see where what had happened to them had caused them to
behave in certain ways - ie the guilt came from the shame felt from an
earlier experience. Only a couple expressed anger at the perpetrator or
anyone else, unless it was themselves.
D> Our culture is very big on blaming the victim for whatever
D> happens, and I'm starting to get just a mite tired of it. "You
You and me both - and yet, there are times when I still find myself
playing the same game. It is such deeply programmed behavior that the
unprogramming takes lots and lots of work - peeling the onion, you
have to continually peel off the layers. And each time you think you have
removed the last one, you find that there is still another. The work to
get at the core requires constant surveillence of your actions and motives
and emotions and affirmations to debug the program and get the subconscious
to the same place the conscious mind is at. I think that is one of the
real benefits of psychodrama - it lets the subconscious actually view
D> within twenty miles of us -- or AS THOUGH CRIME IS NORMAL, and
D> expecting not to have a criminal act done to us is abnormal.
D> What kind of people have we become, anyway?
Good points and a question we really need to examine.
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