Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.


I will probably regret posting this.
December 10, 2010, 11:29 pm
Filed under: Feminism | Tags: , ,

I’m going to post this blog entry without proofreading and editing it like I usually would because I feel like if I don’t post it now, I’ll lose my nerve. Yep.

Just a warning, this is going to be a post about rape. This is a hard topic to write about and is going to reveal some messed up shit from my head that I’ve always been too embarrassed to write about. To cut to the point, I’ve never been raped but for several years of my teenage life, from about 15 to 20 years old, I was convinced that I would be.

(Um, I’d just like to say something at this juncture… I am not trying to minimise what’s happened to actual victims of rape. These people have been through far worse than I have, obviously. I simply want to process my own experiences, I know they’ve mostly been in my fucked up head but I feel like I’ve never really dealt with them before and, well, isn’t this what the internet is for?)

No, rape wasn’t a looming threat for most of the time, though when I was 15 I did have an online “friend” who I met in real life threatening me in ways that were really pretty scary for me at the time. I also learned that some of my friends had been raped. Um, one friend by another friend and… I had set them up with each other. I thought they’d make a cute couple. I had no idea he would do such a thing and I felt absolutely fucking sick to my stomach. And responsible. Later, I learned about other male friends who had raped women. I started losing my trust in men.

It kind of fucked with my head a whole lot. I made art about it (including a big painting “The Victim is Punished” which is incredibly graphic and naively done but has a whole lot of my raw, messy teenage emotions about the subject in it – you can see it here but don’t say I didn’t warn you I guess?) and when women saw the art, more and more of them came out to me about their horrible experiences. They opened up to me and told me all about what happened to them. People have always opened up to me about stuff. I’m a good listener, empathetic (too empathetic, I think) and they tell me all the details. I also have an incredibly visual imagination, when people speak to me, I get images of what they are saying in my head. That was a lot to take in.

So anyway, obviously I was pretty messed up as a teenager. Unaddressed mental health issues and whatnot. I had some pretty bad issues going on in my head anyway and here I was, getting this horrific insight into rape that I guess I didn’t know how to process it and had no one to talk to about it. I even learned about the past lives of various family members. And I learned the statistics. And I just didn’t know how to deal.

And… yeah. I just became convinced I would be raped someday. It felt inevitable. Statistically likely. It got to the point where whenever I heard any discussions on rape, I got sort of crazy and hysterical. To be honest, sometimes still when rape is discussed, I still get this helpless, sick feeling, I get shaky and break into tears. Or I get angry and crazy. Gah.

Fuck. This is really hard to write about. First time I’ve ever cried while blogging. I feel like an idiot saying all this and I’m so worried that people will think I’m pathetic but… wow. I don’t know. I’m usually pretty good at analysing my emotions and all that but this just feels really messy and embarrassing. Ack. I really don’t want to come across as melodramatic and crazy but probably will. I know victims of rape have had experiences worse than I can even understand. It’s why I’ve never talked about this before because I feel like an absolute fucking idiot.

Still, I feel like rape has affected my life too so I guess it’s valid for me to talk about? I don’t know. Bleh.

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13 Comments so far
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I’m a social worker, and I’ve done a bit of mental health therapy with the homeless, who, let me tell you, have overcome some intense things in their lives. Professionally, we focus a lot on self-care and having our own therapists, because, you know what? It’s really really hard to take on all that pain. For some people who aren’t prepared to handle it, it can lead to what we call vicarious trauma… Of course it’s not to minimize the original pain a person experienced. Pain from traumatic events has a way of spreading like a virus. It is likely less intense than the original pain, but it still hurts. I’m speaking as a professional. Now factor in being an impressionable teenager without the emotional capacity to process all the information you were getting. Thank you for having the courage to post this.

Comment by Sarah

Wow, thankyou so much for saying this. I’ve never heard the term “vicarious trauma” before but it makes one heck of a lot of sense. Thanks again, truly.

Comment by Nio

Sarah VT plus fear of rape is a good summation of Nios problem. Nio hugs to you, hope all the info on how to help people with VT helps you.

Comment by Jake

Thanks, Jake :)

Comment by Nio

I don’t think there’s anything to be embarrassed by.

Comment by Kitty

I haven’t been raped either, but I have had similar experiences. Friends of mine being raped and so on. And for some reason I can’t explain, I started to feel like I was a victim myself. The subject made me.. touchy, angsty, hysterical, I don’t know.
I think this whole thing is about fear and helplessness. The idea of ‘Rape’ is such a terrible, unspeakable threat looming.. waiting for you in the darkness. That’s how it feels. And I suppose it is completely normal and very very human to feel this fear, especially as a teenager.
You’re not alone with this irrational teenage fear. It’s legitimate, understandable and.. well, human. We’re all just human. :)

Comment by Rena

“The idea of ‘Rape’ is such a terrible, unspeakable threat looming.. waiting for you in the darkness.”

That is totally it. Thankyou for your comment, I won’t say I’m glad I’m not alone, but it does make me feel better.

Comment by Nio

First, the painting is excellent. Tells it like it is, which is what it’s supposed to do. Second, your anguish is painful to see. I wieh there was some way I could comfort you I hope these responses help. Hang in there!

Comment by Paul Cobb

Thankyou Paul, I was in a pretty bad head space when I wrote that and it was hard to write but the responses have absolutely helped. It’s funny how you build things up in your head and when you get them out of your head, they lose a whole lot of their potency.

Comment by Nio

It’s very sad to read this, especially because it seems an entirely reasonable fear to have given the terrible reality of how often rape occurs. I’ve not read anything like this before so thanks for sharing. I hope just expressing yourself has helped you a little.

Comment by Fitzroyalty

It has actually helped one hell of a lot, actually. Thanks a heap.

Comment by Nio

As a rape survivor I don’t think you are minimizing rape at all. It has affected you even if only vicariously and your reaction is very understandable.

For a long time I had that fear that I would be raped again. Thankfully that has not been the case, and hopefully it will never be the case for you.

In my view, ultimately you carry no responsibility for what male friends chose to do. Only they are responsible for their actions. Actions that have harmed you to a lesser degree than their primary victim. It is harm nonetheless.

P.

Comment by Pippa

Thankyou so much for your comment, I really appreciate your point of view a whole lot.

I can’t think of anything especially articulate or useful to say, but I just wanted to thank you. So, yeah, thanks!

Comment by Nio




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