Think Before You Speak!

Generally speaking, people have a remarkable ability to say the most inane things.  There should be a class in school about how to think before you speak.

My experience when discussing my rape is a prime example.  It is appalling what people have said and asked me in reference to my sexual assaults.  I am not talking about strangers, these people are supposed to be my friends. As such, I know they did not mean to revictimize me.  It is the miseducation and ignorance in our society about sexual assault that is the culprit. So in an effort to educate my audience, here is a list of some of the inappropriate things that have been said to me and why they were better left unsaid.

  • So, he f**ked you? No, he RAPED me!  He did not f**k me, he did not have sex with me, he did not make love to me, he did not screw me. He F**king RAPED me!!!!
  • Did you like it? No, I did not like it. Contrary to popular belief, people do not like having sex against their will.  I am sorry to be the one to break it to the porn industry, but I did not suddenly start enjoying the sex being forced on me in the middle of my rape.  I didn’t start thinking, “This isn’t so bad.”  It was horrible from start to finish, so please do not ask me why I didn’t just relax and enjoy it. That was impossible.
  • It could have been worse. Yes, It could have been. That doesn’t mean that what I went through wasn’t horrible though.  Please, don’t belittle my pain.
  • I would have fought tooth and nail if he had tried that with me. So because I did not rip his face off with my bare hands, I some how deserved what happened to me?
  • You gave him permission by letting him come in the bedroom with you.He was my friend and we were watching TV. We had sat in bed watching TV numerous times. That did NOT give him permission to what he did and then lie to all our friends about what had happened. I trusted him.  He betrayed my trust.  I did not ask to be hurt. That was his choice, not mine.
  • Do you think he deserved jail time for that? What are you implying? That the harm he did to me isn’t worth damaging his reputation?
  • I doubt he remembers it. Thanks. I needed to be reminded how little I meant to the man who I can never forget.
  • Did you tell him to stop? Did you struggle? Why do you even need to ask me that? Yes, I did – but I just don’t understand why that is important.  What if I said I was too shocked to say anything, to do anything?  Did I deserve to be raped then?
  • Just snap out of it. You don’t think I want to?  You think I like feeling sad and depressed?  I can’t just “snap out of it.” If I could, I would.
  • I want the real you back. Well, guess what – this is the real me.  Love me for who I am.
  • That sucks, him stealing your virginity like that. Yes, it does suck – but he did NOT take my virginity.  He raped me as a virgin, yes – but, he did not take my steal my virginity.
  • You are just so remarkable, so pure and kind. Maybe that is why this happened to you. He just couldn’t resist being a part of all of that. Huh? So to be a part of purity and kindness, he did something impure and cruel to me?  I know you are trying to make me feel better by complimenting me, but I’d don’t want to be so great that everyone wants to carve chunks out of me to call their own.
  • I can’t take a side, you are both my friends. Don’t you see that you are already taking his side when you say that?
  • Just think of it as sex then you don’t have to torture yourself about it. Like it is that easy. I didn’t realize I could just decide it wasn’t rape, it was just sex. Wow, that was easy! Why didn’t I think of that a long time ago?  All I had to do was change the word from rape to sex in my mind and all the hurt and pain just melted away. <Sarcasm
  • He is my friend. He wouldn’t lie to me about that. And what am I? I thought I was your friend? Why would I lie about it?
  • I just want you to get past this. Yeah, well so do I. Thanks for making me feel like I am defective because I am not getting over it soon enough for you.

Please, think about what you say. Your support means so much to a survivor, but your thoughtlessness can be hurtful.  To learn how to respond when a friend confides in you, please visit these posts:

Things Not to Say to a Survivor of Sexual Assault
How Do I Help?
Tips for Friends and Family of Sexual Assault Survivors

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~ by After Silence on September 22, 2009.

8 Responses to “Think Before You Speak!”

  1. […] Think Before You Speak! « After Silence myvoiceaftersilence.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/think-before-you-speak – view page – cached Generally speaking, people have a remarkable ability to say the most inane things. There should be a class in school about how to think before you — From the page […]

  2. It’s responses like these that make you realize that people really can let you down, even if they’re friends and mean well.

    They should try to be more empathic and even feel humbled when someone confides in them with something like this because it takes real courage to do so.

  3. Thank you for your blog. I just found it. Please stop by one of my blogs. http://tnmom06.wordpress.com/

  4. “I doubt he remembers it.” God, I know that one too well.

  5. *hugs*

  6. This is a great list. I wish I had a blog to link it to!

    I have to say though, I hate ‘Did you like it?’ because… no… but there was a physical reaction which was awful, humiliating, shameful and just dreadful. I didn’t enjoy it at all and all of me wanted it to stop, but there was a … reaction that he used to ‘prove’ i wanted it.
    I don’t think that’s normal though, but my body hating me aparently 😦

    Anyways, thanks for the list

  7. Emily,

    You body does not hate you. It is not uncommon for your body to react during a rape. Do not beat yourself up over your body’s reaction.
    Rape and Sexual Arousal:
    Aphrodite Matsakis writes about sexual arousal or orgasm in rape:
    “Before you chastise yourself for one more minute, remember that your sexual organs do not have a brain. They cannot distinguish between a mauling rapist and the gentle touch of a lover. They simply react to stimulation the way they were physically designed to respond. If you climaxed or had some other sexual response to the rape, this does not mean that you enjoyed it.” (1992, p.73)
    There is a great article on this at
    http://www.pandys.org/articles/arousalandassault.html

    Treat yourself gently. Hugs!

  8. I’m sorry this happened to you. It wasn’t your fault. He should be severely beaten. Most men are jerks. I try hard not to be.
    Somewhere out there is a man who will love the person that you are, even knowing what you’ve been through. Dont settle for anyone less.

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