Aftermath: Victim Support

Content Warning: Rape;

VICTIM BLAMING

The support discussed here both refer to directly after and in some cases many years later.

Police : Main detective who dealt with my case was an amazing man. He knew. He interviewed him. He saw it in his eyes. He is the only person who just looked me in the eyes and said “you poor girl, I know that man is lying to me. I saw it in his eyes.” 

However it was recommend not to contact rape support services while an investigation is underway as it can be said in court as I’ve been “coached” in being the perfect victim.

SUPPORT or JUSTICE? You decide.

My Father

I couldn’t tell him. I’ve never told him. I knew he’d find him and end up in jail. I don’t know if he knows today having been told by my sister or mother. Which is likely as I don’t think they’d respect my wishes enough to follow them. It’s only me after all.

My Mother:

It happened on the night of her fathers birthday. Forever sullying the date associated with celebrated memories of her father, throughout her lifetime.

The rape occurred the day after she’d had her mates round for a good ol’ piss up. I had adults very drunk, on the vodka, dancing away and being “party girls.” Very big hangovers the next day. I had work that afternoon.

We had a holiday to New York booked to travel to 3 days after I was raped. I spoilt the trip of a lifetime. Her lifetime. She adores the city, has been many times and managed to take her kids to see the wonder she feels there.

Until her troublesome daughter went and got herself raped 3 days before we were due to fly and ruined it.

What a little bitch! She put herself in such a dangerous position and she allowed this to happen. She only went to work. How could she cause such a disruption going for a drink after work? Stupid girl.

It cost me thousands and I sacrificed so much for this trip. Now we’ve all got to pretend everything’s ok if we are to get round all the sites I want them to see. If she needs to cry in a crowded Macy’s, she’ll have to wait. I’ve made plans.

 After the rape, I missed just 5 weeks of schooling and was expected to return to studying after Christmas break.

Got to get on with it. Don’t let it ruin your life. Suck it up and pretend it didn’t happen! Move on! Your grief is making me uncomfortable so make it go away.

If I was physically hit by a bus, with broken bones, would I be expected back so soon?

I can assure you, I was mentally hit by a bus.

Within 5 weeks of return to school I began a relationship with the boy who came to be the first man to ever raise his hand to me.

We were good friends around that time, and I always fancied him. I really needed a hug. He hugged me. Where did I meet him and see him every day? At school. He knew what had happened to me. I spent a lot of time away from mum and sister, with him after that.

Mr First’s Mother:

I found a lot of comfort from his mother. She was kind. She didn’t look at me like I was shit. Spoke to me with respect, even when I’d shown disrespect in her house.

She wasn’t a shouty mum. It was very unusual to be around a mum who took everything in her stride. I only saw her temper mildly a handful of times. I treasured her and the friendship she offered me at that time. I was more upset losing her than her son when we broke up.

Sister:

Whenever I’d put myself in any kind of perceived danger when vulnerable “I was asking for it to happen again!”

Heard this both as a teen for things like going for pizza, out alone, after I’d had a drink. Even if it was across the road.

“Go and get raped again!!” was another solid kick to the guts. Nothing like having your most painful experience weaponised against you to win an argument.

Mother & Sister Many Years Later

“I ruined sister hen do” as an adult- because I went to buy cigarettes, on my own, drunk. I didn’t tell her where I was going because I didn’t think I had to! She was on her hen do not babysitting her sister? While I was gone for 10 mins or so, a panic erupted at my absence. My mother was quickly involved in this “emergency situation” and was ready at a moment notice.

That resulted in me coming back to a situation I “caused,” my fault. I deserved to be being physically dragged home by my mother, while I had an epic mental breakdown in the back of her car. People actually heard my screams from the outside of the car and confronted my mother for having me in that state.

I was in that state because I’d been dragged home like a fucking criminal. The crime of going to the shop, unaccompanied . The fear created in the imaginations of my sister and my mother “asking for a second rape” was too much. I lost it.

Victim blaming caused that meltdown. Not my brief absence on a night out.

Mother felt righteous and justified in her behaviour, man handling me into her car. (I’d been a victim of DV by this point. Not one to take kindly to being aggressively man handled.) Aided and abetted did my sister.

Mother likely trying to ease the guilt for not stopping that actual rape when she knew where I was when I’d turned my phone off. She didn’t come bursting in the pub to drag me out then. It would have been good then.

Going around the corner for cigarettes without “alerting my watcher” for one night when I was 24 years old.

I’d been bar hopping, putting myself in all kinds of situations for YEARS. No one wanted to intervene then. They didn’t care then. This one opportunity- plus make me out to be the villain in the process.

That was the second time my mother threatened to have me sectioned. It’s the first time I held a razor to my wrist. It stung on touch. My son had been dragged out of bed “to see the state of his mother”? and was awake. He didn’t deserve my pain. I put it down. Took a breath and went and lay next to my son and slept away my pain.

It was talked about the next day in the form of “bad hangover?” making no reference to the attack they’d launched upon me. They were justified. They were protecting me. It broke me.

This hen night came within a year or 2 of me leaving the women’s refuge, with no understanding of how I even begin to think about finding or wanting a relationship of my own.

To celebrate my sisters relationship success- marriage to her school sweetheart- hurt the same way I felt when I saw beautiful blooming pregnant women when I had miscarried my own baby. It’s the saddest form of jealousy, and you feel guilty for admitting it.

Friends:

Oldest male friend I had : 

“I was raped.”

“no you wasn’t”

“Yes, I was”

I have no recollection what else was said in this conversation. I’m glad to be honest. I hoped I walked away. I have a feeling I tried to explain. But why should I have had to explain my trauma to receive validation of my pain? Was I on trial? You’re my friend! Could you not see it in my eyes, the same way I could when I shuddered at myself in the mirror?

I have enough empathy to understand that it’s a very tough thing to respond to, especially a teenage boy. I don’t think I spent much time with him in person after that.

Rape Support Services:

I never found the courage to call the number. I spent many hours staring at the leaflet. I couldn’t say the words out loud.

Was my support so full of victim blame that I didn’t feel deserving of support?

It had been reinforced that it was my fault, my blame so often that I didn’t feel worthy of wasting their time when there was women being violently raped. “Real rape” where they pounce their victim, unguarded.

I put myself in that position.

It was my choice.

It’s was my pain to deal with.

My punishment for my error of judgement of the man I’d met.

My fault for failing in my risk assessment of staying in the pub alone.

My choice to isolate myself.

I must have deserved it.