All types of rape create self blame and shame for victims. This statement from the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center– sums up the feelings that rape victims express:
“Because of misconceptions about rape, some victims blame themselves, doubt their own judgment, or wonder if they were in some way responsible for the assault. Feelings of guilt and self-blame may be reinforced by the reactions of others, who, because of prevalent myths about rape, may blame the victim or criticize his or her behavior.
You may also feel ashamed. Some victims describe feeling dirty, devalued, and humiliated as a result of a sexual assault. Feelings of shame are often related to the powerlessness and helplessness victims experience during a sexual assault. Shame may also be a reaction to being forced by the assailant to participate in the crime.”
When a person is manipulated or duped in order to sexually exploit them, their sense of being a “cooperator” intensifies. Not only do they grapple with the concept that they cooperated in their own defilement, but others feel the same way towards them. Only when society begins to understand the inclusive definition of rape as:
and comprehends that
Deception Vitiates Consent
will victims and their support groups stop heaping the blame and shame that results from sexual assault by fraud.
5 thoughts on “Self Blame and Shame- the hallmarks of rape”
What also needs to be understood is that rape crisis centers and rape counselors are not trained, and/or have very little awareness of this issue. There appears to be a misconception that something is wrong with the person who “allows” this to happen to them, and that we’re not real victims of rape, as rape is associated with extreme violence. Being met with this type of perception adds an even deeper layer of shame and self-blame.
There needs to be more education and campaigns to increase awareness so victims can be taken seriously. Education and awareness, starting with girls as young as 13 needs to find a place.
I shared my story with a rape counselor and was told their services and resources were for “real victims of rape” and there wasn’t a place for me as my story would upset the real victims of rape.
I’ve found similar responses in therapists I attempted to see. They felt I needed help understanding that what I experienced wasn’t rape and wanted to help “ground me in reality.” I was told I was overreacting and in time my “broken heart” would heal. Suffice to say, I haven’t sought out further support, of which I desperately need. Without support some of us may not survive the fallout of rape by deception. The laws aren’t going to help the shame or self-blame until society is truly educated and aware.
Thank you for sharing your story.
I appreciate your input!
The level of understanding from the therapy community is mixed. I advocated for a woman in NJ who had a wonderful therapist. She was spot-on in her awareness of the problem. But, by and large, I’d say that her level of understanding is unusual.
I wrote my book, “Carnal Abuse by Deceit”, so that people could begin to communicate about this problem. I identified the criminal aspects of the behavior and the name for it, rape by fraud, because without a name, no conversation can take place.
There are many things you can do to help promote awareness:
1. You can purchase the book from Amazon and write a review that will inspire people to read the book.
2. You can recommend the book to others so that they read it as well, particularly the nay-sayers that are blind to the issues.
3. You can sign the change.org petition on this page that will get the message across to the legislators of New Jersey that this crime needs their attention. Today, NJ, tomorrow the world!
4. You can join with “50 Brave Women,” here on this blog, to help raise awareness and get laws enacted in other regions of the US and the rest of the world!
Your support, and the voice of others who’ve been harmed by this defiling crime, is paramount in making a change!
Very very true. It takes a lot of self assessment to understand (me) the victim is not at fault. I did nothing wrong, I was the caring, helpful husband who was taken advantage of. Society needs to understand this from a physical and a non-consensual sex, defilement perspective.
And you’re proof-positive that this crime is gender neutral. It happens to men as well as women! Thanks for your support!
Very well said Joyce !!! I know the feeling.
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