One Example of What it Might Look Like

Continued from last time….

In my book I make a distinction between incest, date rape, and acquaintance rape.  Again, the types I have identified are alphabetized.  The order of presentation has no other distinction.

Story:  Sheila, a survivor of untreated stranger rape at age 11, had told no one about it.  Therefore, the above incident was allowed to do its developmental damage in her young brain.  In ways I describe in other parts of the book, this damage was a set-up for the acquaintance rape she later experienced.  As a survivor, her brain had rewired itself along default paths in order to cope and go on with her life.  She therefore believed many things about herself that were not true and had some developmental brain/heart deficiencies.  These things showed up in her body language and poor decision making.  Because of the earlier rape, her ‘internal antennae’ were broken, so to speak.  Was this denial, previously learned coping strategies, Post Traumatic Stress ‘brain cancer’, or what is hard to know exactly.  We can call it many things. 

A college classmate, part of her social circle, arrived at her apartment one evening unexpectedly.  Telling her he had lost his housing and needed help, she was kind enough to allow him to sleep on the living-room sofa-bed until he could relocate.  He spent a couple of nights there, and after awhile he just simply joined Sheila in her bed after she was asleep.  He ‘had sex’ with her while she was asleep and as she woke up during it, she did not have the awareness or ‘fight’ inside that some of us might have (again,the idea of broken ‘antennae’). This rapist had chosen his victim well  He must have planned the attack, because he had a very adequate place to sleep on his own (the sofa-bed!).  He chose someone who most likely was going to remain silent.  She did.  How does this happen?  How could she not even have realized she had been raped?  There does not seem to be a really clear answer.  Somehow some rapists seem to be able to gravitate toward easy victims.  I have heard there are studies about rapists that support this idea that a rapist can see a group of women and intuitively know which one to choose, though I cannot find any documentation to support that.  A similar principle is in place though when we choose marriage partners.  The idea of a principle of the unconscious or shadow parts of ourselves being attracted to the unconscious or shadow side of the other. (Another way of saying the above might be the broken ‘antennae’ of one person gets hooked into the broken ‘antennae’  of the other.)

“Over 65% of the social meaning of the messages we send to others are communicated non-verbally.” (“Non-verbal Communication,” Seema Murgan, page 4, April 2009, www.hss:iitb.ac.in/courses/n-v.pdf)  This kind of information is why I drive home the idea of the lies embedded inside us and why we need to them healed.  These lies communicate without our awareness.

Commentary:  As a result of post-traumatic stress from the stranger rape as a child, Sheila was paralyzed emotionally when she awoke to find her ‘friend’ violating her.  She never saw the man again.  We may think Sheila shouldn’t have let the ‘friend’ stay there, should have stopped him, or should have screamed or something.  Sometimes friends of survivors use these phrases to distance themselves from victims of violence.  These ‘shoulds’ reveal a lack of understanding of the damage to the human psyche that rape does.  The survivor of acquaintance rape often gets an extra dose of self-blame also.  She is less likely to be believed and more inclined to keep the rape a secret.

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