Normally, I don't post here, except to answer a question or respond on a thread, but my sister, who is in every way, very supportive, made a comment that inadvertently hurt and got me to thinking.
You see, she's a survivor of sexual assault/rape too, and she said "I know exactly what you're going through." Exactly?
I don't think so. There is a huge difference in society between female rape/assault survivors and male. I'm not trying to bash females, because from personal experience, I know they hurt as much as we do, but there is truly a difference in how males view rape and assault on them, and I want to at least try to put my views out there to help other women see how different it is to us in order to help them understand how it affects our healing. And before I go on any further, I'd like to thank a very dear brother here (you know who you are!
) for helping me start putting this into perspective.
I realize that society's views of female victims has come a long way from the truly neanderthal views of the past 50 years to now, and there's a long way to go still. Women and girls wrestle with the idea that it's their fault, that they're somehow to blame, and everything else men and boys do except for one thing. In society, yesterday and today, there's been a HUGE denial that men and boys can be victims of rape and sexual assault. Even more, that while women are allowed to be victims, that is to say, there is no expectation on their part to absolutely refuse to be victims, there IS the unstated view that males CANNOT be victims ever!
It's funny. Females, with as much guilt they may feel and have imposed on them from the outside, can be victims of assault. They can be overpowered, threatened, lied to, seduced, whatever, and STILL have some of the view that, "well, yes, I may have dressed provocitively/been where I shouldn't have/drank more than I should have/etc., but it happens to females." Males have NO recourse to this view. Males, after all, are supposed to be the assertive/aggresive sex. They are supposed to be powerful, both physically and mentally. Most of us, even after surviving this as kids, still buy into the idea that "I'd have my head blown off rather than submit to this, even if my life is threatened." The real truth is that we can be just as scared, just as paralyzed, just as manipulated as females, yet we're not ALLOWED to be by society. Not even by females.
This is the difference. Women feel that it can happen to the, Men are trained and brought up with the idea that it CAN'T. This is an important difference, and can make recovery for us a little more challenging. There is still a sense of shame that comes from being raped to us because we feel that it somehow isn't rape, even when there's a real and palpable threat to our lives. I speak of this as someone who, as an adult also, was raped. It was at gunpoint. I literally had a gun shoved down my throat. But because I was looking for sex at the time of the rape, and the fact that it CAN'T happen to men, I don't feel like I was a victim. I feel guilty that I LET it happen.
Let it happen! This is twisted thinking, but I'm still trying to overcome it.
I hope females who care about a survivor see something in this that can help them understand that layer of thinking that makes surviving rape and abuse, even with your compassion and understanding, even with good therapy, a little more challenging for us. We are striving to get better, but we have our own, and society's, ideas to work through as well.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps somewhat.
Peace and love,