Advice for loved ones of survivors

Good types of support are:
Remain calm no matter how much rage you might have, because expressing these emotions to the victim may cause the victim more trauma.

Encourage the victim to receive medical attention, even if they don’t report it to the police the victim is entitled to a free medical exam which can provide preventative medicine for various issues as well as indicating any type of internal injuries.

Give the victim back control. Control to determine the next step, especially since control was taken from the victim through the assault.
Let the victim express feelings when they need to, without your opinion. If they choose to remain silent, just let them know you will be there for them and ready to listen when they are ready to talk.
When and if they do talk it is very important to maintain confidentiality. It is up to the victim to decide who they want to know about the assault. If you break their trust this can be very detrimental to your relationship.

BELIEVE the victim and let them know that it was not their fault!
Encourage counseling. Let them know that we as individuals are not “wired” on how to deal with rape by ourselves and to seek help from professionals who are.

Seek counseling for yourself in order to address the feelings you have without bombarding the victim right now. The victim needs to concentrate on getting themselves better before worrying about everyone else. Then after time with counseling you can decide when and what to discuss with the victim, if you feel it is even necessary at that point.
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121 thoughts on “Advice for loved ones of survivors”

  1. I think I hurt someone when they told about them getting raped. She was given the date rape drug at a fraternity social event from her date. I am in college and care a lot for her, we have had relationships in the past and i really care so much about her. When she told me, I was in silence, shocked. After a minute she asked why i wasnt saying anything and then said i was acting like a dick. I started to say that was how frat guys were in college and i wish she wasnt hanging out with them. She took this as me saying it was her fault, which i never meant at all. I dont know what to say to her to make things better and she will not talk to me. I just need help. Also, I dont know what I should do as far as the guy. I really want to do some damage to him, but I wont. I can be better than that. I just want to help her and let her know i am here for her. Thanks for any advice you can give me.

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    1. Greg,
      The one thing you need to understand before you say anything else to her is how would you feel if someone was saying that to you and you were in her shoes. We are very sensitive and sometimes overly sensitive, but writely so based on what happened to us. And if you really care you need to tell her one time, maybe write her a letter (if you haven’t already – if you have scratch the letter) to tell her how you really feel and explain any misunderstandings. Then let her know you will be there when she needs you and you will leave that up to her, and let it be. Either she will come at some point or she won’t. I don’t have much remorse for people that seem to pass judgment, even if it is a jerk reaction that you didn’t really think about. So respect her and do as she wishes, once you’ve explained. And if you already have back off until she comes to you. Her sense of security, honor, confidence and trust have all been stripped from her and it doesn’t come back easy. So if you really care give her time and space. Lynn

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  2. My girlfriend was raped a few years ago when she was 14. Whenever we sleep together, almost all the time she has nightmares of the event and cant get any sleep. Just recently shes started having the nightmares when I’m not around. She went 5 nights in a row without any sleep. Shes been to therapists and talked to other victims before but she didn’t feel it helped. This doesn’t affect her in her daily life just the nightmares. Sometimes its almost impossible to wake her from them. She doesnt want to see a therapist and I don’t have the nerve to encourage it. Please any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Jon, Sorry for the delay I’ve been having horrible spamming on my website. I hope you are still checking in because you should have her try hypnosis. I personally did it myself and I can for the most part control my nightmares by waking myself up through hypnosis technique’s I learned. Hope that helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  3. This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for the advise. My girlfriend was attacked about 4 months ago. I finally got her to go seek counseling and she was slowly coming around (still not there). She was rooming with her guy friend and decided to move out which seemed to perk her up a little bit. Unfortunately she moved to a somewhat shady neighborhood and just a few days ago an illegal was drunk and tried to assault her with a knife (at her new place)…somehow she talked him down by having a cigerette and he gave her the knife. She called the cops! Today she went looking for new place and found it which I think is good that she’s not letting it hold her down. I hope I’m doing the right thing by not crowding her, letting her do whatever she needs, and only touching base with her from time to time. All of this is pretty stressful on my end because I really miss her and I feel like I’m not helping by staying out of the way or I don’t want her to think that I don’t care. I am on my way to counseling myself….hopefully to keep myself in check by continuing to try not to interfere no matter how much I miss her. This really sucks!! Thanks again for posting this information.

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    1. You are more than welcome, glad the site was able to help. And for the record just follow her lead, when she wants/needs you be there and when she wants her space give that to her. Sounds like you are doing the right thing for her and yourself. Kudos to you! Lynn

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  4. Hi,

    first of all, thnx a bunch for creating this site. it is very nice, supportive, and positive of u, n one can only thank to have ppl like u.

    my friend just got raped. two guys attacked her, took her purse, in which she carried a copy of her passport n ID. they said if she dares to do anything – such as report to the police – they will find her and take revenge. first i strongly encouraged a report to the police, but now i dunno. btw, its an international community, its not in America.
    she was already raped once before, n her bf is one of my best friends. i want to help them as much as possible.
    what should i do? wut could do bf do? i realllly want to help them, n id need ur help. never dealt with this before.

    thnx a looot!

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    1. Danny, I feel sooo horrible for not getting back to you sooner, my deepest apologies! To get to the point there is a website called rainn.org which is international which is where you should start to get your friend the help she needs and the sooner the better. In the meantime, give her unconditional support without asking her any questions until she is ready to talk. She probably already has by now but always just let her get it out the way she needs at the time, whether it be crying, talking – whatever because the more she releases the more room she has to heal. In the bigger picture have her take self defense classes when she is ready. Trust me when I tell you it totally and completely helps with your sense of security and it’s a great way to release anger bu beating up on the dummies!!!! Lastly, I want you and her bf to know not to go to the “coulda, shoulda, woulda” place, because there is no justification for rape and the past can’t be changed! Hope this helps! Stay strong! Lynn

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  5. My girlfriend told me how she was raped from the time she was 5 until the time she was 8. Every weekend she would stay at her aunt’s house he would come into the room and molest her. Every chance he got alone with her he would have intercourse with her and make her perform other sexual acts on him. If she did not look at him he would hit her and yell at her. If she tried pulling away he would get rougher. She has told me some pretty gruesome details about it all. Her family completely turned their backs on her and when CPS got involved somehow the case was dropped. I want to know how to cope. It’s always on my mind. I want counseling but I don’t know what to say or how to say it. My girlfriend says shes isn’t ready for it. I want to be able to help her but I can’t. I’m making myself sick over all this. I want that person to die. I want her family to burn in the depths of hell. She was just a baby. How can people be so cruel? Please give me advice on how to deal.

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    1. B.S. The first thing you need to do is stop beating yourself up because you can’t heal her, because you can’t, she has to do it herself. That being said what you can do to help her while she is going through this is to be her rock. The only thing you can really do (and you should feel good about this and do it well) is let her cry without question, be her shoulder to cry on, give her space when she needs it, listen when she is ready with no questions and never ever judge her. If you can do that and I know you can then you are being the best you can possible be for her. As far as your she is concerned this is an extremely traumatic event that has molded her in ways that she can’t break on her own. She will definitely need intense therapy but she needs to want to go, it can not be forced. Unfortunately the longer she waits the longer it will take for her to heal and it will I promise affect your relationship. So if you want to go to therapy/counselor for you and your relationship that might set a good example for her but don’t ask her to go let her ask you. Stay strong! Lynn

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  6. I recently found out from my mother that my sister was sexually abused as a child. She is now in her late twenties and has just now told our mother. Based on her behavior growing up we can guess within a few years the approximate age it happened but other than that we have no details. I feel awful knowing now that we were blind to all of her cries for help. Looking back there were definite signs that we chalked up to being a teenager finding herself. Our relationship from day one was not very solid, but it breaks my heart as her sister, knowing that she felt she couldn’t tell me something as major as this. She still hasn’t told me anything about it and refuses to tell my mother any more details besides that it happened. She says she was threatened by the individual who abused her and that influenced her decision not to tell. As she has gotten older she has progressively distanced herself from our family. I am worried that it might have been someone close to the family. I guess where I am at now is I don’t know how to support her and help her through the grieving process as it is evident that she is still suffering emotionally from this trauma especially since she herself hasn’t told me. The only reason my mother shared this info with me is because she wanted to know if I knew anything about it.
    I just found this out a few days ago and am still a somewhat state of shock. Any advice on how to deal with a situation like this would be greatly appreciated.

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    1. Claire, unfortunately if she hasn’t come to you, you can’t let her know you know because she will only feel betrayed by your mother. That being said, your mother on the other hand can suggest counseling. She can go to rainn.org or try your local crisis center or even guide her to this site. Your mother can say she was looking for resources to help your sister and your mother get through this. Your mom should not ask questions but should definitely let her know that she will be there for her in anyway possible. It is up to your sister to want help and to talk to whom she wants without any questioning or judgment (not that you would just saying). I know this doesn’t help you much, but your sister will only get better by the work she puts into it and when she is ready. Just don’t let her know that you know because that will just make more of a wedge between the 3 of you. Stay strong! Lynn

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  7. my friend raped me last week i went to the cops and they said if they couldnt prove it i would go to jail cause i took a shower and waiting so long to tell them i knew they couldnt prove it i just let it go but now all i do is sleep and i dont know what to do

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    1. A. The first thing I would do is document who you talked to and go above their heads because that is bullshit. They are correct in saying it would be hard to prosecute without evidence but any officer that says you will go to jail should not be an officer. I would go over their heads and file a complaint and then look for a female officer to at the very least see if any other complaints have been filed against the person that raped you. That being said you need to take care of yourself and the fact that you are reaching out for help this quickly is excellent because you know in your heart you can’t deal with this on your own and really no one can (proven by all the posts here on the website). Go to rainn.org to find a counselor closest to you and let them know you feel victimized twice, by your attacker and the police. Or you can call your local crisis center and tell them the same thing. They usually either offer counseling or can refer you to someone that works with your money situation. Just don’t wait because it only gets worse and whatever you do don’t turn to alcohol & drugs because that is only a temporary fix that masks the pain at first, but ALWAYS makes the pain worse in the end. Try going to a self defense class when you can and in the meantime of seeing a counselor, write out your thoughts as a release just to get it out of your mind. You can take those thoughts to the counselor or you can trash them just get them out of your head to help with the anxiety. Most importantly, don’t give up on yourself. Know in your heart and soul this wasn’t your fault and get help from a professional. You will only heal as much as the work you put into it. I know it sucks that we didn’t ask for this and we are the ones that have to put the hard work and mental and physical effort into getter better, but we are worth it and it truly is the only way to have a better life! Once again I think it is great that you are NOT waiting to look for help, that is so brave and courageous of you. Stay strong! Lynn

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  8. My 14 year old daughter was raped on school grounds by a stranger after school nearly a year ago, he grabbed her from behind and dragged her to a nearby wooded area where he stole her innocence, she was able to get hold of a large branch and strike him with it and got away. She just told me about this yesterday, she made me promise not to tell anybody, but I couldn’t keep something like this from my husband, so I begged her to tell her father… my husband doesn’t believe her story and thinks she is covering up the true identity of the rapist…am I wrong to feel incredibly proud of her for keeping her wits about her and just be grateful she is alive? My first instinct is to file a police report and contact the school to see if any of this was caught on camera, but school hasn’t started yet, and my daughter is terrified to talk to the police. I don’t want to force anything and make this harder on her, but she doesn’t want to talk to anybody. This has been a long hard year, and I had been trying for months to get her to agree to counseling, even before she admitted to the rape. Her behavior is just so incredibly off…she’s had suicidal thoughts, the filthy way she keeps her room and her own personal hygeine- my sunshine daughter seemed to disappear overnight, replaced with an angry, hopeless black clad child…I tallied it all up to typical teenage angst, and I just wanted to get her somebody to talk to, and now I feel so bad for not seeing the signs- how could my child come home from school raped- forever changed one day- and I didn’t even know?

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    1. M. First of all if you noticed the changes in your daughter then why doesn’t your husband believe her???? Can you imagine how hard this was for her to tell you and then have your husband not believe her?? That in itself is almost a crime whether or not she knew the person or not, who cares? You should have respected her wishes to not tell. That being said it is already done so you have to think going forward. I hope to God you stick by your daughter since your husband won’t and I must say that would really put a rock between my husband and me if he didn’t believe, making me question why he automatically assumes the worst?? Sounds like he needs counseling too. Whatever you do DO NOT force her or ask her to ever discuss this with him again because he is and will hold up the healing process. Now as far as the police, unless there is something on tape there is nothing they can do without some type of evidence or dna, so if your daughter doesn’t want you to go to the police then don’t. I would however report it to the school, #1) to see if there is a tape and #2) to let them know there is a predator out there and they need to be aware. You can make this phone call anonymously if your daughter absolutely doesn’t want you to talk to the school or you can talk to her explain why and go yourself. As far as not seeing the signs, you did see the signs as a good mom, you just didn’t know the reason for the signs. That doesn’t make you a bad mom, it just means your daughter wasn’t ready to tell anyone. It is a very shameful experience even though the last thing we SHOULD feel is shame, that is the first thing we feel. Your daughter does need to go to counseling but she can not be forced. She has to do it when she is ready and unfortunately you can’t heal her only support her (as your husband should as well). Let her know you believe her and that you will always be there for her no matter what. If she wants to talk you can listen and you will be there for hugs and a shoulder to cry on and NEVER second guess her. She might not be telling you everything and that’s OK because at least she told you, which means she is starting to be able to open up and wants to but she will take baby steps. Especially because she is so young and this will affect her for the rest of her life. Doesn’t mean her life won’t be good again, but it will be different. One thing you can tell her is the longer she waits to get into counseling the longer it takes to heal and it will have a more negative effect on all areas of her life. Go to rainn.org and find a counselor nearest you that is trained in rape and won’t judge, that is who she needs to be seeing. And I can only hope your husband has kept his opinions to himself and if he hasn’t, tell him to do so! Stay strong! Lynn

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  9. I’ve been seeing a woman for about 2 months, the most well adjuste, down to earth, mature person I’ve ever met. We connect on so many levels, and this is a relationship that I really want to work. I just found out that she has been raped several times over the last 10 years, I don’t know exactly how many yet or all the details, I didn’t want to pry to much when she first told me. The issue is that beening raped is now one of her biggest sexual fantasies, and mock rape is something that she wants me to do for her. Its something that makes me really uncomfortable, I want to make her happy but I really don’t know if its something I can do, most especially I don’t want to create any connections in her mind between those events and me. She feels safe around me right now, and I don’t want to change that. I also don’t want to change our relationship or how we act with each other. But on the other side I don’t want to lose her because I’m not doing enough for her sexually. I was wondering if this is a common reaction to rape? and if you have any advice on how to handle this, I’m going to talk to her about seeing a tharapist or a councellor. is there anything else I can do?

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    1. J. No this is NOT normal and is totally because she hasn’t dealt with the rape properly. You have the right idea to get her some counseling but she has to be ready and she might not take it well if she isn’t ready, so be prepared if you decide to mention it. What ever you do DO NOT act this mock rape out. I don’t care how sexual she is you need the right intimacy to stay together, and this is not intimacy therefore you don’t need to be a part of it. I promise you it will only hurt the relationship in the long run. Honestly, this is a major red flag for me and should be to you as well. If she won’t go to counseling, you can go to see what you can do to help her. Just explain to her that it makes you feel uncomfortable and you don’t want her to associate you with the rapes that happened to her. Let her know it is a huge turn off for you so you wouldn’t be able to please her. And I must say this type of behavior doesn’t come across as “well adjusted” to me…. Stay strong! Lynn

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  10. My boyfriend is having huge problems dealing with my rapes on many levels. Long story short – my ex boyfriend and his friend beat me up and raped me. The police were no help before it happened and he was breaking the restraining order, leaving me with no faith in police. After they were arrested (both now in prison) an official involved with the case told me he had information that could set them free and made me have sex with him over the course of several months. I was afraid to tell anyone and I knew I would get through it and leave for college a few months later. My boyfriend knows it’s not my fault but doesn’t want to be with me anymore for a few reasons, which he knows are unfair to me. He said he doesn’t trust me because I lied to him about where I was for those months and when he questioned me, I made him out to be a fool. He is hurt and feels I didn’t trust him to confide in him. He feels anytime he touches me now he will wonder if the man touched me the same way. He feels sick and like “shit” for feeling these things, but can’t get past them and doesn’t feel he ever will. He also feels that I had options that I didn’t take and didn’t stick up for myself. Ironically, when I did finally confide in him (because he found out on his own due to the rapist bragging) the police acted exactly how I knew they would (stuck up for their own) and when I finally went for an order of protection, I didn’t receive it because I was made out to be crazy (they believed I had become obsessed with the rapist after sleeping with him the night we met – a TOTAL LIE.)

    I don’t want to lose my boyfriend but I also can’t heal when he is obsessed with his thoughts.

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    1. K. I hate to say it but let your boyfriend go… The main reason is that we can only control ourselves no one else and I think you are putting too much info sense on him instead of yourself. I know it is hard and it’s not what I want to say but it is true. You can’t make him feel or do anything he doesn’t want and I can understand his betrayal – BUT I understand why you did it more. You didn’t do it out of betrayal you did it out of horror that this guy might get loose AND the fact that the police were telling you what to do which way out powers what your boyfriend wants. I get it, but now you have to get it. Take care of yourself first then once your head is straight you will determine who else you want or don’t want to deal with. Go to rainn.org and try and find the nearest counselor to you that is trained in rape or even call your local crisis center (who has connections with the cops & would NOT let this happen). Either way they can both be kept anonymous, but once you start counseling you will need to give them your name, but they can’t share any info you don’t want shared by law (if in the US). I hope this helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  11. hi there,
    i’m just looking for some advice regarding my boyfriend. His daughter was assaulted and raped by 3 guys last year, she is just a minor and one of the guys was a friend of the family, which makes it even harder on him. He’s divorced and his daughter lives with her mum in a different country and it’s been a tough few years for both him and his daughter, and when the rape happened he was devastated. Her court case has just been given a date and unfortunately due to work committments i’m unable to go to support my boyfriend, and he needs it so badly.

    I don’t know what to do or to say to him as he’s just so upset by it all, and has a strained relationship at the best of times with his ex wife and his daughter feels he doesn’t really care about her. I’m afraid to suggest councilling for him as in the past when i had suggested he felt he didn’t need it and would know ahead of time everything a councillor would tell him. Is there anything else I can do?? I support the best I can I’m just worried about the case as my boyfriend has so much anger and frustration which I can understand. He know’s he has to remain calm and under control, but I do understand how hard it is for him.

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    1. M. I see your in a tough situation and I agree with you that counseling would be the best option, especially since he needs to make sure he stays in control. However you can’t force him. I would maybe provide him with resources, like a crisis center hot line and maybe therapists through his health insurance, even his employer might have an EAP (employee assistance program) which is free and completely confidential. Everything from his feelings to his relationship with his daughter can be helped by these sources. Anything else basically comes down to your support, understanding and patience from you. Maybe if he refuses to talk to a professional, you can suggest writing out his feelings as a release. He doesn’t have to show anyone or even keep them, just get them out of his head so he feels less stress. I often suggest if they consider counseling to even take what he has written if he feels he can’t talk to get the ball rolling. Something to consider. Hope all goes well with his daughter. Stay strong! Lynn

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  12. Hi Lynn, this is a very helpful site. Thank you.

    My girls friend was raped when she was 11, for a year or so, I don’t really pry, so I don’t know much about it, I just let her talk to me when she feels like it.

    She also has the sexual fantasy of being raped like J’s girl friend. This is strange to me, because I’m a loving guy, and it makes me uncomfortable. And I’ve dated a survivor before, she was completely opposite and liked being in control.

    My girl friend is currently studying and say’s she wants to see a chancellor after she’s finished her studies. I don’t think she’s dealt with her emotions at all, she’s very distrusting and overly emotional.

    Is there some way I can help her deal with her emotions and maybe get her to see a therapist?

    Thank again.

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    1. CL. You can’t force her but you can support her. She has to go when she is ready. Maybe give her this site info so if she comes here hopefully she can finds things to help her and more importantly realize the sooner she get counseling the quicker she will be on the road to a brighter future. She has to be willing to help herself. Maybe if she reads the post or even if you point them out she will know that no good comes from not getting professional help, only wasted time. If she is serious about getting help after her studies then support her and give her resources. Whatever you do, don’t ever act on her fantasy, this does not make a healthy relationship – ever, trust me. Don’t judge her, just tell her it makes you feel uncomfortable talking about it because you can’t think like that. I’m glad I was able to help. Stay strong! Lynn

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  13. I really enjoyed reading this article and found it to be very helpful. I was raped about three weeks ago, but I didn’t tell my husband out of fear that he wouldn’t want me anymore. When I couldn’t pretend to be okay anymore as the trauma set in, I explained what had happened in my suicide note. I changed my mind about the suicide, but he found the note and read it. At very first, he gave me a long hug, then just walked outside and stood there. I gave him a few minutes then went out to him and asked him to say something. He said I don’t know what to say. I then asked him if he still wanted to be with me, and he said I don’t think I do. When I went into the bathroom with a loaded gun, he followed me and demanded I unlock the door or he was coming in. I didn’t shoot myself because I knew then that he cared enough about me to make sure I was okay. I was raped by a drug dealer, and have been clean since the rape. Once, he said just look at what your addiction has done to us. I already felt it was my fault at that time, and that comment really hurt me. I was already depressed and self-loathing, so it wasn’t difficult to accidentally push me into suicide mode, and I tried another time. I swallowed a bottle of pills. I never told him that his comment was what pushed me. When I got out of the hospital, he was much more loving and supportive. He has been to all of my medical, psychiatric and therapeutic appointments with me and on the visits that I wanted him to sit in on, he did. We have an appointment for us together on Friday. I hope that turns into his healing process that is separate from mine. Sometimes, he is a bit too affectionate for my comfort level right now and I don’t know how to tell him without hurting him. He is also being very protectful. I do realize that I am fortunate to have him because after his initial anger passed, he has become the strongest supporter of my recovery. He must have read some of these articles, but I’m going to print this out for him anyway. Thanks again!

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    1. K. First to answer your questions YES you can recover from this, albeit it’s not a short process through all the years and trauma you’ve been through. I’m so glad this site could help both of you and more importantly I’m SOOO glad you are doing the right thing and getting the professional help you need. YOU NEED TO KNOW THAT SUICIDE IS NOT THE ANSWER BECAUSE THEN HE WINS! I’m sure they told you rape is about control, not you or your drug addiction. Rape is about control and if you give up your life then he has the ultimate control and that is the last thing we need to give our attackers, more control. He took something from you BUT he didn’t take your life, so now it is time to take your life back and not give him another day, hour or minute. IT’S YOUR LIFE NOT HIS SO TAKE IT BACK! You deserve a good life so do what you need to get there and I promise it will come! Stay strong! Lynn

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  14. My wife has been assaulted three seperate times in her life. Once when she was 16 by some guy at a house party, once a couple of years later during a college party (drugged), and a third attempt a few years later. She feels responsible for these attacks and it doesn’t matter how many times I tell her its not her fault, she won’t let it go. The first one happened 14 years ago and the feelings she has are so deep and poisonous, I don’t know what to do to help her. Her best friend took matters into his own hands and dealt with the first attacker. I don’t know exactly what happened, but neither of them is here to tell the story anymore. She has never recovered from the first attack or the loss of her best friend. The second time, she was trying to protect a friend that had become drugged at a party. The next thing she knew, she was being carried out of a bathroom completely nude by her friends who were there to rescue her. She never knew who was responsible for that one. The third time, a very large body building type she knew, tried to attack her, but she flipped the script on him and left him hurt and in a pile on the floor while she took off. I have never pushed the issue with her because I didn’t know how, or even think that I should. I’m glad now after reading this that I didn’t. Last night, all these feelings started to flood back to her after we were intimate. I just let her talk, held her hand, and let her know I was there for her however she needed me to be. No judgements, no pressures….just whatever she needed from me, I’m going to be that for her. She keeps appologizing to me for being “damaged”. We talked about these attacks for hours last night. In each scenario I pointed out to her how it was not her fault. I told her, it did not matter what she was wearing, where she was, what she was doing…………..once she said no………that was how and where it should have stopped. I don’t know if I should have done this or not, but after she told me about the last attack, I told her how brave I thought she was. That is one of those moments that everyone says they will act a certain way or whatever, but you never know exactly how you are gonna act until it happens. This is a young girl who had been attacked twice already and is was being attacked for a third time by someone who is almost a foot taller and atleast 100lbs heavier than her. She attacked back in an attempt to protect herself and got away. Luckily she was successful and did not get hurt any worse. I can’t help but feel that she should look on that moment with pride because she had a chance to fight back this time and proved to herself and him, that she wasn’t going to be a victim anymore. I told her after we finished speaking that I was not going to push for her to talk about these things if she didn’t want to, but that these monsters had stolen enough of her life that she needed to take away there power and deal with her feelings. She said she thinks she needs to speak to a counselor, I agreed with her. I also told her I was going to learn everything I could about this, because i’m truly ignorant to the subject. I want to help her, but I don’t want to blindly “help” and make anything worse for her, she has suffered enough. Is there anything else I can do for her to help her try and heal these wounds, some of which are over a decade old? I truly appreciate your imput on this, thank you for your time.

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    1. Lee, First and foremost I am truly patting you on the back for your very mature and loving ways that you have helped her. She is so lucky to have you by her side. I would like to personally thank you as any victim would be so lucky. I think you have done everything right and truly the only other thing I would suggest is for you to get personal counseling as well. Tell her you will both get counseling, ask her if she would prefer different counselors or the same one, let that be her call. Let her know that you realize it’s not going to be easy but it will be easier than what shes been through. Let her know you aren’t going to counseling because of her but because you want to be able to deal with the situation as best you can in order to give her the best support. Let her know we aren’t wired on how to deal with this and you understand that professionals will be able to help you both understand. Let her know you are going because of the love you have for her and for your future together. Because she is going to have some rough points and you want to be the strongest you can be for her and you. As far as everything else you have told her you are right on. Just remember you can’t make her go, and if by chance she gets cold feet you need to show her strength by you still going. You are doing a great job, keep up the good work! Stay strong! Lynn

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  15. My friend has been raped two days ago. I still can’t believe it has happened. I am trying to make her understand that it wasn’t her fault. I have never been in this situation before. She hasn’t told her mother or anyone else. I am the only person she has told and I am just lost with what should/should not do. I am really desperate for an advice. I really appreciate your time and thank you.

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    1. Her friend, It takes a while for us to get through the different stages of feelings including that it isn’t our fault. My best advice is to show her this website so she can understand what she is going to go through and that the best and quickest way to healing is through professional counseling. The quicker she starts the quicker the healing process and her being able to control certain things and feelings that are going to come up. She can find a counselor near her at rainn.org or even call the local crisis center or rape hotline. But you can’t force her to go she must be ready. Maybe is she reads all the posts here she will understand that not one person was able to deal with it on their own. They may have put it off but only to find out it gets worse and harder to deal with later. Let her know this doesn’t define her, only the person that did this to her and there is no reason to feel ashamed. Let her know that you are there for her but all you can do is support her not help her the professional way she needs but you will be there for everything else. As much as I know you want to heal her you can’t. Only she can. You can be there when she needs a shoulder to cry on and support her but she has to physically help herself through her healing process. Things will be better but only to the extent that she helps herself. Stay strong and thanks for being a good friend! Lynn

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  16. Hi Lynn, thank you very much for your advice!! I think she finally decided that she will seek for a professional help and I am happy about it. Things can get only better. Thank you again!

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  17. Hi, my girlfriend was raped about 2 years ago. i had just met her around this time, but we did not start dating until after the incidents. she was raped by three different people on three different occasions. also, all of the incidents happened within a month of each other. She was very drunk all three times and was taken advantage of. She says she tried to stop them but couldn’t due to her state of mind. she barely even remembers the last one. i find this very disturbing and i cannot stop thinking about what she has told and described to me (what she remembers). the other thing is she told me this happened only a few days ago and i was very ill tempered. i know what i did was wrong yet i cant seem to help but get upset about what happened. i do not know what to do about this situation and am hoping that maybe you can help me. i care about her and i want to be able to support her in anyway possible but i can’t help but get mad about it every now and then. Please give me some advice so that i can help my girlfriend and not make things worse.

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    1. T. The first thing you need to do is separate your feelings from the anger you have about what happened to her and actually taking your anger out of her (which is unacceptable). It will only be a matter of time if you continue to be “mad at her” that she will realize this is unacceptable too. It is understandable that you are mad at the situation but you can not judge her if you want to keep your relationship. You need to understand just because someone drinks too much doesn’t mean they deserve to be raped, so try and remember that. Secondly I can tell you are bothered by the fact that it happened on 3 separate occasions by 3 separate men in a short period of time. When a person goes through rape their entire world turns upside down and unless they can get into counseling right away (which most don’t) they tend to think they can forget about it (which it never goes away and why we need to properly learn to deal). The most common way to deal without professional help is numbing the pain, aka alcohol or drugs. Sometimes they even act out sexually (NOT in your girlfriends case) in hopes that the rape doesn’t ruin them sexually, or to take back control of what happened and try and move on. Not sure if you understand that but those are very typical responses albeit not healthy ones. In the case of your girlfriend she chose to numb with alocohol probably thinking that could never happen again because she still didn’t want to beleive it happened at all and then it did. After the 2nd time I can only imagine the guilt and shame she felt which caused to even worse numbing and then it happened again. So please know she wasn’t looking to go spiraling down the rabbit hole but that is what happened because she didn’t have the proper support system or know where to find it and was probably blaming herself therefore she probably didn’t even want to try and get the help because then she would have had to tell someone who would possibly judge her, which is the absolute worst response anyone can give. Hopefully I’ve shed some light and you can move forward by helping not hurting the situation. That being said she needs to get into counseling. She can go through your local crisis center or go to rainn.org BUT you can’t make her, she has to be willing and pushing her will not help. Stay strong! Lynn

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  18. hi lynn

    my girlfriend was raped just 2 months ago and she hasent reported it every time i ask her to get help she says she wants to deal with it herselth i love her so verry mutch and dont ever want to lose her what can i do to help her get over what has hapend to her pleas help as i dont know what is the best thing i can do to help her

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    1. Dave, my best suggestion is to bring her to this site and let her read the other posts. there are over 1,000 posts and there is not a one that states they were able to deal with it themselves. You won’t find a one. No matter how long ago it happened. We are not wired to know how to deal with it which is why we need to seek professional help. BUT she must be willing, you can not force her. There is some advice on things she can do to help herself but it never replaces what professional counseling will do. When she is ready she can call your local crisis center to inquire about rape counseling or she can go to rainn.org to find the nearest specialist to you. the only other thing you can do is be her rock and a shoulder to cry on as well as an ear to listen. Try your best to not push her and to be as understanding as possible so she will feel like she can come to you. Keep in mind the more she lets out via crying, anger whatever the more room she has to feel. If she keeps it in and doesn’t deal, it will be like a ticking time bomb. Rape is like a shadow, you can never run or hide from it. The only way is to confront it and deal with it head on (with a professional). Only then do we get the proper mindset in order to know how to deal with our future, stop reliving our past and realize that this is something we can handle. That is when the future becomes more important than our past and we start living that way. Stay strong! Lynn

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  19. Hello, I found out that my mother’s flatmate raped her the other night, he came into her room while she was sleeping and the next day told her that she wanted it. She asked him to leave within a few weeks and i guess that he did it for revenge. She left a message on my sisters mobile stating what he did and she felt awkward about it and didn’t contact my mother. My phone is faulty so I never got the message but my sister told me about it 1.5 days later, not knowing if the message was a mistake. I called my mother imediately to find out that this was the case and she has now kicked the man out, but she appears to be coping by being in denial, claiming that his behaviour as a bad flatmate for many weeks was worse than the rape, and she is coping fine. I know that she is not as she hasn’t been home since and of course she isn’t coping, but I’m thankful that other people feel denial, it’s normal, even though I was confused at her initial response. I called my sister back to tell her what happened, and she is disturbed and disgusted, but does not wish to contact my mother, as she feels embarassed and doesn’t know how to deal with it. I suggested she ask my mum if she wants to drive her to the hospital for an examination, but she was hesitant to do so and my mum also said that she doesn’t want to have an examination. She called the police but I take it that the law is screwed up and this man will get away with it, as I think my mum will just want to forget about it, claiming she doesn’t need to talk to anyone about it. Living in a different state, I feel rather helpless and anger towards my sister for not wanting to have a part with it, she hasn’t even spoken to my mother yet and I can’t beleive she left it for so long before raising it with me. Please help me deal with this anger and helplessness. I feel like i’m the only one who is acting traumatised (whilst understanding my mum is in denial)

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    1. JB, Unfortunately we can’t control what others do only ourselves. The one thing you need to understand about rape victims and their loved ones is that everyone reacts differently. the reason for that is that no one truly knows how to deal. A very common response is to ignore it, like your sister is because they think by addressing the situation it only hurts the victim or even hurting themselves because they love them so much. So my best advice is not to be mad at them because honestly they don’t know the right way. As far as your mom, she is in denial and that is also a very common response, especially initially. If she doesn’t make a big deal out of it then it won’t be in her mind. However we both know that isn’t true. Rape doesn’t go away, it stays with you forever BUT that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good happy life again. But I can promise you one thing it most likely won’t be happy until she learns how to cope with it through professional counseling. But remember you can’t control anyone else, meaning you can’t force her to go. She has to be ready. So all you can do is let her know that you are there for her day or night and you will support her no matter what decisions she makes because you love her. You could show her this website so she can research herself the feelings she might go through and read through others posts so she won’t feel alone. It will give her advice on how to cope but it won’t replace the professional counseling that she needs. So take that energy that you are using by being so upset and turn it into compassion and support for your mom. Stay strong and thanks for loving your mom so much to help her. Lynn

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  20. my best friend and i are 16 and she was molested for many years and then raped 3 years ago by a family member. she waited 2 years before telling anyone and was trying to pretend it never had happened, but after telling her mother, thankfully the man that raped her was sentenced and will be in jail until he dies.
    she told me a few months ago, and she has been feeling very down and having flashbacks. sometimes i can tell it is very hard for her to talk and she wants to be left alone. i always give her space if she needs it, but i feel bad that i cant do much for her. she is such a important person to me. i am really worried about her because she has already been to counseling before and it seems to make her feel worse, and numb.
    it hurts me so much to see her going through so much pain.
    i have been reading about PTSD and other rape victims, as i want to learn more about her situation and be there for her as much as i can. is there anything else i can do to help her deal with this?
    also even though her telling me about being raped was suppose to be a secret i told my bf about it how this had happened to one of my friends, i will never tell him who, but i feel like i really needed to talk about it with someone because sometimes it is difficult for me when she tells me details about incident. i feel bad for telling him even though i didn’t tell him which one of my friends it had happened to.
    (thank you so much, i appreciate what u do and i am so happy that you have healed after being a rape victim yourself, it gives other people hope that it isn’t the end for them, and i think you are amazing that you help others healing with the same experience)

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    1. Flor, thanks for the kind words that is very sweet of you. And it is very sweet of you that you want to help your friend. All you can really do is support her and be a shoulder to cry on when she needs it as well as lend an ear. It sounds like you are already doing a great job at that. You are more important to her than you know even when she does need her space. I know you want to help her heal but that is up for her to do herself when she is ready. You could volunteer to go to counseling with her (but you won’t be able to sit in with her UNLESS she goes to group counseling & you go with her). Maybe you could offer to take a self defense class with her. The self defense class will give her some sense of security as well as help with her confidence level. But she has to be ready and willing for the counseling. In fact group might be the better way for her to go because you can be there and she won’t feel so put on the spot. She would listen to the others and then realize she is not alone. She would make lifelong friends and be with others that completely understand what she is going through. Counseling isn’t easy but ultimately when looking back it is a lot easier than going through everyday life depressed feeling empty and lonely. You can call your local crisis center to find out about group rape counseling in you area or even try rainn.org. Don’t know if they have group but they can refer you to a counselor closest to you and I’m sure that counselor would have info on group in your area. Hope that helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  21. Hi
    My wife of 20 years was raped at 17. We have never really talked to much about but last night after we were intimate she started crying and talking about it and I comforted her and prayed with her but then said the wrong thing and she shut down. What do I do to help her if anything. Do I encourage her to talk about it? Do I ask questions to try to bring it out in the open? Any advise would be helpful.
    Thank you
    A very loving and concerned husband

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    1. Bl the best thing you can do is listen and support. Don’t ask questions, just be there when she is ready to talk. What she needs to understand is that every person that goes through rape needs professional counseling. That being said you can’t make her go, she needs to go when she is ready. What you can do is suggest that since this has been locked up inside her for so many years that is sounds like now she is ready to talk about it and since you don’t want to say or do the wrong thing maybe it would help to talk to someone that can actually help her get through this. Let her know no matter what you are there for her but you don’t know the appropriate way to help other than being a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen, and that you absolutely will do that. She can look up a counselor in your area or you can go to rainn.org and find the nearest one to you that specializes in rape counseling. Remember the more she lets out the more room she has to heal. Thanks for caring and being there for her and also remember patience is a virtue. Stay strong! Lynn

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  22. Lynn, thank you will all my heart for your passion and dedication to rape and sexual assault recovery. My girlfriend was raped five years ago by her exboyfriend’s family member. She never told anyone and never dealt with it, and seemed to just push it to the back of her mind as though it never happened. She only told me about this about 6 months ago.

    About three months ago, my girlfriend was sexually assaulted at night by three male strangers. Six sets of hands touched her all over and into her underwear. It was an attempted rape–they left suddenly when a car drove by. Since then I think this attack really brought back her rape and it has tremendously affected her life. She fits the symptoms of rape related post traumatic stress disorder. She can’t sleep at night due to intrusive thoughts and nightmares. And she has become massively massively depressed. She has become suicidal and held a knife in her hand the other day.

    Back in college I was trained as a sexual assault educator and I’ve been trying to be there for her as best as I can. I was there the night of her sexual assault–I didn’t ask questions, I gave her all the control, I believed her, I took care of her and made her feel safe. I’ve been trying to help her as best as I can and explaining that its not her fault and that she will get through this. recently she’s been comfortable enough to tell her family which I think is a huge step forward. She has also agreed to start going to a counselor which I know will be a tremendous help. I’m just so scared because it seems she has gotten so much worse recently. I am so scared she will try to take her life away and I love her so much. She confides in me more than anyone else and I’m the only one who knows about her being suicidal, although she promised to tell her counselor. All of this is really starting to affect me but I’m trying my best to be her rock. I would love to go to counseling but I am abroad and it’s not an option. What can I do to help her? What do you think I can do to help myself? Thank you so much

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    1. M. I know if you are abroad help is limited but there is an organization that is worldwide that you can at least check to see if there is someone near you that you could go see. Go to rainn.org and look to see if there is a counselor near you, it is worth a try. Hopefully there is and you can some how go because that would be best. If not one thing I would try is writing in a journal. I would suggest that to both of you because it is a mental release. It gets all those thought out of your head and on paper and if you do everyday, especially before sleep it will eventually help you rest better and the more good sleep you both get the more it will bring down your anxiety level. Now I wouldn’t recommend right before bed but like an hour or so before bed then do something that relaxes you and takes your mind of what you just wrote then maybe drink some sleepy time tea (valarian root) and try to sleep. Also take some melatonin which helps promote sleep. Seriously a good night sleep is so important for stress and anxiety. Secondly your girlfriend should also see a doctor to see is she is suffering from ptsd and if she is they can put her on meds to help control it, which a counselor can not do. Oh and if she agrees to write out her feelings she also needs to write out when something triggers her and she can take what she has written to the counselor which can help determine her triggers and the counselor can see specifics and try and help her with those. I would also recommend that she take a self defense class which not only helps her physically but mentally because she will feel more in control and it will help get her sense of security back especially while you are gone. Since you are gone she might want to consider group counseling. Most people are weary of this but it is such an excellent resource because you amke friends for life and you don’t feel like you are all alone or crazy because others have been though it and understand exactly what you are going through. Also let her know you understand is is extremely hard BUT not harder than what she has been through and it is a necessary step to tack back control of her life, which is so worth it. that being said you and I both know you can’t make her go to counseling, it is something she has to do herself. Also, let her know that if she took her life that they win. they also are winning everyday they control her life with these overwhelming feelings. She can not change the past but through counseling and possibly medication she can control her future and not let them control it anymore. You are a great boyfriend for helping her so much and I wish there were more out there like you. Stay strong! Lynn

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  23. My girlfriend and me recently got back together. This summer she went on a trip with some girl friends where they did some drinking. A guy she knew came over and kept asking her where her boyfriend was and she kept telling him I was on a trip with my parents in florida which I was. He forced her into a room and had sex with her despite her repeated telling him no and her squirming and eventually she couldn’t find and it happened. Her friends found out and she was too scared and embarssaed to tell them it was rape and just went along with it acting like it was consensual. A few nights passed and her friends left her alone with the guy and she raped him yet again… she said she fought less this time in fear that he would hurt her. She broke up with me after because she didn’t know how to break it to me and I was deeply confused. We recently got back together and she told me about it and all I want to do for her is make her feel better and be there for her. I feel angry at her attacker whom goes to the same college as me and I am deeply saddened by this and have no idea how to get both myself and herself passed this so we can have a healthy relationship. I feel helpless.

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    1. DM The only real thing you can do for her is support her which is what it seems like you are doing. She needs to get professional counseling but you can’t make her go, she has to be willing herself. Most people feel they want to handle it themselves and it will go away, but unfortunately it doesn’t. The longer you wait to get help the longer it takes to heal. You can only be there to hold her when she is hurting and an ear when she wants to talk, but you can’t heal her. She has to go through the right process and trying to shove it under the rug doesn’t ever work, as you will see if you scroll through some of the posts on my website. So I suggest possibly bringing her to this site so hopefully she can gets some ideas on how to cope and understand that counseling is her best option. But whatever you do don’t take matters into your own hands by confronting the person that did this. You both needs to stay as far away from him as possible. She might want to take a self defense class and/or get a stun gun for protection which will help with her sense of security as well. Stay strong! Lynn

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  24. DM…I hear you. My (now) wife was raped over 20 yrs ago in very similar circumstances. We were together then and had been long before this. When this occurred I took the ‘high road’ and swallowed any rage I had….simply based on her request. Believe me, I had many conflicts about what “I” wanted to do to him. Although it is imperative to protect the victims…you must acknowledge that you are a victim as well. My life was forever altered that night and I was nowhere near the actual event. I would encourage you to seek help if you feel you need it. Support your girlfriend but you should attempt healthy discussions about both of your feelings. My soul rotted for 20 yrs as we lived with a very large pink elephant after our ‘dealing’ with the initial shock of the event. suppressing is not the equivalent of working through….and don’t ever confuse the two. I am still a ‘mess’ to a certain degree. Thankfully, my wife and I have begun to talk about certain things in a productive manner. I, too, feel lost at times and I still have days where I feel I might not make it through.

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  25. My mother was living in Cedar and had called me abruptly after mothers day and told me that she was moving back to Salt Lake City. I asked my mother what was going on but she continuously told me that she had encountered trauma and just needed to get out. I asked my mother repeatedly what had happened. After a short while I began piecing together what i believed had happened. I believed my mother was raped. Three of the biggest clues had came from when she visited my home last week. I saw a baseball bat in her car. My mother has never carried weapons. When I asked about it, she had said, “Aubrie, I am too weak to fight anymore. I cannot fight”. This made my mind race. Who, when, where, WHY?? She then told me a story about a recent incident with my Aunt but had mistakenly told me that her friend had provided my Aunt and Uncle with the information needed to deal with a person that has gone through trauma. Shortly afterward I noticed a piece of paper that had a Crisis Hotline number written down. I was too afraid of bringing up bad emotions that I had kept my mouth shut, thank God. Well… Today I get a phone call from my mother. She was distraught, telling me that she had been raped and that she is even afraid to leave the house in fear that people are able to look at her and they ‘KNOW’. I don’t know what to do. I AM ANGRY THAT SOMEONE PUT THEIR GRIMY HANDS ON MY MOMMA!!!!! How do I cope without getting in the way of her healing process?????? HELP

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    1. A. The best thing that you can do is be there for her for support, listen when she is ready to talk and be a shoulder for her to cry on. Don’t ask details and be strong for her. She should get counseling and you can suggest but don’t force her because she can only go when she is ready. Let her know you are there for her 24/7 anytime she needs you. But let her bring it up to you, don’t dwell on it to her. Also, don’t act like it didn’t happen like you want things to be normal because that is the worst. Things won’t be normal for a very long time and she needs to know you are there when she wants to talk or cry. I would also maybe suggest taking a self defense class, tell her you would do it with her. Her life is going to change and she is going to go through different emotions. Just let her feel them because it is a way of dealing. The more she lets out the more room she has to heal. Locking her feelings up inside never works, she has to let them out. And most of all make sure she is safe. I’m assuming this is true since she is moving and that is an excellent choice. Try to make her understand none of this is her fault and she is not alone. And that rape doesn’t define her only the person that sis this as a rapist. Stay strong! Lynn

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  26. My boyfriend just told me recently of an encounter he had when he was ten in which his older cousin sexually assaulted him. It’s been 8 years since then and I’m the first and only person he’s ever told. I’m not sure what I can do to help him process through this, as he’s said he wants to, but doesn’t know how. He wouldn’t go and talk to anyone else, so I need to know a way to help him. Any ideas?

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    1. M. The best way is through counseling, bottom line. The reason he won’t go is because he feels shame. The first step in the healing process is to truly believe this wasn’t his fault. Once he is there he won’t feel the shame and hopefully he will ask for help. He is not going to be judged if that is what he is worried about. But if he is still tormented 8 years later it is just proof that he can’t shove it under the rug and counseling is needed. That being said you can’t force him he has to be willing. But I can promise you this the more he lets out the more room he has to heal and without counseling this is going to affect every aspect of his life at some point or another. And if he doesn’t think so and he thinks he can do it on his own, have him read the over 1000 post on this sight and he won’t find a one that the person was able to do it. And the longer he waits the longer it will take. The only people that can help is trained professionals OR other survivors as they have true empathy and can share their stories of what happened as well as healing. All you can do is be there to listen and/or a shoulder to cry on, which is good and needed but you can’t help with the healing process. If he feels he can’t talk about it to a counselor, he could write things down that are triggers or bothering him, or nightmares he is having and take that to the counselor to get things started until he is able to open up. But when he does it’s gonna be flood gates after keeping it locked up for so long, which is why he needs professional help. Stay strong! Lynn

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  27. Hi. My boyfriend just found out he was raped by a classmate about a month ago. She put a pill in his drink and raped him in his sleep. She called to let him know she is pregnant and does not need anything from him. He doesn’t know anything about her except her first name. He doesn’t want to tell anyone, and I really want him to report this to the police. I want to help him find the courage to seek counseling. Please help me.

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    1. D. Unfortunately you can’t “make” him do anything. He has to want to report or get the counseling on his own. The only thing you can do is support him and give him the space he needs. When and if he is ready to talk then you can listen or suggest counseling, otherwise you might end up hurting your relationship if you harp on him. Just be there for him when he needs you and give him the space when he needs it. If he continues to be tormented by what happened then maybe he will realize that counseling will help. Stay strong! Lynn

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  28. My mom was raped in October of this past year, she and my father didn’t tell my siblings and I till January. As you can see its been a long time but it’s something that I still get angry and upset about. I know I’m suppose to be leaving a comment adding advice but right now I’m asking for some… What can I do to help myself not get so angry when rape is brought up? How can I move on from this? My mom is in the process of getting the man responsible arrested and soon there will be justice but I still just can’t control my feelings about this topic too well and it puts me in a really dark place. Please help.

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    1. M. The most important thing to do is to try not to let your mother see your feelings. The more she sees you hurt the more she will hurt. Most rape victims worry more about how others are acting or feeling than themselves and that is not going to help. They have to put themselves first and once they are better then they can deal with others but that is extremely hard for them to do but is necessary in the healing process. So be there for your mom when “she” needs you and listen IF she wants to talk but other than supporting her try not to let her see how it is tearing you up. That being said you absolutely should talk about your feelings just not with her (unless she asks and even then be vague – like yes it upsets me but I don’t want you to worry about me). So if you have another family member or close friend that you trust that won’t tell her then open up to them. Another idea is counseling and maybe if your mother sees you going maybe she will go as well – separately of course. Stay strong! Lynn

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  29. I was gang raped about a month ago and all i wanna do is be where i am now. i don’t want o go home to my boyfriend and his family and everytime i talk to him he pushes me to prove myself to him that this has really happened to me and he thorws it in my face that i wanted this to happen to me. What do I do please help me.

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    1. G. Well I’m not sure where you are now but I hope it’s a safe place. I would definitely NOT deal with your boyfriends bad behavior. I first would get counseling, which not only will help you be strong with him but give you the support you need that he is not. It might also show him that this did in fact happen to you and between that and him it’s driving you to counseling. I could only hope he would be more empathetic. If not get away from him. If you don’t want to break up (which if this is how he supports you should show you how he will be in the future) at least tell him you need space and have to deal with this and he isn’t helping. All in all he sounds like someone that is hurting you more and that is the last thing you need right now. I would get away and deal with what happened to you and once you get your head straight you can determine how you want to deal with him. But you must get into counseling and get the help and support you need. Stay strong! Lynn

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  30. My wife of 26 years has hinted to a sexual assault in the past. She has always felt guilty. She did go through a partying phase in college and is ashamed of the person she was. It appears that she was raped on at least two occasions nearly thirty years ago. I want to help her deal with this. She does not want to talk about what happened to her. She never wanted to even tell me. Can counseling help after such a long period of time?

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    1. Rich, Absolutely it can help. Until any rape victim gets the proper counseling it haunts them and it’s hard to let it go. We never forget but with professional counseling there comes a time that we can let go of our past and concentrate on the future we do have and live it the way we want. With counseling she will learn to forgive, not who did it but herself and then the guilt will be released. Not many do want to talk about it but what I tell them is that it is not easy but it isn’t as difficult as what they went through. The other thing is that the more they let out the more room they have to heal. But the most important thing and step one is for her to truly believe it wasn’t her fault. It doesn’t matter about partying because there is no action that says it’s ok to rape someone. Once she lets go of the guilt she will be able to open up and put the blame on the person that did it, not her. Also she needs to know that the rape doesn’t define her, only the person that did this to her as a rapist. Rape is about control, not her or nothing she did leading up to it. And the proof that she needs counseling is the fact that it is 30 years later and it is still affecting her, basically still controlling her life in a way (and I’m sure she has tried many ways of coping on her own but has it helped?). So the quicker she takes back control through counseling the better her future will be. Stay strong! Lynn

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  31. My sister has been gang raped just days ago and I found out just now. I’m utterly devastated. Having gone through almost the same experience (I was sexually abuse for a few years when I was a kid), I vowed that my sisters won’t ever have to deal with the pain I’m still dealing with. I can’t even personally be with her right now. She lives in a dorm and fears that the people around her might find out.

    She’ll be graduating this coming March. With that in mind, I’m trying to make her see that she has to tell the authorities and deal with it face to face or she’ll never get past her ghosts. But she doesn’t want to, understandably. But I don’t want her to end up like me. I still am bothered by my abuse after more than a decade.

    I don’t know how to deal with this. It opens up old wounds.

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    1. N. It is up to her to go to authorities because if she doesn’t want to she won’t follow through. But whether or not she does she need to get counseling, that is the most important part. That being said she needs to think about this, if she knows the people that did this to her and if she may come in contact with her again (like school mates) and she doesn’t tell authorities and doesn’t leave the school it is very likely they will either torment her or try it again. Rape is about control and when it is an acquaintance/or someone you know that knows your routine or around you and you don’t tell it is like leaving them in control of the situation and more times than not it happens again because they know they can. It is a proven statistic. So if this is the case and she knows them and totally is against turning them in )because of threats/or scared), I would transfer schools or at the very least she needs to take a self defense class, carry around mace and keep someone with her at all times. But it is a horrible feeling to always be looking over your shoulder and not going to help her healing process at all. But counseling is imperative but again she has to be willing. But I can promise you the longer she waits the longer it takes to heal and I think you would agree with that. You can show her this site and go through the posts (over 1000) and she will not find a one that was able to get through it on their own whether it happened days, months or years ago, they are all still haunted. And you are right, rape is a shadow you can never run from, you have to turn and face it head on in order to go forward which is exactly what counseling will do. I hope this helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  32. My friend was raped a couple months ago. She doesn’t want to talk about it, she only wants to get over it on her own. She never talks about it and gets very angry when it is brought up and refuses help because she is wanting to just forget about the happening and love on. This, I’m sure cant be done….she is always depressed, down and out and acts very strange; spacing out, standing alone for hours, begging to get smashed, etc. I don’t know it it is the right thing to force her to go to counseling or what I should do? Please, for her safety – I need help as to how to help her

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    1. P. Unfortunately counseling won’t help until she is ready, it can not be forced onto her. But you are right, it doesn’t go away and it is not forgotten. The only way is to learn how to appropriately how to deal with it and that is only learned through professional counseling. That means you also can’t force her to talk about it with you. My suggestion is #1) just be there for her and let her know you aren’t going to ask her anymore but that you will be there when she is ready. In the meantime you will be there as a shoulder to cry on and to support her as she needs. #2) Let her know you don’t think turning to alcohol/and or drugs is helping so you won’t be a part of that with her. That only masks the pain which will be still be there. #3) Tell her about this site and let her know there are over 1,000 posts and she won’t find one that was able to deal with it on there own, whether it’s been a month or years. She can read through the posts to see for herself and then when she is ready she will get the counseling. But let her know the longer it takes her the longer to get counseling the longer it takes for the healing process. Hope that helps! Lynn

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  33. im only 17 and my boyfriend is in his twenties. when he was 12 years old, he was molested by an older man. he was forced into anal sex and oral. he did not tell anybody about what had happened until he was 19. the only person he told was his sister. recently, his sister told me about what had happened and it devastated me. i decided not to talk to my boyfriend about it cause i figured he would talk to me about it when he wanted to. a few weeks ago, while he was drunk, he told me everything that happened. and now he is turning to alcohol to deal with the issue, which is very bad because he takes regular drug tests for probation. i tried to encourage him to go to therapy but he refuses to go to therapy because he doesnt think they want to help him. i dont know what to do please help

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    1. LL. The one thing for sure is that they have to be ready to talk about it or therapy won’t help. They don’t want to relive it again but what survivors don’t understand is that yeah it’s hard but not as hard as what they went through and how they have lived with it for however long. he needs to understand it never goes away. Rape is like a shadow you can never run from and can cause very confusing feelings. So the only way to get better is to face it head on, through therapy. Drugs and alcohol only masks the problem which is always still there and typically worse when the person comes down they feel more depressed. the only people that can help a survivor is a professional therapist and survivors that have been through it, because only they can truly understand. You need to tell him that you will be there as his rock but that you don’t know how to help him other than an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on, but that isn’t going to help him get over it. But he has to go only when he is ready or it won’t work. You might want o show him this sight, if you feel he won’t get defensive, so he can see that no one gets over it on their own and no one forgets, therefore we just have to learn to cope the right way and only counseling can help us understand the right way to do that. He has to want to help himself and the longer he waits the longer it takes. You should also let him know that rape is about control and until he gets the proper counseling the rapist is still in control of his life, and that person doesn’t deserve another day. Ask him doesn’t he wants control back because counseling will get him there. Stay strong! Lynn

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  34. Recently my girlfriend was raped. I dont know how to deal with it. I have so many emotions flowing through me. I want to find this guy and put an end to him. I want to rip my hair out. And I want to cry. I don’t want to show these emotion to her though because they may freak her out more. I just.. I dont know how to handle it.

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    1. W. You are having normal reactions but just don’t act on them. The worst thing that could happen to your girlfriend after being raped is you getting in trouble. She needs to get counseling and maybe you could too. Either way she needs to but you can’t force her to go, she has to be ready. The best thing you can do is be her rock, make her feel safe and loved. Don’t bring it up around her unless she does and wants to talk. In the meantime, maybe you could meditate to calm yourself down. Even if it is only for 5 or 10 minutes just meditate taking deep breaths when you are feeling anxious. Try and get a good nights sleep too as this also brings down your anxiety. Just love her, don’t question her and take care of both of you and help her. If she starts coming to you to talk a lot, I would let her know that you can’t help heal her only be strong for her and suggest counseling. The only people that can truly know and understand what she has been through are other survivors and professional counselors/therapists which is where she needs to go for help. The longer it takes for her to get counseling the longer the healing process is, so the sooner the better, but she has to be willing. It will help both of you put it behind you. Stay strong, Lynn

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  35. Hi,
    Recently my bf of over one year and best friend for the last 4 years recently found out he was molested as a child by a close family friend. He had opened up to me about his younger sibling and a friend having being molested by a family friend and the guy going to jail when we first met. My bf always wondered if anything had happened to him, but he could never recall anything. Now, he just found out from his sister that the childhood friend is having flashbacks and remembering everything that had happened to him but is also remembering that my bf was there everytime. He now thinks that his thoughts about being molested were always true. We broke up about a week ago and has been the hardest time for me to deal with all of this. Due to all of the information he found out he told me that he could no longer be my bf and that he could not be here for me emotionally /physically because he felt disgusting and dirty. I don’t know what to do when he’s asking me for space and time. i’m really worried that this will end everything we had and prevent us from moving forward…I feel completely lost 😥

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    1. HS, If he needs space then you need to honor that. What I would do though is write him a letter letting him know how much you care about him and that his past doesn’t matter to you. Let him know you are there for him anytime he needs you whether it is tomorrow or in the future. Let him know that he has grown up and things that happened as a child should stay in the past. When we are children we are very vulnerable and tend to trust the adults around us, meaning it is not our fault because we trusted them, not knowing exactly right from wrong, just trusting as we are taught. All you can do is respect his wishes as he will be going through a lot of different emotions. Lynn

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  36. When I was 17 years old I met a 23 year old man that I thought was very nice, and we started spending time together. After a couple of weeks we were dating – this was my first boyfriend. To this point I had been a very religious girl, and had always planned abstinence until marriage, a fact that I had thoroughly explained. Two weeks into the relationship we were watching a movie together. He had been drinking, and things escalated at a scary rate. I cried a lot, and tried to get away but he was much stronger than me, and that night I had my first kiss and I lost my virginity. After this I was so ashamed and scared, that we stayed in a relationship, and it turned into a physically abusive and scarring nightmare. Eventually I gained the strength to end contact, but I have never told anyone about any of this. Finally, now in my mid twenties I am in an amazing relationship with a humble, considerate man. He is great, however keeping such traumatic information from him is starting to put a strain on us. He doesn’t understand why, but often I freak out and project a lot my insecurities onto him, and sometimes I even have to go on periodic breaks of intimacy where I don’t even want to sleep in the same bed as him, because anything he does reminds me of my past abuser. He takes it personally, but I’m not ready to tell him that it has nothing to do with him. Should I try and procure secret counseling or should I suck it up and confess everything to him?

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    1. L. Actually you should have told him prior to any sex. Anytime, you want to be in a relationship with someone you must tell them BEFORE you have sex with them. You DO NOT need to give details nor should you (that is only for counseling) but you need to tell them you are a rape survivor. You should know up front if the are going to have empathy and are in it for the right reasons. If they don’t have empathy or feel like they aren’t ready for the situation then it’s better you know before you have sex than after, because then you are more emotionally involved. But now that you are emotionally involved, your first step is to get into counseling. If you can also tell them you are in counseling, this takes the pressure off of them (to do the right thing). You can tell them you are getting the help you need from a professional and all you ask from them is to be there to hug you and make you feel safe, that’s it. Once you tell them that, they feel like you are being strong and doing the right thing for yourself and they look up to you and want to be there for you (IF it’s the right person). So honesty is the best policy, but limit it to you are a rape survivor, no details. But again I would tell him after you have set up your counseling appt so he will know that you are trying your best to help yourself all you need him to be is your rock. Stay strong! Lynn

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  37. i have a friend that was raped and molested twice. she tells me she feels worthless and that she is pointless. she was telling me how she feels like all guys want is to have sex and they just want to see her naked. i tried telling her its not her fault and she started telling me how she feels like it is. i kept on telling her over and over its not her fault and there was nothing she couldve done. i eventually forced her to say its not her fault. But i can tell she doesnt mean it. Is there any way or anything i can do to convince her that it isnt her fault. she also said that she feels like she doesnt own her body. please tell me what i can do for her to convince her. if there is anything i can say or some kind of psychology that i can use on her to help her. i know she needs a psychologist but i dont think she will go even if i tell her she needs one. please help me and tell me what to say or what i can do.

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    1. A. Thanks for trying to help and support your friend however she will only get counseling when she is ready, she can not be forced. I can tell you 2 things that might help. First I don’t know her scenario BUT sometimes when they aren’t truly believing that is isn’t their fault this is what I ask. If you had a daughter and this happened to her (not you as the mother), the exact same thing, would you think it was her fault? A. you and I know she wouldn’t blame her daughter, so why is she blaming herself. Second question, if this did in fact happen to your daughter wouldn’t you want her to get professional help so it didn’t dictate the rest of her life and she could work on being happy and confident again? Again I’m pretty sure your friend will say yes, so what is the difference? There is none. One other thing I can tell you is maybe have her review my website to not only help her realize she isn’t alone and it’s not her fault, but there are over 1,000 posts and she won’t find a one that was able to deal without counseling. And the longer it takes her the longer it takes to heal and the LONGER HER RAPIST IS STILL IN CONTROL OF HER!. Rape is about control (NOT HER) and everyday that the rape dictates her lack of self worth and unhappiness then he is still in control. that being said, she has to go on her own and be ready to accept help. Each person is different getting there. Stay strong! Lynn

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  38. I need help 😦 My girlfriend got raped yesterday by two guys, she was with a friend at their house but her friend left and she started drinking with them but as she told me one guy then has violently put handcuffs on her hands and they poured a whole bottle of some strong alcohol into her, put her on the bed and they were continually raping her for 2 hours and then let her go.. I picked her up as she was totally drunk, she barely could even talk, she was crying all the time and then told me what happened,i called a taxi and we went to my house and i let her sleep in my bed but i was just sitting by her because i couldnt sleep..we both feel better today and she barely remembers anything from yesterday, her vagina, butt and breasts are aching, but she knows what happened and she is sure that those filthy douchebags atleast used a f**kin condom, i think im even more psychically devastated than her because of what happened and i dont think i will recover from this mental state for some time, is it somehow possible to forget about this? She takes it psychically better than me because she experienced a lot of bad things in her life.. And the worst thing is that we cant report this to cops because those guys were apparently drug dealers and they know some people in procurature so they wouldnt even give a f**k.. Can anybody help us? Or just say something to make us feel better thanks for any replies

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    1. P. Unfortunately rape is not something that you just forget. It is something that you need to learn to cope and in the right ways. Definitely not through drugs or alcohol. Not saying you would but I would keep an eye on your girlfriend to make sure she doesn’t turn to that to mask the pain. What she needs to do is get into counseling and the sooner you do it the quicker her (and your) road to recovery will be. But you can’t force her, she has to be ready. That being said the longer she waits the longer it will take. You might even want to go with her to help yourself learn ways of coping for you to. Check out my website to get some ideas that she can do at home until she gets into counseling. Just stay as far away from them as possible and I would also warn her friend that was initially with her because you don’t want her to get hurt to. Stay strong! Lynn

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  39. My partner got rapped last week, I knew something wasn’t right but she didn’t tell me about it for a few days. She said she didn’t want to upset me , she felt like she had cheated, which I know she didn’t she was taken advantage of and abused. I’ve been trying to be there for her since then, she’s so up and down and I completely understand why, I just feel so helpless.I don’t know what to do, she doesn’t want to go to counseling, but I know she needs help, she keeps trying to push me away, but I want to be there for her, I hate the thought of her being alone and upset, I want to help her thru this so everything can get back on track, but I don’t know how please help me help her

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    1. R. Maybe you can have her go through my website. There she will find immediate ways of coping but also discover that without counseling this will be her shadow that she can not run from. If you read through some of the posts, you won’t find one person that has been able to deal without counseling. The longer she waits the longer it takes BUT that being said she has to be ready on her own. It’s still very raw and she is going through emotions like one someone dies, there are many layers. All you can do is be there when she needs you. If she needs space give it to her again, many many emotions. You can’t truly help her on learning to cope because the only people that understand is other survivors and professionally trained counselors/therapists. But you can have empathy and her shoulder to cry on and to make her feel safe. Other than that she has to help herself and that may take time. Things are never going to be the same but with the proper help they can be good again. Whatever you do let her know this doesn’t define her and it wasn’t her fault. Stay strong! Lynn

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  40. My fiance was raped at her friends 21st b day party. She had been molested by her dad when she was younger and she had a hard time trusting men. We met, fell in love and as of a couple months ago she was her old self again. She trusted me and was comfortable being herself. Then last weekend we were at her friends b day party downtown at a bar. She was drinking a lot and I was trying to get her to stop but she said I was baby sitting her and to leave her alone and since we had a DD I decided not to worry so much and to let her have some fun. That turned out to be a horrible mistake. About half way threw the night some strangers came up and asked to sit next to us. They were nice and normal looking so we said ok. My fiancé had to go to the bathroom so I walked her there and back. Then she had to go again. This time she told Me to stay at the table and only she and her friend ( the b day girl) went. I didn’t notice but one of the strangers that joined us also got up. I guess he followed her to the bathroom and kissed her which she refused. They came back to the table and acted like nothing happened. So I had no idea that anything happened between them. Afterwards She said she didn’t want to ruin her friends birthday. Then about 20 minutes later she got up an went to the bathroom again with her b day friend. Then the guy ordered me a drink and left. I didn’t think much of it untill after the fact. he followed them both to to bathroom and grabbed my fiancé and pulled her into the men’s bathroom stall and forced her to have sex. He Denies have sex saying that it was only oral and that she started it. But we know that they actually had intercourse. Now she wants to break up. Her reason is because she now sees all men as pigs. She loves me but she doesn’t want to be in a relationship anymore. Another reason of hers is because she says that he was better endowed than me, so our sex will never be the same since I’m smaller than him. That Hurt my pride kinda makes me hate myself. She also told me that in the beginning of the night they switched phone numbers and they were flirting back and forth and that’s what started it. Did ah want to fool around with him and it just went to far? Idk… Shes had a past with self harm an im paranoid shes going to do something rash. I don’t know what to think or do. Should I give uP on the love of my life and leave or stay and try to win her back when she’s already starting to resent me? Please I need advice.

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    1. A. This is a tough dilemma for you and for me. I would personally give her the space she is asking for because IF she was raped it probably brought up a lot of old emotions that she needs to deal with. What concerns me is that the ONLY part in all of your story that tells me it was possibly rape is that you said “she now sees all men as pigs”. Based on your words it seems a lot of it sounds like excuses. Now I am not saying she wasn’t raped but just forming an opinion based on your words. I have NEVER known a women in love, to say to the person she loves that after being raped because he was bigger than you your sex won’t be the same. A person that has been raped want the person they love and trust with them and to understand and to protect them. Now I have seen women push men away & need space but never in a hurtful nonchalant way like that. So my advice to you is give her the space she needs. But keep an eye on her emotional state whether it is through friends or with the occasional call to check up on her. If she is very upset and crying all the time or staying to herself and not letting anyone in and you are think she might be self harming then obviously she was raped and going through new and old emotions. And she would need to get counseling, but on her terms when she is ready. If you don’t see these signs then I think we both know she was looking for an excuse to break up with you. Neither situation is ideal so my heart goes out to you. Just know even if you stay with her the only people that can truly help her and understand are other rape survivors that know what she is going through (meaning she might want to consider group therapy) or professional counselors/therapists that are trained in this area. All you can ever be is her rock to make her feel safe and a shoulder to cry on. So that’s why it dumbfounds me that she wants to break up, because you have shown her nothing but empathy and understanding. This is a tough one so stay strong! Lynn

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  41. A little over a month ago one of my best friends went out of town with another friend of hers. They went out that night and got extremely drunk. My friend was black out for most of the night. When she came to, she was in the middle of a threesome with the other friend and some guy. The guy was slapping her, calling her horrible names, and even spitting into her mouth. She immediately forced him off of her and left. She was in a very mentally abusive relationship for 3 years before this so she blames herself for all of it. She is ignoring that she was too intoxicated to have agreed to the act and she keeps making up excuses for the other people involved. She has been drinking heavily since, hanging all over any guy that pays attention to her, and she refuses to talk to a therapist about it. How do I tell her that she is headed down a scary road and needs to get some help?

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    1. Brittney, well you can’t force her into counseling, she has to be ready herself and she is going down a road that many do. The reason she is hanging on any guy that pays attention is she is trying to forget it happened. What I mean by that is she is trying to prove she still has her sexuality and that what happened isn’t going to ruin it. And if she does then maybe she doesn’t have to recognize that she was raped. The first thing she has to do before she will want counseling is to admit to herself that this horrible thing happened to her and she was not at fault. Sometimes that takes a while to admit. But at the same time she needs to understand that this doesn’t define her, only the people that did this. Hopefully she isn’t remaining friends with the girl that was involved. Because if she is and acting like nothing happened she is basically saying it was ok to her friend. Rape is about control and if you are acting like everything is ok then the person it happened to is leaving the door wide open for it to possibly happen again, just so you know. Which is why when the rapist is a friends and/or family continue to rape the same person. Hopefully she isn’t talking to her friend anymore and if you do anything for her keep her away from her if you can. Other than that all you can really do is be a shoulder to cry on and help her feel safe when she needs it and an ear to listen. You can say to her that dealing with two rapes is a lot harder than dealing with one (based on her actions). But IF you do be prepared for her to not be happy with you. So it really boils down to not making her mad that she won’t come to you anymore. IF I said that I might say it when she was talking to me about it and vulnerable and will take it in. Not just blurting it out at a time that she would get defensive and angry. Remember you want her to listen to you NOT block you out. That is a slippery slope in her mental condition. Glad you are there and a good friend, I promise she will appreciate it and if not now she will later. Stay strong! Lynn

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    2. Brittney, well you can’t force her into counseling, she has to be ready herself and she is going down a road that many do. The reason she is hanging on any guy that pays attention is she is trying to forget it happened. What I mean by that is she is trying to prove she still has her sexuality and that what happened isn’t going to ruin it. And if she does then maybe she doesn’t have to recognize that she was raped. The first thing she has to do before she will want counseling is to admit to herself that this horrible thing happened to her and she was not at fault. Sometimes that takes a while to admit. But at the same time she needs to understand that this doesn’t define her, only the people that did this. Hopefully she isn’t remaining friends with the girl that was involved. Because if she is and acting like nothing happened she is basically saying it was ok to her friend. Rape is about control and if you are acting like everything is ok then the person it happened to is leaving the door wide open for it to possibly happen again, just so you know. Which is why when the rapist is a friends and/or family continue to rape the same person. Hopefully she isn’t talking to her friend anymore and if you do anything for her keep her away from her if you can. Other than that all you can really do is be a shoulder to cry on and help her feel safe when she needs it and an ear to listen. You can say to her that dealing with two rapes is a lot harder than dealing with one (based on her actions). But IF you do be prepared for her to not be happy with you. So it really boils down to not making her mad that she won’t come to you anymore. IF I said that I might say it when she was talking to me about it and vulnerable and will take it in. Not just blurting it out at a time that she would get defensive and angry. Remember you want her to listen to you NOT block you out. That is a slippery slope in her mental condition. Glad you are there and a good friend, I promise she will appreciate it and if not now she will later. Stay strong! Lynn

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  42. I met her in my math class this semester and we instantly hit off. I have never had feelings like this for any other girl and I’m certain I want to keep her in my future. We spent some time together and we both have strong feelings for each other. The other night she told me she was raped before we met and the only thing I could think of doing was making sure she did not think it was her fault. I didn’t ask questions or make her talk about it. She also said I am the only one she has told. I’m lost and dont know how to help. I want her to know that I love her no matter what and that I’ll always be here for her. I’m filled with rage but at the same time I dont want to do anything to lose her. She hasn’t told her parents either. Any advice would be gratefully appreciated.

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    1. D. I think it’s wonderful that you are supporting her and helping her believe that it wasn’t her fault. That is the first step. All you can really do is be her rock, there to listen, a shoulder for her to cry on and empathetic to her moods. She ultimately needs to go to counseling but it can not be forced on her she has to go when she is ready. It isn’t a good idea for you to know the details just the counselor, BUT if you are the only person she is talking to and she needs to get it out just listen, no questions because sometimes questions come across the wrong way and it is a very sensitive conversation. Just support her like you have been. Maybe you could show her this site so she can see without counseling it stays with you like a shadow. She can read through the posts and see that most haven’t gone and it can be years later and still affecting them. The sooner she goes the sooner the healing process begins. But on thing is for sure, you can not forget and you can not sweep it under the rug. It is something you must face head on and learn how to deal in order to move forward and get out of the past. Stay strong! Lynn

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  43. My ex-girlfriend was drugged and raped 2 years ago at the age of 17. She told me this around the end of November 2012 ( at that time we’ve been dating for 2 months already). And ever since then i’ve been trying to help her and myself heal. Everytime when I think of what happened to her, my stomach aches and i have the feeling of vomiting. I felt anger and pain in my heart and had this completely lose of hope in people.
    She barely told me anything about what happened and all I know was that he was dating this guy for a week and one night she had a bad day and so they were chatting and drinking in a hotel room. And all of a sudden she felt this numbness and dizzyness and all she could hear was the guy asking ” are you ok?”. When she woke up the guy was gone and she was naked. She blames herself saying ” what was i expecting? We were in a hotel and drinking”. And it just hurts me to hear that.
    She confronted the guy after a year and ask him what exactly happened that night and he apologized for what he has done…
    She has been to consuelling but she barely tells me anything. I am the only person that she told (other than a counselor) because she trusts me and I won’t ever betray her trust. But at the same time I am trying to heal and in order for me to heal I need to talk to someone so I talk to her whenever I feel like I can’t take it anymore. But two days ago I decided to break up with her becuase I don’t know if I can ever love her the way she deserves to be loved. And I hate myself for not being able to look pass this. I really don’t know what to do…I”m lost.

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    1. HB. I’m sorry you are in such a tough situation but in all honesty your gf is/was doing the right thing for her and that where it has to start. She has to get her head on right before she can help you and that takes a while. I always tell the victim that they should always tell their partner but don’t give any details, that is between the counselor and them only. Also that they are to only talk about how it is affecting them when they want to not when someone else wants them too (outside of counseling). Because it is another pressure that they don’t need and the more pressure the more they retreat. So as much as I feel for you in this situation, she has to come first and you have to be patient. You can always seek counseling as well, there is no shame in it, in fact it shows how much you care to not push her and get help yourself. But if you don’t think you can handle that, you are not alone becasue it is tough and it takes a while and it is and should be all on their terms. Stay strong! Lynn

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  44. I had a weird and complicated relationship with this guy. He was nice and kind and I never thought he could be a rapist. We had a falling out and never talked again until the last week of May. We said our goodbyes then but sometime later someone introducing herself as his girlfriend contacted me. At first our conversations were about us finding out he was playing us with inconsistent stories about his past. Later we she told me that the guy raped her. It was really painful to hear how the boy I once loved abused this sweet girl. She eventually liked the boy though. She is now pregnant. We have not been talking that much recently. I think she’s leaving him.

    I am not exactly sure how she’s dealing with the situation right now… But I am having a really bad time coping to this. I always think about this everyday and it’s really hard.

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    1. Sleepy girl. You don’t need to be taking this burden on. If I was you I would thank my blessings it didn’t happen to me and be extremely happy I was out of the situation. I realize it bothers you but this is not your situation to take care of. You need to stay as far away from both of them as possible. IF you want to do something to help her you can suggest counseling or refer her to this site and THAT’S IT. Don’t look back. Because I’m assuming if she is back with him then he has an emotional and physical control on her. And when that happens and they know they can get away with it, it just continues. She has to want to help herself and if she is back with him it doesn’t sound like she is ready yet. A baby is the last place she should be bringing into this relationship, so I hope she does leave him. She needs help but you can’t force her. I would stay long and far away from the entire situation. You need to look forward and be happy this wasn’t you. Stay strong! Lynn

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  45. Lynn,
    First of all, thank you so much for this site and for your support and comments. I have no doubt your advice has been invaluable to so many people.
    I was drugged and raped 5 years ago and never dealt with it. I pushed it out of my mind. I am now in a new relationship with a wonderful, wonderful man. Recently, I unexpectedly ran into my rapist for the first time since the night of the incident. I was extremely distraught and ended up telling my boyfriend about what happened. I am now in therapy and truly dealing with the multitude of issues and emotions. I know that my boyfriend is having a really hard time with all of it but he’s extremely supportive of me and my process. I’m at the point where I feel comfortable shifting some of the healing attention to him but I just don’t know how. I asked my therapist and she told me that was not my responsibility, end of story. I care about him greatly and want to be supportive of him and the emotions he’s dealing with. Do you have any advice for this side of things? How can I help him cope with this, besides encouraging him to seek his own therapy? Thank you so much!

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    1. SS. Thank you for your kind words it’s always nice to hear. I’m glad you are in therapy but I do agree with your therapist. Not necessarily not to offer support at all BUT until you get your head straight you really should put yourself first. When you start putting others feelings before you own, then you are putting yourself on the back burner. Once you are through with therapy then you will know the correct things and things not to do. I know this isn’t what you want to hear but when we are in the healing process you must always keep yourself first or you can miss something. In the meantime, just let him know you are a survivor and a work in progress and that you have to get your head on right before you know the proper way to deal with others. You have to become strong to be strong for someone else. Let him know how much you appreciate him and love him and the difference he is making in your life. Let him know he has made you be able to trust again and have a sexual desire. But remind him it is a process and that he is not there to heal you, you must do that yourself. That way it takes some of the burden off of him if he doesn’t know what to do. Tell him his only job is to be your rock and a should to cry on and to give hugs for you to feel safe. One other thing I would never discuss details because it seems to come between people sometime. You should always tell them you are a rape survivor but not the details. If you already have that’s fine but don’t discuss anymore. Hope that helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  46. I never felt able to confide in my family or friends during my marriage about the abuse or marital rape that was going on. After three years, I finally got the strength to leave. I still never told anyone. As far as they knew he just left me and my son. It has been almost 6 years now and for the first time I began to open up with encouragement from my therapist. Tell my family has been even harder than I imagined. I have not given them details, but I let them know I was in an abusive marriage. My mother and I have always been very close and she has taken this very hard. She just can’t understand why I didn’t leave…why I never told her…why I allowed it to happen. We have tried to talk several times over the last few months, but it always ends badly. It is all hard for me to talk about and she seems convinced that I chose it all somehow. I know my mother loves me dearly and I love her, but this topic has caused a lot hurt between us. Is it normal for loved ones to have such a difficult time coming to terms? It’s hard for me to deal with my own issues while tending to her’s as well. Is there a way to mend our relationship or is this somethings only time can heal?

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    1. SD. It is very common for family members to not understand, and even more common to not want to discuss because then they have to come to terms that it actually happened. Some get distant, some blame the victim, some act like it never happened and most of it is out of ignorance on their behalf. Sounds like to me you should take your mother to a therapy session with you. I think that is the best solution because it is hard for you to deal with her issues when you are going through this. You can leave it to time but I’m worried time could possibly make you grow further apart if not dealt with on a professional level. Hope this helps. Stay strong! Lynn

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  47. My girlfriend has not said she was raped but that someone forcefully did something 2 years ago, from her responses when things started to get physical betweeen us I assumed the worst as much as it hurt me. I have tried to talk to her many times but she holds back tears and says she doesn’t want to talk about it and that she is fine. I have seen her cry a few times and since then I can’t ask anymore because it hurts me to see her like that. She is the nicest person I know and I love her so I just want the best for her. I’ve suggested that she talk to someone but she got offended and said she’s fine. Most sexual experiences are bad for her as calm and slow and non controlling as I try to be. My mind is also in a bad place. The fact that I don’t know the slightest of details means a million thoughts run through my head. I just love her and want to support her but I have no help

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    1. Z. I’m glad you care so much for her and want to help but she is actually doing the right thing by not giving you any details. The fact that you know she is a was sexually hurt in some way is all you need to know. You think it would be better if you knew details but it really isn’t. The only person she needs to be opening up to with details is a professional counselor. And you are right that she needs counseling but you can’t force her (not that you are just saying). She has to go when she is ready. Maybe you could bring her to this site so she can get some ideas on dealing. But most importantly she can see the posts and that everyone that has been through something sexually forced upon them need counseling because it just doesn’t go away. Stay strong for both of you! Lynn

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  48. Hi my friend was raped a really long time ago hes struggling in all aspects of life but will not speak to anyone ive tried to get him to talk to me but hes says its his problem!! I want to help him any way i can but dont know how? Please help x

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    1. S. Unfortunately, all you can really do his be his rock. Be there when he needs you and support him. He has to want to get help and it has to be on his terms otherwise he will start resenting you. Maybe you could show him this site. Maybe then he will see that it just doesn’t “go away”. If he reads some of the posts he might determine that without the proper counseling it can affect your life forever. He also may be able to get some tips with dealing so that is my best suggestion. Also, don’t make him talk about it because the only real person he should go into details with is the counselor. Thanks for being there for him, it means more than he tells you. Stay strong, Lynn

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  49. Someone very dear to me was raped as a teen over 30 years ago; however she tells me that something happened to her that she has never told anyone, including her ex-husband, counsellors, etc. (I only know because the childhood friend who witnessed the event was mentioned it to me). Time and time again she pushes me away, only to come back. We live in different states, and talk and text weekly. Yet every time I come town she “is busy”. Later she apologizes; however I am not sure how to break these cycles. She has confided in me her desire to change; however follows it up with “I can’t”. What can I do to help her?

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    1. Davd, The worst part about trying to help people is that if they don’t want the help, it doesn’t matter. She is obviously going through some very tough times and probably feels pretty distant from you since you are long distance. At the same time she might not be able to be intimate with feelings or physically which is why she is pushing you away right now. My best advice is give her the space she needs and tell her that. Maybe with the space she will reach out to you more, we can only hope. But as far as telling the unspoken truth, that is more between her and a counselor and not really anyone else. It sounds like she is or has seen counselors so that is good but the demon inside is gonna stay there until she lets it out. Its scary and hard I just wished they realized how much of there life is being wasted by not opening up and trying to deal. But they have to do it when they are ready, not because other want them to. Stay strong! Lynn

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  50. Lynn,
    My wife of 23 years, partner for 25 years, was gang raped 30 years ago, raped a second time 28 years ago, and again raped 26 years ago. We have had a loving, caring marriage for many years now. Over the past two years she has began to withdraw inside herself as she has been thinking a lot about the rapes, which were never reported. Our marriage is falling apart as a result of three emotional affairs. I worry that these are a result of her reliving the rapes and finding herself unworthy of a loving marriage. Our children are all grown and out of the house. I am 100% committed to her and my love for her. I need help in convincing her that counseling would help her come to terms with the past and allow her to once again enjoy life and our marriage. Over the years she has had difficulty dealing with various issues as they arose and vehemently stated that she would not seek counseling. What can I do to help her appreciate the value of seeing a counselor? Is our marriage doomed after all these years? Please help, I Love her more than anything or anyone in this world. I just don’t know if I can take anymore lying about the extramarital emotional affairs.

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    1. J. I think you are a wonderful caring husband to stand by her side. Unfortunately a person will get absolutely nothing out of counseling if they don’t want it and if they aren’t going to put in the work necessary. In order to start the healing process they have to learn how to deal with the past so they can put it behind them, which allows them to focus and work towards the things they want in life going forward. So my advice is to maybe bring her to this site so she can read what others are going through. She can also find ideas of ways of coping and hopefully recognize the importance of counseling. You just have to be careful on how much you try and convince her about counseling because you don’t want her to start resenting you for it. Stay strong! Lynn

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