What Nobody Told You About Your Rape

What Nobody Told You About Your Rape

You are not alone - This is what I wish someone had told me.
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If you have experienced sexual assault and told someone, the person you told may have been full of advice and might have tried to help you (for better or worse). When someone spews advice at you, it can be extremely overwhelming. However, the person you told might not have known what to say which is completely understandable although this may have made you feel more alone and you may have regretted talking about what happened. Sexual violence is a tough thing to hear, talk about and it is a tough thing to help someone through. It is even more tough to let someone help you through it. I’ve been there.

Here is what I needed to hear more than anything, but nobody told me:

You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to...

Working through what happened has to be done on your terms. There is nothing wrong with not being ready to talk about it. Talking about things when you are not ready to or when you don’t feel safe may only make you more upset.

You do not have to open up to family, friends, a romantic partner, or a stranger if you do not want to. You do not have to become some sort of an advocate or come out as a victim (or survivor) publicly. You do not have to do anything or put yourself in any situation that makes you feel uncomfortable or vulnerable.

… But you don’t have to stay quiet either.

In today’s rape culture and society of victim blaming, coming out and saying that you are a victim (or a survivor) can be almost as scary as what happened to you. The important thing to know is that you can tell someone what happened to you in the outlet that helps you feel safe whether that’s your best friend, your mom, or a psychologist.

There are people in this world who can help you through what happened. Don’t be afraid to tell these people exactly what you need from them. Tell your mom or your dad that you just want a hug and a shoulder to cry on. Tell your best friend that you want some support when you are struggling. Tell your psychologist when you are ready to start working through what happened.


If you find writing to be helpful, write about it. You don’t have to publish it to reap the benefits of writing down how you feel and what you think.

Talk about it. Write about it. Scream it from the rooftops. There is no “right way” to heal. There is no “wrong way” to process what you went through.

But if talking through your experience helps you, do it. Don’t be afraid of making people feel uncomfortable.


Another thing I wish I had known about talking with a psychologist about my experience is that I had complete ownership and control of what we talked about and how we talked about it. After what I went through, thinking about “the event” (as we called it in sessions) sent me into vivid flashbacks. When I started going to my psychologist, instead of going right into talking about the event, we talked about skills that could help me cope with what I was dealing with. The best part of going to therapy was that she patiently waited for me to be ready to talk about the event (in as little or as much detail as I wanted to). The ball was in my court to decide when I felt fully equipped with coping mechanisms and felt like I could trust her and that I was ready to start working through the actual events.


Resources:

For a survivor, there are two hotlines that are extremely helpful and can get you connected with resources specific to your community and situation.

National Sexual Violence Resource Center Hotline - 1-877-739-3895

Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) National Sexual Assault Hotline - 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)


Know someone who is a survivor? Click the link for a great resource from OneStudent.org (a great organization) on How to Support Survivors.

Cover Image Credit: Keesler Airforce Base

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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'The Farewell' Brings An Asian-American Narrative To Hollywood

I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

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The trailer for Lulu Wang's "The Farewell" was recently released. The film, based on Wang's own experience, stars Awkwafina as Billi, a Chinese-American woman who travels to China after learning her grandmother has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. "The Farewell" initially debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival in January, and currently holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

"The Farewell" is an exciting film for members of the Asian-American community, as it encompasses many of our own experiences in having family overseas. Having this Asian-American narrative portrayed in Hollywood is especially groundbreaking and important to the community. "Crazy Rich Asians" has received much well-deserved acclaim for its leap in Asian representation, but the film did not necessarily depict a completely relatable experience and was only one story out of many in the Asian-American community. There were aspects of the characters' cultures that allowed the Asian-American audience to connect with much of the film, but the upper-class narrative wasn't quite as accessible to everyone.

While "Crazy Rich Asians" portrays Asians in a way that is very much uncommon in Hollywood and American media in general and had a hand in helping to break stereotypes, "The Farewell" introduces a nearly universal first-generation American or immigrant narrative to Hollywood. In doing so, the film allows many members of the Asian-American community to truly see their own experiences and their own stories on the screen.

For me, the trailer alone was enough to make me tear up, and I've seen many other Asian Americans share a similar experience in seeing the trailer. The film reminds us of our own families, whether it's our grandparents or any other family living overseas. I've never imagined that a story like this would make its way to Hollywood, and it's definitely a welcome change.

"The Farewell," which is scheduled for release on July 12, 2019, depicts a family dynamic in the Asian-American experience that hits home for many, including myself. The initial critical response, especially towards Awkwafina's performance, is certainly promising and will hopefully motivate more Asian-American and other minority filmmakers to bring their own stories to Hollywood.

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