PDA

View Full Version : Effects of Rape



gwendy85
09-12-2006, 10:44 AM
I think I may have either been watching too much of Oprah or CSI, but I want to know.

What's the usual after-effects of rape on women (esp younger women)? I can totally understand that they won't want to have contact with men ever again. I read that some turn homosexual. Then again, I heard that some turn promiscuous (like Forrest Gump's leading lady *forgot the name* and that girl in one episode of CSI--never can forget what horrors happened to her as a child and what she said: You can't kill me. I'm already dead.)

Are all these psychologically sound? Because I'm thinking of my character turning promiscuous. Her mind-set is something like, since she's lost her virginity, why shouldn't she enjoy it? Or -- why get depressed over something that can't be changed? Or just make the best of the situation?

JennaGlatzer
09-12-2006, 11:31 AM
Hi Gwendy,

I can speak as someone who was raped (I was 10), and belonged to a support group in college for women who'd been raped (mostly date rape stories from when they were in high school or college).

I never became promiscuous (the opposite, really), but it is definitely one of the known "possible effects." Some young women do wind up sort of devaluing their bodies and feeling like they're "used goods" and whatnot.

Only one woman I knew really had trouble having contact with men again on a long-term basis, and even then, it was specific sexual acts that she didn't want to do because it triggered memories for her. Another young woman who had a boyfriend at the time she was attacked lost all desire for sexual contact with him for about six months to a year, but as far as I know, she did okay after that.

I'm trying to imagine the mindset you're talking about, but I don't think that quite fits. At least among the women I knew, after being raped, they didn't really "enjoy" sex, or feel like "hey, I'll have more sex so I can make the best of being raped." The ones who became promiscuous said they felt like they were worthless. Maybe they were hoping to enjoy sex again so they could feel "normal," but none of them actually did say that they enjoyed it... just that it was sort of a sickness, part of working through it all. (If that makes sense. It wasn't my mindset, so I hope I'm expressing it right.)

As far as "turning homosexual," I've never heard of that. I honestly think that one's a myth. Being raped can turn you off to the idea of sex, but I don't think it can actually change who you're attracted to.

J. Weiland
09-12-2006, 11:33 AM
Take a look at the link I've posted. There are some books mentioned that might help you portray the effect of it better. No one makes the best out of such a situation; if she becomes promiscious, it is because she is messed up mentally from the rape, not because she enjoys sex. In my opinion, that is. Tough subject to handle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape

gwendy85
09-12-2006, 11:53 AM
Hi Gwendy,

I can speak as someone who was raped (I was 10), and belonged to a support group in college for women who'd been raped (mostly date rape stories from when they were in high school or college).

I never became promiscuous (the opposite, really), but it is definitely one of the known "possible effects." Some young women do wind up sort of devaluing their bodies and feeling like they're "used goods" and whatnot.

Only one woman I knew really had trouble having contact with men again on a long-term basis, and even then, it was specific sexual acts that she didn't want to do because it triggered memories for her. Another young woman who had a boyfriend at the time she was attacked lost all desire for sexual contact with him for about six months to a year, but as far as I know, she did okay after that.

I'm trying to imagine the mindset you're talking about, but I don't think that quite fits. At least among the women I knew, after being raped, they didn't really "enjoy" sex, or feel like "hey, I'll have more sex so I can make the best of being raped." The ones who became promiscuous said they felt like they were worthless. Maybe they were hoping to enjoy sex again so they could feel "normal," but none of them actually did say that they enjoyed it... just that it was sort of a sickness, part of working through it all. (If that makes sense. It wasn't my mindset, so I hope I'm expressing it right.)

As far as "turning homosexual," I've never heard of that. I honestly think that one's a myth. Being raped can turn you off to the idea of sex, but I don't think it can actually change who you're attracted to.

Thank you so much for sharing your inputs, Jenna. And your explanation about the "hoping to enjoy" sex again and just be normal seems to be very logical.

I'll go work on my character. Thank you so much for your input.

ggglimpopo
09-12-2006, 12:05 PM
I think it is very hard to generalise about rape and the afte reffects of this - every rape is different and the reaction afterwards depends so much on the personality of the "victim" (wrong word, but nothing else fits), what happened to them, the support - or lack of it - afterwards and there are some women who just get on with their lives, with no visible cicatrice and no trace of what has happened to them.

Alice Sebald's book, "Lucky" is less revealing than "Lovely Bones" in how she dealt with what happened to her.

I know one woman who "coped" by becoming anorexic and controlling her body to the nth degree.

I know of another woman who has used what happened to her to define the rest of her life - once a victim, always a victim - and sees the injustice of rape as a blueprint for the quotidian.

I know of other women, myself included, who have got up and walked away from the events and have no desire to be defined by their history.

The rape of a child is quite a different matter. Pre pubescent rape will have huge ramifications on how the child views sexuality in later life. Child rapists should be castrated and incarcerated for the rest of their miserable lives.

I would be quite capable of doing the unforgivable to anyone who touched any of my children.

jchines
09-12-2006, 05:13 PM
There's no one way a person reacts to being raped. (I'm speaking based on 5 years working as a rape counselor and educator.)

With that said, one of the biggest issues tends to center on control. For some, that leads to promiscuity, which gives the victim the opportunity to control her (or his) sexual experiences. They might not enjoy it, but by initiating it, they're reclaiming that control.

Eating disorders are another means to reclaim control. Not a healthy way, obviously, but it lets you control your body again.

Nightmares and flashbacks are also common. I've known several survivors who would flinch quite strongly if you touched them on the neck, because it triggered those memories.

The homosexuality bit is one I've never encountered or heard of.

It can take a very, very long time to learn to enjoy sex after rape. It's fairly common for people to simply go numb, to lay back and mentally disconnect from the experience, even with someone they love and trust.

At the core, I think the need to regain control is one of the strongest and most common factors. Rape strips away your power and control at the very core of who you are. How you get that control back varies depending on the person.

ggglimpopo
09-12-2006, 05:18 PM
I totally agree.

gwendy85
09-13-2006, 05:18 AM
There's no one way a person reacts to being raped. (I'm speaking based on 5 years working as a rape counselor and educator.)

With that said, one of the biggest issues tends to center on control. For some, that leads to promiscuity, which gives the victim the opportunity to control her (or his) sexual experiences. They might not enjoy it, but by initiating it, they're reclaiming that control.

Eating disorders are another means to reclaim control. Not a healthy way, obviously, but it lets you control your body again.

Nightmares and flashbacks are also common. I've known several survivors who would flinch quite strongly if you touched them on the neck, because it triggered those memories.

The homosexuality bit is one I've never encountered or heard of.

It can take a very, very long time to learn to enjoy sex after rape. It's fairly common for people to simply go numb, to lay back and mentally disconnect from the experience, even with someone they love and trust.

At the core, I think the need to regain control is one of the strongest and most common factors. Rape strips away your power and control at the very core of who you are. How you get that control back varies depending on the person.

Thanks a bunch for this. It gives me a whole different insight and it somehow suits well with my character.

Here's a bit of her background:

This once bubbly, at times tactless, happy-go-lucky 13-year-old girl is raped by two enemy soldiers (initially, she enjoyed being with boys, had a lot of romantic notions and had indications *personality-wise* of giving up her innocence at an earlier age). She is taken and forced into service for more enemy soldiers. This happens for a period of 5-6 days.
Then, one enemy soldier (not one of those who raped her) unexpectedly risks his life to save her (He lives. Also, she has met this good-looking man briefly before). The girl then looks upon this man as her savior and quickly falls in love with him. She later tries every means to seduce him to bed. My mind-set for her is that she believes he could change everything for her. Being that he is an enemy soldier (a kind one), she believes or made herself believe he could undo what happened to her by making love to her in a way those other enemy soldiers didn't. She looks up to him as her salvation...the vessel that can make her live a normal life and enjoy the intimacy that should happen between a man and a woman.
Unfortunately, circumstances are not in her favor, and she fails to seduce him. He is whisked off somewhere while she is left pining for him. In a period of 2-3 years, she becomes very promiscuous.

These, I have concocted after all I've read here. My question is: Is the effect of rape on her believable/plausible?

L M Ashton
09-13-2006, 06:45 AM
I would add that, while she's trying to seduce that guy, she's not entirely, um, what's the word, emotionally stable. There might be desperation, or a desire for protection, a need for a father figure, a reason to not kill herself (I developed a crush on a guy as a teenaer as a means of preventing myself from committing suicide - I was messed up but also oddly self-preserving.) Whatever her reasons for trying to seduce him, it's not out of normal healthy teenage emotions. Her emotions/motivations would be twisted.

In what specific ways, as others have mentioned, is highly individual. On that basis, what you present is plausible in my opinion.

gwendy85
09-13-2006, 09:50 AM
I would add that, while she's trying to seduce that guy, she's not entirely, um, what's the word, emotionally stable. There might be desperation, or a desire for protection, a need for a father figure, a reason to not kill herself (I developed a crush on a guy as a teenager as a means of preventing myself from committing suicide - I was messed up but also oddly self-preserving.) Whatever her reasons for trying to seduce him, it's not out of normal healthy teenage emotions. Her emotions/motivations would be twisted.

In what specific ways, as others have mentioned, is highly individual. On that basis, what you present is plausible in my opinion.

Oh, I forgot to add that in. My character IS emotionally unstable (she was raped repeatedly after all at such a young age). Days after the guy saves her (she's fallen for him or thinks she has), he is...how do I say this...scheduled to move away. Therein comes the desperation, which is why she tries her damnest to seduce him. And it's not exactly a father figure. The guy's 6 years older than she is. And she has a rival for his affections, so go figure. She's desperate.

Thanks a bunch for the input. At least now, I've cleared my character up a bit. :D

Monet
09-13-2006, 02:22 PM
After being raped, I didn't want sex for a period of time. It was years, as a matter of fact.

When I did resume having sex, I was and am, very sexual as in trying new things and initiating the act and enjoying it.

What has hurt me, is that in no way can I be 'held' down. I have to know when my (as an example) hands and arms are held, say above my head, that I can get away. The holding must be light with no resistant if I tug my hands. Otherwise, I can feel a panic surging up and I break out in a cold sweat which gets into a full blown panic if I don't get out of the hold.

As long as I'm not forcefully held down, the thought of the rape never enters into my consciousness. It is like a knee jerk reaction that stays in my subconscious like a flight or fight response, only coming to the surface as fear if I am held by force.

Also, since that time, I am extremely claustrophobic, though when I am faced with the feeling of claustrophobia, the thought of the rape never enters into it.

The rape happened over 14 years ago when I was 36 years old.

KimJo
09-13-2006, 02:32 PM
I was molested as a child, raped as a teenager and then again as an adult. My response from the age of four was to view sex as something disgusting and ugly, not something I'd ever want to do. (Despite that, I have two children. I love them, but wasn't thrilled about what I had to do to get them.) So I went the "Don't like sex, don't touch me" route. As for triggers, I can't have anyone touch the top of my head because of something the rapist when I was a teenager did.

I had a friend in high school who was sexually abused by her stepfather for three years, from age 12 to 15. She became promiscuous, sometimes "dating" (i.e. sleeping with) six or seven guys during the same time span, though not at the same time. She ended up marrying a man 20 years her senior, in part because he reminded her of her stepfather.

As for the homosexuality, I knew a woman who was a lesbian who told me that she chose to live as a lesbian because of her father's sexual abuse of her. I think she may have been inclined toward same-sex relationships anyway, but her abuse began at such a young age that by the time she realized she was attracted to women, she determined that it was because she hated men due to what her father did.

L M Ashton
09-13-2006, 06:42 PM
Someone walks up behind me and touches me from behind without identifying themselves usually ends up being rather, oh, damaged, shall we say. (Happened at work once. The guy cried in the back room for a good half hour. He grabbed my butt, so I can't say that I was sorry.) Same thing for hands around my throat. I react without thinking and, well, I'm strong.

These types of knee-jerk reactions are fairly common from the conversations I've had with other women, but it's not always damage-inflicting. It can also be freezing up and panicking, going into shock.