TEN IDEAS TO REMEMBER WHILE DATING A RAPE SURVIVOR
1. We overthink Not only did we survive the physical damage that occurred during the event, but our mind occasionally gets trapped inside the replay screening. It could not work out between us for the simplest of reasons, but our mind will convince us that you stopped talking to us because we are “damaged”. We will ask our friends if we are broken, we will ask you to not be used, we will ask ourselves to find even more strength. Don’t take this personally, we are still trying to convince ourselves that our rape wasn’t our fault
2. Our anxiety is loud I can’t even begin to describe the prison anxiety guards me in. Anxiety continues to be promoted as he speaks louder than reality. Rape Trauma Syndrome is real, please be patient with us. At first, it is hard to believe someone could see the light in our personalities without being forced to be naked. We appreciate your love of conversing, it reminds us we are worth much more than sex.
3. Being naked has two meanings From personal experience, we will act as tough as we can. We will keep our shoulders back, we will raise our nose’s to the sky, we will smile until we convince ourselves we are happy. We are happy, but even we don’t know how to overcome our dark days. We won’t tell you we need your help because we will feel it is too much to ask for. When we do let you in, we will feel completely naked. There aren’t any words you can say to make the memories disappear. When we do talk about it, the feeling is absolutely terrifying and absolutely exhilarating. Being naked means being able to show you our scars without fear. 4. We need extra hugs The best feeling of comfort comes from a hug. When we let you in, please just give us a hug to remind us we are not alone. 5. We hate your sad eyes Rape survivors don’t share the experience for you to feel sad for us. We share our experience to tell the world this isn’t okay. We share our story to remind ourselves of our strength. We share our story to inspire another survivor to speak up. We don’t want your sad eyes, we want you to see our power in finding the beauty in life again.
6. Comfortable sex is a celebration Remember how nervous you were when you lost your virginity? Am I doing this right, your mind would ask over and over. Imagine that feeling times ten. The first few times we get intimate we may break down, we may push you away, we may keep our distance. We feel embarrassed that we can’t be intimate with someone we trust, please remind us sex isn’t everything. We will get to a time where sex doesn’t scare the living shit out of us, and when we do we are going to want to celebrate this little victory.
7. Please let us talk If you're a survivor who spoke up, case updates may bring you back to square one. Any survivor knows there are days of intense emotional setbacks. Our minds won’t be able to think about anything else, the rape sometimes may consume us. We really just want to be able to talk to someone without second guessing ourselves.
8. The three magic words If we tell you our story, the most important phrase you can say to us is, “I believe you”. Please do not ask us what we were wearing, if we said no, or why we didn’t do this or that. If a survivor tells you about their rape, you should already understand that those three questions are immediately invalid. Rape means no consent, asking those three questions leads to victim blaming.
9. The flashbacks are real Even as the new sunrises bring us a little more strength, a motion or phrase can rush intense flashbacks. We need those extra hugs right now. We need to be reminded we are safe with you.
10. Dating you reminds us of our strength Dating is complicated in general. We understand this. Even with our anxiety barking in our heads, flashbacks tearing us from our present day, or sad eyes, we feel extremely accomplished while dating. Breakups or relationships keep us feeling sane. Dating is a reminder we have so much more left in us. We have love to give, even if someone tried to take away everything from us. We have the ability to open up once again, which seemed impossible at the start. We won’t ever blame you for not understanding or us not working out. We are thankful that the world see us as the true survivors that we are, instead of a fragile victim.
If you or a loved one has been raped or sexually assaulted, please reach out to the authorities. The following sites can be used for more information about healing and overcoming. Please know that The Millennial Pursuits stands with all survivors.